No. 942 - World Meteorological Day 23 March highlights role of weather, climate and water in sustainable development

No. 942 - World Meteorological Day 23 March highlights role of weather, climate and water in sustainable development



22 March 2012
Press Release Number:

For use of the information media
Not an official record

GENEVA, 22 March 2012 – “Powering our Future with Weather, Climate and Water,” is the theme of this year’s World Meteorological Day (23 March), an opportunity for National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and the WMO community at large to promote their contribution to our daily lives.

The theme highlights the growing importance of weather, climate and water services for sustainable socio-economic development of present and future generations.

“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 World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Michel Jarraud.

“Investment in National Meteorological and Hydrological Services is more necessary than ever to meet future challenges associated with our rapidly changing climate. 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.”

This is the rationale behind the Global Framework for Climate Services which is now being developed by WMO and its partners inside and outside the United Nations system, with a particular focus on 70 countries which currently have few or no such services. The Framework aims to ensure the provision of climate information for all-levels of decision-making ranging from construction of dams and sea-defenses, to choice of seed varieties and land use. It will initially prioritize food security and agriculture, water management, disaster risk reduction and health.

To coincide with World Meteorological Day, the WMO Annual Statement on the Status of the Global Climate 2011 is being released. It clearly underscores the continuing changes in our climate. The 13 warmest years on record have all occurred since 1997 and global temperatures in 2011 were higher than any previous La Niña year, an event which usually has a coolinginfluence. The extent of Arctic sea ice cover last summer was the second lowest on record and the overall sea ice volume was most likely the lowest registered.

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 the ten-year period.

An international symposium: Hydro-meteorological information: a tool for socio-economic development takes place 22 March, coinciding with World Water Day and on the eve of World Meteorological Day. It is organized by the Société Météorologique de France in the framework of the 9th International Weather & Climate Forum to be held at WMO headquarters.


Notes to Editors:

World Meteorological Day 23 March celebrates the entry into force in 1950 of the Convention creating WMO as a successor to the non-governmental International Meteorological Organization (IMO) established in 1873. In 1951, WMO became a Specialized Agency of the United Nations.

The World Meteorological Day 2012 package, including a brochure and a written and video message from Mr Jarraud, are available at

WMO is organizing in its premises the first ever WMO-Private Sector Forum from 10:00 to 12:00 to discuss how the private sector can benefit from enhanced climate services. The main purpose of the forum is to provide a platform for interaction between WMO and key private sector agencies on their needs for climate services. It will be broadcast for the benefit of all private sector agencies from around the world interested in following this event.

The Global Framework for Climate Services (the Framework), initiated by the World Climate Conference-3, provides an excellent opportunity for private sector to benefit from enhanced climate services and to provide better accessibility to climate information. The Framework promises to make full use of private sector expertise.

The ceremony itself starts at 14:30 at WMO headquarters with a welcome address by Mr Jarraud and statements by Special Guest Kandeh Yumkella, Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and Chairman of UN-Energy, and Guest Speaker Jean Jouzel, President of the Société météorologique de France and Member of the IPCC Bureau.

The World Meteorological Organization is the United Nations System’s authoritative voice on Weather, Climate and Water

For more information please contact:

Clare Nullis, Media Officer, Communications and Public Affairs,
Tel: +41 (0)22 730 8478; 41-79) 7091397 (cell)

e mail: cnullis(at)

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