Education and training

Education and training

Education and training is offered to assists National Meteorological and Hydrological Services in developing and delivering the weather, climate and water-related services required for the safety and well-being of their populations and to become full partners in global collaborative efforts. This work centres mainly on the development of human resources.

The global workforce in the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services of the 191 WMO Members is estimated to be in excess of 300 000. But only approximately half of the Organization's Members have educational infrastructures that can address some of the initial and ongoing specialist education and training needs of Meteorological and Hydrological Services. That means that about half do not have any access to such facilities. And, of those with facilities, some do not cover the full breadth and depth of the required skill areas. WMO assist Member with the development of human resources through training, the provision of educational material and the awarding of fellowships. 

It is a constant challenge to increase the capacity of the WMO education and training community to meet initial education needs as well as the need for ongoing continuous professional development. As demand expands for weather, climate and water services to include disaster risk reduction in forecasts the challenge gets ever greater. The WMO Global Campus, which builds upon the existing network of WMO Regional Training Centres (RTCs), will help Members to meet this need by making more opportunities available through increased cooperation and collaboration between the Centres and affiliated training institutes.

With well over 30 components worldwide, there is a WMO Regional Training Centres near you offering residence classes, distance-learning and blended learning on a diverse portfolio of subjects: ​

Meteorology

Students graduating from a university with a meteorology degree can work in many different areas from the traditional role as a weather forecaster, to developing forecasting systems and new products or to developing or delivering climate or marine services. They can also go into research, teaching, designing and testing instruments, assisting with policy covering environmental areas and many other areas. Learn more in A Career in Meteorology.

When considering a course in meteorology, request information from the university on whether the course satisfies the learning outcomes associated with the WMO Basic Instruction Package for Meteorologists (BIP-M) as many meteorological services will require new staff to have this qualification. Some institutions may run post graduate level courses for candidates with degrees in mathematics and physics. Such courses are typically last less than one year and focuses solely on meteorology. Further details on the BIP-M requirements can be found in WMO Technical Regulation, Volume 1 (WMO Publication No. 49) and in  Manual on the Implementation of Education and Training Standards in Meteorology and Hydrology, Volume I (WMO Publication No. 1083).

Weather forecasting

Weather forecasting is one of the jobs/roles that meteorologists can do. The role of the weather forecaster is changing from producing manual weather forecasts and warnings to making more effective use of the output from Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) model, as many elements of the traditional weather forecasters job are being automated. At the same time there is a growing demand from emergency services and industry for assistance in better application of weather forecasts and warnings. As such, over the next decade, there will be more advisory roles for meteorologists in emergency services in order to provide a more seamless use of the weather forecasts and warnings in protecting lives and property and in improving the economic well-being of countries. 

Employers of weather forecasters range from the national meteorological and hydrological services to military, air traffic control, emergency services and industry. As weather forecasting requires job oriented training, practioners typically first follow a university, or similar level, meteorologist course then undergo further job specific training. Some institutions provide the meteorologist education and the weather forecaster training in the one course. Consult the pages regarding Regional Training Centres (see below) for further options and information.

Agriculture

The level of education and skills of farmers, especially in developing countries, is insufficient to cope with new or aggravating weather, climate and water-related problems. There is a clear an urgent need for trained intermediaries to assist the farming community. Effective education and training in agricultural meteorology at the postgraduate level can ensure a continuous stream of well-informed intermediaries to serve the farming community. Therefore, WMO, in collaboration with the American society of Agronomy, the Accademia dei georgofili and the National Academy of Agricultural sciences of India, developed Guidelines for the education and training of personnel in meteorology and operational hydrology

Aviation

The Commission for Aeronautical Meteorology (CAeM) Expert Team on Education Training and Competencies provides training and guidance material sourced from around the world. Training materials cover both operational and non-operational aspects of aeronautical meteorology, but the primary focus is the specialist needs of the aeronautical forecaster. Read more...

Climate and Climate Prediction

The provision of climate services within a country or region, either by one or several National Meteorological and Hydrological Service or other institutions, can be tasked to skilled personnel with qualifications as meteorologists and climatologists, engineers, geographers, statisticians, mathematicians, economists, computer scientists and science communicators, among others.  No matter who fills the role, climate services provision will involve the transformation of climate data – including in situ, remotely sensed, reanalysis and model output – into climate products and services. This work involves professionals at the managerial level, trainers, information technology professionals, communicators and others specifically involved in climate services delivery.

The WMO Commission for Climatology has created a competency framework to help the institutions better plan for their education and training activities to deliver high quality climate services in compliance with WMO standards and regulations, specifically those defined by the Commission and the Global Framework for Climate Services. To achieve this, the institutions – through collective skill of their staff – must demonstrate the following competencies, or an appropriate set of them, according to their mission and institutional capacity:

  • Create and manage climate data sets
  • Derive products from climate data;
  • Create and/or interpret climate forecasts and model output;
  • Ensure the quality of climate information and services;
  • Communicate climatological information with users.
Disaster risk management

For personnel involved in Disaster Risk Management (DRM), training is required across a broad range of disciplines. Clear concise communication skills are vital to  Disaster Risk Management in order that critical information is passed from the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services to those for whom the message could be life saving. Training in this area is crucial to ensure that these messages are communicated effectively. Personnel also require training  in order to recognize the critical risks faced by communities and the thresholds at which they become dangerous. This training is often completed in conjunction with that of the personnel of civil protection agencies, which contributes to building stronger working relationship between Disaster Risk Management agencies and to understanding the requirements of one and other. 

In order to develop improved multi-hazard early warning systems, it is also fundamental for personnel involved with Disaster Risk Management to be able to understand and participate in the assessment of the socio-economic impacts of meteorological and hydrological events in collaboration with relevant experts. It is paramount for Disaster Risk Management agencies to provide a mechanism to promote community awareness and preparedness for high impact meteorological and hydrological events through public education and outreach. As a result of better multi-hazard early warning systems and mechanisms for public outreach, the resilience of communities to further disasters will improve.

Environment

The Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) Training and Education Centre (GAWTEC) is funded by the German Federal Environment Agency ("Umweltbundesamt" UBA) and the Bavarian State Ministry of the Environment and Public Health. Its base is at the Environmental Research Station Schneefernerhaus ("Umweltforschungsstation Schneefernerhaus" UFS), location of the high-alpine platform of the GAW Global Station Zugspitze/Hohenpeissenberg. GAWTEC courses are offered twice a year and cover measurement techniques, lab training, the theoretical background of atmospheric physics and chemistry, and data handing and interpretation. Such training is critical to the long-erm success of the GAW program.  Read more...

Hydrology

The Hydrology and Water Resource Programme optimizes available resources by concentrating support in areas identified by the WMO Hydrological Community in regular surveys on training needs. In addition to such targeted training, the Programme offers Basic Hydrological Sciences distance learning courses to meet the needs of environmental forecasters who do not have formal training in hydrology, but who work with hydrologic data, particularly in flood forecasting. These provide a basic understanding of ground, surface and atmospheric forms of water and prepare students for further study in hydrologic methods and forecasting. The Programme's Advanced topics in Hydraulics, Hydrological Sciences and Hydrometeorology  is designed to meet the needs of hydrological forecasters who work with hydro-meteorological data and apply this knowledge in the field of flood forecasting and hydrology. Accordingly, the course first lays out an elementary understanding of ground, surface and atmospheric forms of water before moving on to applications in hydrology and and flood forecasting. Read more...

The Associated Programme on Flood Management, a joint initiative between the  Global Water Partnership and WMO, offers a wide range of materials to facilitate self-study for vocational training, advocacy workshops and public awareness building measures. The material is targeted at flood managers, policymakers and trainers as well as teachers and students. Read more... 

In addition, the Helpdesk of Associated Programme on Flood Management offers short vocational training or workshops of 3-5 days as well as training of trainers workshops. Read more...

Instruments
Information and communication technology

Information and communication technology is at the heart of weather, water and climate activities. The communications system collects and shares data and products globally thus enabling the Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models to make forecasts from hours to days ahead, which are then made available globally via the Internet and other media, including dedicated communication channels. 

As effective exchange of information is critical for weather, water and climate activities, the WMO Information System (WIS) is built on industry standard technologies for which training and development support are widely available. The WIS Competences and the supporting WIS Training and Learning Guide give guidance on the kowledge and skills that have to be applied to a greater or lesser extent by those wishing to use the WMO Information System. View Introductory presentations to the WMO Information System or visit the Global Information System Centres, a major component of the WMO Information System infrastructure, for more information. WIS training is also available through the Regrional Training Centres (see below).

Cross-cutting areas

In the early 1990s, the estimated operational cost of maintaining the constellation of meteorological satellites was in the order of USD two million per day. However, many WMO Members are not able to access and use satellite data and products in real time and, thus, cannot reap the benefits of this major investment.  To improve the capacity of WMO Members, the WMO Virtual Laboratory for Meteorological Satellite Education and Training (VLab), a joint initiative with Coordination Group for Meteorological Satellites (CGMS), was launched in the mid 1990s.

VLab aims to improve the use of data and products from meteorological and environmental satellites by Members, especially developing and least developed countries.  To achieve this goal, VLab provides guidance on the availability and usability of satellite data, products and services, such as the Product Access Guide and OSCAR, and sponsors user conferences.

VLAB also guides Members on the specific challenges and opportunities associated with the 2015-2020 generation of meteorological satellites, such as SATURN.

Russian State Hydrometeorological University

Fellowships 

Since its inception, WMO has assisted countless National Meteorological and Hydrological Service by providing opportunities for Fellowships in the fields of weather, climate and water. 
Read more... 

WMO RTC

Regional Training Centres

There are 26 WMO Regional Training Centres, composed of 38 components, providing a diverse portfolio education and training opportunities through of residence classes, distance-learning and blended learning.
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WMO/Competencies

Competency Frameworks

There are 6 Competency Frameworks and Requirements developed by the WMO Technical Commissions for PWS Forecasters and Advisors, Education and Training Providers, Aeronautical Meteorological Personnel, Operators of the WMO Information System (WIS), Marine Meteorological Personnel and Climate Service Personnel. Read more...