Weather and climate know no national borders. The transformation of the International Meteorological Organization into the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1950 was an essential response to the need to strengthen global cooperation in this scientific area. In 1960, the Executive Council of WMO established World Meteorological Day to build public awareness of the services provided by National Meteorological Services and WMO. These services involve the observation, collection, processing and dissemination of meteorological, hydrological and other related data and products. The 23rd of March was chosen for the commemoration as it marks the date of entry into force of the WMO Convention.
The 2013 World Meteorological Day theme is “Watching the weather to protect life and property,” with the subtitle “Celebrating 50 Years of the World Weather Watch.” This theme focuses attention on the crucial role of meteorological services in strengthening safety and resilience to weather events. It also pays tribute to the World Weather Watch, a foundation programme of the WMO that marks its fiftieth anniversary in 2013.
Established in 1963, in the middle of the Cold War, the World Weather Watch is an outstanding landmark in international cooperation. In 2013 the Bulletin celebrates the World Weather Watch with articles outlining its history and offering a forward-looking perspective on its systems and programmes. In this issue, we introduce the Global Observing System (GOS) and the Instruments and Methods of Observation Programme (IMOP).
Some of the international partners in the World Weather Watch have also contributed items to the Bulletin to mark its 50th anniversary. This issue includes an interview of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) Director-General Alan Thorpe and an article from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on environmental satellites. In addition, two newer international partnerships – the Tiksi International Hydrometeorology Observatory and ARISE – which promise to deliver scientific insights that will contribute to the World Weather Watch, are highlighted.
The development of human resources and the physical infrastructure of public weather services is key to the success of the World Weather Watch. The last two articles in this issue deal with these two important aspects. In the penultimate article, four WMO fellows provide insight into their fellowship experience at the China Meterological Administration. The final article highlights the Korean Meteorological Administration’s approach to the valuing of investments in data-processing and forecasting systems.