News / Press releases

Better Arctic Observations Needed to Meet Climate Change Challenges, Opportunities
12 October 2015

WMO is participating in the Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik, Iceland, from 16-18 October to draw attention to the urgent need for better weather and climate observations and services in rapidly changing Polar regions.

The temperature in the Arctic Circle is rising faster than anywhere else on Earth and the sea ice is shrinking at record levels. Scientists are forecasting that the first ice-free summer in the Arctic Ocean could be within the next 25 to 40 years.  The impact, both natural and economic, will be massive.

WMO signs maritime safety accord with International Hydrographic Organization
8 October 2015

WMO has signed an agreement with the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) to strengthen cooperation and coordination in the provision of maritime safety information to protect lives at sea.

A Memorandum of Understanding, signed on 7 October, commits the two organizations to coordinate activities related to the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System,  in support of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea. These are two of the main instruments designed to improve the safety of merchant shipping.

WMO Welcomes Election of New IPCC Chair
7 October 2015

The World Meteorological Organization welcomes the election of Hoesung Lee, of the Republic of Korea, as the new chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

“Hoesung Lee is a distinguished and accomplished expert in the economics of climate change, energy and sustainable development who assumes the leadership of the IPCC at a crucial time for the international community,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. “In two months time, world leaders gather in Paris to reach a global agreement on tackling climate change. The IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report is a key input into those negotiations,” he said.

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Videos showcase Climate Services
6 October 2015

Over the past year, the Global Framework for Climate Services Office, with the support of WMO, has produced a series of videos to promote awareness of how climate services can benefit a diverse range of users. 

The seven videos are:

  • GFCS:  Climate services for climate action (an introduction to climate services and their growing potential over the next decade)
  • Climate action in China:  Services for disaster risk reduction
  • Climate action in Tanzania: Services for food security
  • Climate action in the UK: Services for public health
  • Climate action in Senegal: Services for fishing communities
  • Action climat au Sénégal: Les services pour les communautés de pêcheurs
  • Second session of the Intergovernmental Board on Climate Services (IBCS-2)

WMO Calls for New Images for International Cloud Atlas
1 October 2015

The World Meteorological Organization is calling for the submission of high quality photographs of clouds to feature as “reference images” in the next edition of the International Cloud Atlas.

The aim is to produce a user-friendly, digital-based product, which is an authoritative, comprehensive and up-to-date source of reference and is also interesting and accessible to a wide audience. It will also include new types of cloud.

Professional meteorologists, weather observers and cloud photographers are encouraged to submit high-resolution colour images of all types of clouds and meteors, along with accompanying metadata (information on where and when the photograph was taken and a description of the weather situation).


Sustainable Development Goals Adopted
28 September 2015

Weather, climate and water-related information and services will make a cross-cutting contribution to promotion of the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals. WMO will work closely with its Members and National and Meteorological and Hydrological Services to improve both the provision and use of these services and maximize their full socio-economic benefits.

The U.N. General Assembly on 26 September adopted an ambitious 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Composed of 17 goals and 169 targets, the Agenda is an essential plank in the effort to wipe out poverty, fight inequality and enhance medical and educational access over the next 15 years.

South Africa organises first national GCOS science day
24 September 2015

On Monday, 28 September, in Cape Town, participants from South Africa as well as around the world will gather for a GCOS science day to discuss long-term climate observations of essential climate variables relating to the atmosphere and terrestrial and marine systems, as well as their integration into comprehensive climate models. The day will feature presentations from leading foreign and South African climate scientists as well as open-discussion sessions.

The GCOS science day is being sponsored by the South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON) in collaboration with the South African National Space Agency (SANSA), the South African Weather Service (SAWS), and the Applied Centre for Climate & Earth Systems Science (ACCESS), as well as the GCOS Steering Committe.

WMO and partners prepare health sector for El Niño
22 September 2015

Preparedness efforts to limit the impact of this year’s El Niño are gaining momentum in  South America, with a special focus on sectors which are most vulnerable to extreme climate conditions.

A mature and strong El Niño is now present in the tropical Pacific Ocean and is likely to intensify further. It is the strongest since 1997-1998 and is potentially among the four strongest events since 1950, according to the latest WMO Update.


Record Global Temperatures and high impact weather and climate extremes
22 September 2015

Global mean temperatures near the Earth’s surface continued to set new records between 2011 and 2015, consistent with rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, according to preliminary findings of the assessment of the state of the climate in the current 5 years period.

The year 2014 was nominally the warmest on record, with global mean temperatures 0.61 °C above the 1961-1990 reference period average. The year 2015 is continuing on a similar track, with temperatures for the period January to July at 0.70 °C above the long-term average. The climate for the rest of 2015 will be influenced by the El Niño event, which is likely to be one of the four strongest since 1950.

The four-page WMO summary provides a snapshot about temperatures, extreme events, the Polar regions and sea levels.  It will be made available to delegates seeking more information about climate trends at the U.N. General Assembly and the U.N. Sustainable Development Summit (25-27 September).


Research Award for Young Scientists 2015
21 September 2015

Mr. Shun Chi-ming, Director of the Hong Kong Observatory presented the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Research Award for Young Scientists 2015 on behalf of WMO to Professor Tai Pui-Kuen of the Earth System Science Programme of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) on 1 September.  Professor Tai is the first Hong Kong scientist receiving the Award and his award-winning research is titled “Threat to future global food security from climate change and ozone air pollution” that he published in the Journal of “Nature Climate Change”. 

In the study for which Prof. Tai is receiving the award, Prof. Tai found that warming alone will reduce global agricultural production by more than 10% by year 2050, but the combined effect of global warming and air pollution can be even more detrimental to crop yields.  In the worst-case scenario, the undernourished population in developing countries can climb up by about 50% by 2050.  Nonetheless, strict controls on air pollution can partially offset the adverse impacts of climate change, leading to a smaller combined global crop production decrease.  According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation, the worldwide demand for food is expected to double by 2050, but human being’s ability to produce enough food is severely challenged by climate change.  Prof. Tai’s findings show that the interactive effect of global warming and air pollution can in particular significantly threaten global food production, suggesting that policy makers should take both factors into account in addressing the imminent global food crisis.