UN spotlights role of weather and water services in addressing climate change challenges

World Meteorological Day 2012: Powering our future with weather, climate and water. Photo: WMO

23 March 2012 – The role of weather, climate and water services to help countries achieve sustainable development is being highlighted today by the United Nations during this year’s World Meteorological Day.

“Knowledge about our weather, climate and water has made great strides in recent years and is fundamental to food security, disaster risk reduction, water management, energy supplies and health, to name but a few examples,” said the World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) Secretary-General, Michel Jarraud, in a press release.

World Meteorological Day, observed on 23 March, celebrates the creation of WMO in 1950 to promote international cooperation in the field of weather, climate, water and other related sciences. This year’s theme, “Powering our Future with Weather, Climate and Water,” focuses on the importance of investing in national meteorological and hydrological services to address challenges that have risen as a result of climate change.

“We need to strengthen the international knowledge base and ensure that the information reaches all socio-economic levels, from government decision makers and captains of industry to farmers and local community leaders,” said Mr. Jarraud.

“There has been great progress in improving the accuracy and usefulness of weather forecasts. We now need to improve the performance of climate predictions, for seasons, years and even decades ahead, and to increase our knowledge about how global climate is changing at regional, national and local level,” he added.

WMO is developing a Global Framework for Climate Services with its partners that will focus on 70 countries that currently lack or have few weather services. The framework will seek to ensure that weather and climate information reaches all levels of decision-making to influence choices like the construction of dams and the use of land.

As part of World Meteorological Day, WMO also released its annual statement on the status of global climate which reveals that last year was the eleventh warmest year on record, and the warmest with a La Niña phenomenon, which is supposed to have a cooling effect on the Earth.

“This 2011 annual assessment confirms the findings of the previous WMO annual statements that climate change is happening now and is not some distant future threat,” Mr. Jarraud said. “The world is warming because of human activities and this is resulting in far-reaching and potentially irreversible impacts on our Earth, atmosphere and oceans.”

WMO will also release preliminary findings of a global climate assessment for 2001-2010, providing information on temperatures, precipitation, sea ice and extreme events over this period.


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