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In many parts of the world, flooding is a major problem. In the period from 1970 to 2012, storms and floods caused over one million deaths. Flood plains are often attractive areas for human development and a vast share of the world’s population depends, whether directly or indirectly, on a number of key natural resources that are generally provided by floodplains.
Within its mandate in the areas of weather, climate and water, WMO focuses on many different aspects and issues from observations, information exchange and research to weather forecasts and early warnings, from capacity development and monitoring of greenhouse gases to application services and much, much more.
Data repositories and archives play a critical role as the source for the observational data used in the study of weather and climate. After over two centuries of recording observations on physical media – and the last 20 years on digital media – these records are at risk.
Through its Technical Commissions, Programmes and Regional Offices as well as by synergistic partnerships, WMO facilitates the maintenance and expansion of its Members' atmospheric, oceanographic and land-based observational networks; the free unrestricted exchange of the resulting data and information; and related capacity development and research in order to optimize the production weather, climate and water-related services worldwide.
Natural hazards are severe and extreme weather and climate events that occur in all parts of the world, although some regions are more vulnerable to certain hazards than others. Natural hazards become disasters when people’s lives and livelihoods are destroyed.
Water stress, water-related hazards and water quality pose increasing challenges to modern society. And yet, the capacity to monitor and manage this vital resource is fragmented and inadequate. Billions of people around the world also feel the impact of climate change through water.