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overview WMO organizes and supports international research to enhance the ability of its Members to improve weather, climate, water and environmental observations, prediction, service delivery and scientific assessments of regional and global environmental conditions. Until now, this research has been a key element in achieving unprecedented improvement in the quality and accuracy of weather, climate andenvironmental forecasting and prediction, as well as the scientific knowledge used by policymakers in preventing and/or reducing the risks associated with natural disasters. In the future, this international research will be critical to the ability of global society to cope with the effects of severe weather (e.g. hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, etc.), climate extremes (e.g. droughts, etc.), and air-quality events (e.g. urban/regional smog, forest fires, sand- and duststorms, etc.), and to develop strategies for adaptation to climate change and variability.

WMO research programmes also support relevant international environmental conventions and related protocols concerning, inter alia, ozone-reducing substances, climate change, desertification and combating drought. WMO-sponsored research and scientific assessments supporting these conventions ensure that the best policies are enacted to protect the ozone layer (Vienna Convention 1985; Montreal Protocol 1987), reduce the effects of the long-range transport of air pollution (UN-ECE LRTAP Convention 1979) and to cope with climate change and variability (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), 1994). For example, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is an international scientific organization co-sponsored by WMO and the United Nations Environment Programme. WMO hosts the IPCC Secretariat. Regular IPCC assessments provide the best available scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the basis of risks to humans, property and infrastructure from climate change and variability. The scientific knowledge generated by the WMO-sponsored research programmes also contributes to developing options for adaptation to, and mitigation of, the adverse impacts of climate change and variability, and serves as the basis for developing the policies and action to be taken by nations around the world through the UNFCCC.

A highlight of WMO research leadership and partnership is the International Polar Year 2007-2008. This intensive campaign of internationally coordinated scientific research and observations focuses on the Earth’s polar regions for a better understanding of those regions and their role in the Earth’s climate system and the potential impact that climate change and variability may have on them in the future.

The WMO Commission for Atmospheric Sciences, the Joint Scientific Committee for the World Weather Research Programme and the Research Department assist WMO Members through:

  • The World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and its affiliated major Projects (GEWEX, CLIVAR, CliC and SPARC);
  • The World Weather Research Programme (WWRP), including THORPEX;
  • The Global Atmosphere Watch programme on air chemistry (GAW).


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