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Press Release No. 775

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World Meteorological Day 2007
WMO Stresses global importance of polar meteorology

GENEVA: 23 MARCH 2007 (WMO) – Every year on 23 March, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services of its 188 Members commemorate the 1950 entry into force of the convention that created the Organization, which became a Specialized Agency of the United Nations a year later. The theme of World Meteorological Day this year is “Polar Meteorology: Understanding Global Impacts”.

According to WMO Secretary-General, Mr Michel Jarraud: “The fundamental influence of the polar areas over the global climate system cannot be overemphasized.”

“Meteorological and climatological conditions, which occur in these regions, can and often have considerable impacts on all ecosystems and human societies, regardless of their whereabouts.”

WMO has been taking a central role in the pursuit of understanding polar meteorological and climatology and the Day’s theme is intended to further intensify international attention after WMO and the International Council for Science launched International Polar Year 2007-2008 on 1 March.

One of the aims of this global initiative of more than 200 projects is also to discover more about the impacts of climate change in these regions and how other areas will be affected.

Guest Speaker at the World Meteorological Day celebrations at WMO headquarters in Geneva will be Prof Chris Rapley, Director of the British Antarctic Survey and President of the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research. Professor Rapley will address the Day’s theme in a presentation about Shrinking Ice: The Global Impact of Polar Warming.

Professional explorer Mike Horn will be the Special Guest of the event. In 2006, together with Borge Ousland, he was the first to walk to the North Pole in the sunless Arctic winter. The extreme adventurer will give a visual presentation entitled On site – Visual impact. Acting for the future.

Prof Arthur Chilingarov, Deputy Chairman of the State Duma and Special Representative of the President of Russian Federation on International Polar Year issues, will speak about this major scientific research initiative. He will also open WMO’s exhibition Polar Perspectives – The Arctic and the Antarctic as seen by renowned photographers, to be inaugurated after the official ceremony.

For the World Meteorological Day Message of the Secretary-General of WMO, and information kit: “Polar Meteorology: Understanding Global Impacts”, please check the WMO website (see below).

A film entitled “Two Poles-One Planet” (18’ 55’) has been produced for World Meteorological Day 2007 and is available in the six UN official languages and in different formats (DVD, VHS and Betacam Sp). In addition, WMO has produced the following products on the occasion of the International Polar Year (IPY) 2007-2008: a video news release (2’ 29’’) available in English and in French, a ‘B’ roll and an IPY introductory ‘clip’ (3’35’’ with images, text and music; no voice comment) in English and French.

All materials can be obtained for media purposes from the WMO Communications and Public Affairs Office.

Journalists are cordially invited to the ceremony for World Meteorological Day 2007, which will take place at WMO Headquarters in Geneva on Friday, 23 March, from
3 p.m. to 5 p.m., including the inauguration of the WMO exhibition, and to the reception that will follow.

WMO is the United Nations’ authoritative voice on weather, climate and water
For more information please contact:
Ms Carine Richard-Van Maele, Chief, Communications and Public Affairs, WMO.
Tel: +41 (0)22 730 83 15.
Mr Mark Oliver, Press Officer, Communications and Public Affairs Office, World Meteorological Organization. Tel: +41 (0)22 730 84 17.

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