World Meteorological Day

On 23 March we celebrate World Meteorological day; to commemorate the establishment of World Meteorological Organization on 23 March 1950. 

The demand for our expertise and our science has never been higher. For the past 150 years, National Meteorological and Hydrological Services have collected and standardized data which underpin the weather forecasts we now take for granted. The history of WMO data exchange is a success story of scientific cooperation to save lives and livelihoods“said WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas during the WMD 2023 ceremony which took place in WMO organization in Geneva.

The future of weather, climate and water across generations”

The theme for this year is: “The future of weather, climate and water across generations” as we live on an interconnected planet; we share one Earth, with one atmosphere and one ocean and our weather, climate and the water cycle know no national or political boundaries and because of that international cooperation is essential.

The celebration of this also serves as a reminder of our changing climate. The International Meteorological Organization – the predecessor of the World Meteorological Organization – was established in 1873 in an era when pollution from industrial and human activities was at its beginning. 

Because of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, the average global temperature is now more than 1° Celsius higher today compared to 150 years ago. Our weather is more extreme, our ocean is warmer and more acidic, sea levels have risen and glaciers and ice are melting. The rate of change is accelerating. We need urgent action now to slash emissions and to ensure that future generations can both survive and thrive on our planet. 

2023 must be a year of transformation, not tinkering…Every year of insufficient action to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius drives us closer to the brink, increasing systemic risks and reducing our resilience against climate catastrophe. As countries hurtle past the 1.5-degree limit, climate change is intensifying heatwaves, droughts, flooding, wildfires and famines, while threatening to submerge low-lying countries and cities and drive more species to extinction… That means accelerating actions to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees, through scaled-up mitigation and adaptation measures” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres in a message.

The good news is that rapid scientific and technological advances have greatly improved the accuracy of weather forecasts and life-saving early warnings. Big data is being exchanged more freely among a wider community than ever before, and there are new tools including machine learning and Artificial Intelligence.  

There has been significant progress to monitor, simulate and project the global climate to support decision-making. WMO is seeking to develop a sustained and coordinated Global Greenhouse Gas Monitoring Infrastructure to support implementation of the Paris Agreement. 

Our weather, climate and water cycle will be different in the future than in the past. Weather, climate, and hydrological services will help tackle the associated challenges and seize the opportunities. “Supercomputers and satellite technology are opening up new horizons for ever more reliable weather and climate prediction. We are looking to promote kilometer-scale climate modeling to better simulate cloud physics, future flooding and drought risks and, for instance, the speed of Antarctic glacier melting. There is a need for a consortium of countries with high-performance computer resources to respond to this need in the near future” said Prof. Taalas during the ceremony.