The Paris Agreement enters into force today, promising to energize global action under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The World Meteorological Organization and its members are committed to assisting governments to translate the Agreement’s words into reality by building climate resilience and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“Science, technology and international collaboration are the most important tools we have for creating a zero-emissions future,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas. “WMO will support the Paris Agreement by working with governments and with our partners to promote the climate observations, research and services that we need to meet the enormous challenge of climate change.”
“In addition to climate mitigation, we have to pay attention to climate adaptation,” he added. “Due to the inertia of the climate system, we are expecting to see a growing number of weather and water related disasters in the coming decades. It is very important to strengthen the disaster and climate preparedness of countries by providing additional resources to the national meteorological and hydrological services. These investments are also economically feasible.”
The WMO community, which consists of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs), meteorological associations, private companies and other organizations, is at the forefront of global efforts to monitor, understand and respond to climate change. This community contributes to action under the UNFCCC by:
- Observing the planet. WMO draws on inputs from NMHSs and others to track trends in the climate. The annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin reports on atmospheric levels of major greenhouse gases, while annual and multi-year statements report on global temperature trends, extreme events and other aspects of the evolving climate system. The resulting data are also key inputs for climate models and for the assessment reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. WMO is working with partners to promote the high-resolution monitoring of national and urban emissions by using atmospheric observations combined with weather modelling.
- Coordinating research. Through its own programmes and the co-sponsored World Climate Research Programme, WMO assists the world’s leading researchers and climate modellers to align their efforts and accelerate progress. Our growing knowledge of the climate system, the role of greenhouse gases, and the impacts on weather, sea-levels and ecosystems is vital for both mitigation and adaptation.
- Developing services. Like weather services, climate services use observations and research findings to provide predictions and information for decision-making, but on the scale of seasons to decades. Sophisticated climate services combine climate forecasts with information from other sectors to inform decisions on public health, agriculture, water management, disaster risk and other sectors and priorities. In this way, scenarios of future climate change based on increasingly reliable models can be used to guide investments and strategies for the coming decades. For example, scenarios of future sea-level rise combined with population trends can shape long-term investments in coastal housing and infrastructure.