Volume 61(1) 2012

Powering our Future with Weather, Climate and Water

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Each year, on 23 March, World Meteorological Day commemorates the entry into force, in 1950, of the WMO Convention creating the Organization. The 2012 theme for World Meteorological Day was Powering our future with weather, climate and water. This focuses on the critical roles of weather, climate and water services in powering a sustainable future for us and for generations to come.

Every moment, every day, National Meteorological and Hydrological Services around the world gather and analyse data on weather, climate and water and convert it to value-added information that protects lives and livelihoods and is fundamental to the present and future well-being of our society and our planet. The examples of this are myriads. Our food and farming supply must be tailored to the climate of a region and the available water. Industrial processes need ample water and energy. Cities need clean air and protection from storms and floods. International trade and tourism depend on safe and efficient transportation.

We rely on up-to-the minute, reliable weather forecasts for everything ranging from social activities to multi-million dollar decisions. According to one recent study, US economic output varies by up to US$ 485 billion a year – about 3.4 per cent of Gross Domestic Product – owing to weather variability.

Human activities increasingly impact on our weather, climate and water. National Meteorological and Hydrological Services are at the fore of efforts to observe and understand this complex inter-relationship. Now more than ever, we need climate projections for the future. And we need to increase our knowledge about how global climate phenomena play out at regional, national and local level.

This rationale forms the basis of the Global Framework for Climate Services. This far-reaching initiative will help countries – especially those most vulnerable – manage the risks and seize the benefits of a changing climate. It will unleash the potential of the billions of dollars invested in climate observations, research and information management systems. Disaster risk reduction, water management, food security and health are its top priorities.

National Meteorological and Hydrological Services have an important role to play in Powering our future with weather, climate and water through the Global Framework for Climate Services. The various activities organized at WMO headquarters to mark World Meteorological Day highlighted that role. The three articles that follow are based on presentations made that day. The first two are by the guest speakers at the official WMO ceremony and the last is by a speaker participating in the first WMO Private Sector Forum. We have also published a series of photographs in our centrefold from the movie “One planet. One civilization.”, by Gaël Derive, an extract of which was shown at the WMO ceremony.

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