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World Meteorological Day

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World Meteorological Day is celebrated annually on March 23. It commemorates the entry into force in 1950 of the convention that created the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

The WMO is “an intergovernmental organization with a membership of 191 Member States and Territories” which include the Philippines. It originated from the International Meteorological Organization (IMO), which was founded in 1873. Established by the ratification of the WMO Convention on March 23, 1950, WMO became the specialized agency of the United Nations for meteorology (weather and climate), operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences a year later. It is “the UN System’s authoritative voice on the state and behavior of the Earth’s atmosphere, its interaction with the oceans, the climate it produces and the resulting distribution of water resources.”3

Last year, World Meteorological Day highlighted the “enormous importance of clouds for weather climate and water” and celebrated the inherent beauty and aesthetic appeal of clouds, which has inspired artists, poets, musicians, photographers, and countless other enthusiasts throughout history. This year, the theme of the daylong observance is “Weather-Ready, Climate-Smart.” It continues where 2017 left-off – “with extreme weather which has claimed lives and destroyed livelihoods.” Through the theme, WMO underscores the importance of being weather-ready. An early warning is an important factor in disaster risk reduction; and multi-hazard early warnings enable those concerned to simultaneously address flooding, storms, and other major hazards, long before such hazards arise.

Being weather-ready requires involving people and the communities at risk and the provision of impact-based early warning. It is preparing those at risk as well as those who may be involved in providing assistance. Among the imperatives to being climate-smart are developing climate services and increasing the number of professionals and students trained in meteorology and climatology; providing climate data to meet the pre-requisites for the provision of climate services for decision-makers; and developing more effective communication channels for decision-makers such as farmers, health, water, and other professionals and those in governance. WMO has launched an initiative to establish a global and standardized multi-hazard alert system in collaboration with National Meteorological and Hydrological Services worldwide.

As we mark this year’s World Meteorological Day, we share the vision of WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas for all its members to become “weather-ready” and “climate-smart” – and water-wise to support the international agenda on sustainable development, disaster risk reduction, and climate change adaptation.

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