The World Meteorological Organization welcomes its new Secretary-General, Petteri Taalas, who will head the UN System's authoritative voice on weather, climate and water for the next four years.
Mr Taalas, who was previously Director-General of the Finnish Meteorological Institute, succeeds Michel Jarraud, who completed three terms of office on 31 December 2015.
"Weather, climate, water and related environmental conditions have a major impact on our global society and economy," says Mr Taalas. "WMO Members have to be better prepared for extreme weather events and to adapt to the changing climate, and National Meteorological and Hydrological Services will be pivotal to these efforts."
“I look forward to leading WMO in an era when attention is focussed on how to implement the ambitious Paris Agreement on climate change and cut emissions of greenhouse gases. The scientific and meteorological community will continue to work to strengthen the knowledge and services that will underpin climate-smart decision-making and effective and practical action."
“My objective as Secretary-General will be to develop WMO activities so that they give even greater support to National Meteorological and Hydrological Services, which are now working in an increasingly challenging operating environment," said Mr Taalas.
Mr Taalas has served as the Director-General of the Finnish Meteorological Institute since 2002, excluding 2005 – 2007, when he was Director of the Development and Regional Activities department of WMO.
He has extensive experience in managing national and international expert organizations, with proven skills for bringing enhanced efficiency, new innovations, and high customer and staff satisfaction. He has a strong scientific background with an emphasis on atmospheric sciences. He has authored about 50 publications on global climate change, satellite methodologies and atmospheric chemistry.
Mr Taalas has held several positions and board memberships in both national and international organizations. He has served as a member of the WMO Executive Council and the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts Council, and he is past Chairman of the EUMETSAT Council and the EUMETNET Council.
Mr Taalas was appointed by the World Meteorological Congress in June 2015. WMO President David Grimes was elected to a second four-year term by the WMO Congress in June 2015.
The World Meteorological Organization is the United Nations System’s authoritative voice on Weather, Climate and Water
Queries to Michael Williams, Chief of Communications and Public Affairs, Tel: +41 (0)22 730 8315; +41 (0)79 4064730, email: mwilliams(at)wmo.int