The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) coordinates the activities of its 189 Member States and Territories in producing and exchanging information about weather, climate and water, conducts research at the local, national, international and global levels and trains weather professionals. The ultimate goal of WMO is to make it easier for communities and nations to achieve environmental safety and well-being and to contribute to the preservation of Earth. The organization was created in 1950 and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. It became a Specialized Agency of the United Nations system in 1951.
Questions and answers
What is meteorology?
Meteorology is the science that uses physics, mathematics and chemistry to deal with the atmosphere and its phenomena, including weather and climate. No one can really claim to be the first meteorologist. Predicting the weather has always been essential to species survival.
Long before modern science, watching the sky and other methods like observing the flight of birds were ways of predicting the weather. As societies developed, however, humans began to study the weather and seasonal changes in the wind (such as the monsoon), which were essential for travel or trade and their subsistence. Records of early civilizations contain innumerable references to weather and climate. It was not until 1657, however, that Grand Duke of Tuscany Ferdinand II di Medici established the first recorded international meteorological network. His Accademia del Cimento set up seven stations in Italy, and one in France, Germany, Poland and Switzerland.
Why do we need to coordinate meteorological activities around the world?
The weather ignores political borders. When you cross from one country to another, it does not stop raining just because you are in a different country. All countries therefore have to cooperate to develop their meteorological skills and to predict the weather.
Today, weather, climate or water-related phenomena cause nearly three quarters of all natural disasters such as drought, floods, windstorms, tropical cyclones, extreme hot and cold temperatures, landslides and wildfires; even illnesses and insect infestations are linked to weather, climate and water. WMO provides vital information for early warnings that can save many lives and minimize damage to property.
60 YEARS AT YOUR SERVICE
For the past 60 years, WMO has been studying weather and climate patterns, weather systems, causes of climate change, deserts, freshwater and saltwater – in fact, everything that affects weather, climate and water. Weather, climate and water are of crucial importance to us all, young and old, professionals and students.
WMO and the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services will continue to work together to provide the most accurate and timely information to help us prepare for a better future. The future of the world’s weather, climate and water rests very much in our hands.