Established by the predecessor of WMO, the International Meteorological Organization, the Commission for Instruments and Methods of Observation (CIMO) ensures the accuracy of weather observation by facilitating the creation of international standards and, thus, the compatibility of measurements. The Commission is responsible for developing the guidelines and recommendations implemented through the Instruments and Methods of Observation Programme (IMOP), one of the key components of the World Weather Watch (WWW) Programme. For over a century it has coordinated collective actions by Members in respect to their observing systems, so that the end results of their efforts far exceed what each could individually accomplish to meet its critical needs; the Commission then disseminates those results worldwide.
Today, CIMO is facing new challenges, particularly in the areas of integration and new technologies. The transition from manual observations to automatic and, now, remote-sensing wind profiler and satellite observations requires the development of guidelines on the use and performance of these and, possibly, conducting intercomparisons to assess their relative performance. The ever growing demand for higher resolution meteorological observations in both time and space, such as for nowcasting and severe weather forecasting, and for the optimization of financial resources have obliged meteorological services to use observational data from various different sources – different systems as well as different providers – including external and private data providers. In addition, national security issues make these observations extremely sensitive. In this context, CIMO is challenged to support Members in developing guidelines to assess the quality of the observational data provided by various systems and shared through metadata.
The Commission will use the same strategies and tools that have yielded successful results in the past to face these challenges:
- The promotion of standards,
- Development and publication of guides on instruments and methods of observation,
- Instrument intercomparisons, and
- The organization of capacity building activities such as training workshops and technical conferences.
The Commission actively collaborate with instrument manufacturers – primarily through the Association of Hydro-meteorological Equipment Industry (HMEI) – the scientific community and other international organisations. Over the years, where synergies exist, CIMO has partnered with other international organizations to achieve common goals. These include the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (BIPM), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the direct involvement of CIMO experts into metrology research such as with the European Metrology Research Programme (EMRP).