World Meteorological Organization

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is an intergovernmental organization with a membership of 192 Member States and Territories. Its current Secretary-General is Petteri Taalas[1] and the President of the World Meteorological Congress, its supreme body, is David Grimes.[2] The Organization is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

It followed on from the International Meteorological Organization, founded in 1873,[3] a non-governmental organization. Reforms of status and structure were proposed from the 1930s, culminating in the World Meteorological Convention signed on 11 October 1947 which came into force on 23 March 1950. It formally became the World Meteorological Organization on 17 March 1951, and was designated as a specialized agency of the United Nations.[4]

World Meteorological Organization
Emblem of the United Nations
World Meteorological Organization Logo
Formation23 March 1950
TypeUnited Nations specialised agency
Legal statusActive
HeadquartersGeneva, Switzerland
David Grimes
Parent organization
United Nations Economic and Social Council
UN emblem blue.svg United Nations portal

The organization

WMO has a membership of 192 Member States and Territories as of April 2019.[5] The Convention of the World Meteorological Organization was signed 11 October 1947 and established upon ratification on 23 March 1950.

The WMO hierarchy:

  • The World Meteorological Congress, the supreme body of the Organization, determines policy. Each member state and territory is represented by a Permanent Representative with WMO when Congress meets every four years. Congress elects the President and Vice-Presidents of the Organization and members of the Executive Council; and appoints the Secretary-General.
  • The Executive Council (EC) implements Congress decisions.
  • The Secretariat is an eight-department organization with a staff of 200 headed by a Secretary-General, who can serve a maximum of two four-year terms.[6]

The annually published WMO Statements on the status of the World Climate provides details of global, regional and national temperatures and extreme weather events. It also provides information on long-term climate change indicators including atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, sea level rise, and sea ice extent. The year 2016 was the hottest year on record, with many weather and climate extremes, according to the most recent WMO report.[7]

WMO Strategic Plan

  • Disaster risk reduction
  • The Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS)
  • The WMO Integrated Global Observing System (WIGOS)
  • Aviation meteorological services
  • Polar and high mountain regions
  • Capacity development
  • Governance

Meteorological codes

In keeping with its mandate to promote the standardization of meteorological observations, the WMO maintains numerous code forms for the representation and exchange of meteorological, oceanographical, and hydrological data. The traditional code forms, such as SYNOP, CLIMAT and TEMP, are character-based and their coding is position-based. Newer WMO code forms are designed for portability, extensibility and universality. These are BUFR, CREX, and, for gridded geo-positioned data, GRIB.

Recognitions received

World Meteorological Day

WMO Ženeva
WMO headquarters in Geneva shared with the IPCC and the Group on Earth Observations

Main public outreach materials

WMO awards and prizes


As of March 2019, WMO Members include a total of 186 Member States and 6 Member Territories.[15]

Ten United Nations member states are not members of WMO: Equatorial Guinea, Grenada, Liechtenstein, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and San Marino. Cook Islands and Niue are WMO Members but non-members of the United Nations. Vatican City and State of Palestine and the states with limited recognition are not members of either organization.

The six WMO Member Territories are the British Caribbean Territories (joint meteorological organisation and membership),[15] French Polynesia, Hong Kong, Macau, Curaçao and Sint Maarten (joint meteorological service and membership)[15] and New Caledonia. (List of all members with admission dates.)

Membership by regional associations

WMO Regions
The member states of the World Meteorological Organization divided into the six regional associations, shown on a world map

Region I (Africa)

Region I consists of the states of Africa and a few former colonial powers. Region I has 57 member states and no member territories:[16]


Region II (Asia)

Region II has 33 member states and 2 member territories. The member states are:[18]

The member territories are:

Region III (South America)

Region III consists of the states of South America, including France as French Guiana is an overseas region of France. It has a total of 13 member states and no member territories:[19]

Region IV (North America, Central America and the Caribbean)

Region IV consists of the states of North America, Central America, and the Caribbean, including three European states with dependencies within the region. It has a total of 25 member states and 2 member territories. The member states are:[20]

The two member territories are:


Region V (South-West Pacific)

Region V consists of 21 member states and 2 member territories. The member states are:[21]

The  Cook Islands and  Niue (both are in free association with New Zealand)

The member territories are:


Region VI (Europe)

Region VI consists consist of all the states in Europe as well as some Western Asia. It has 50 member states:[22]


States with membership in more than one region

A total of ten member states have membership in more than one region. Two nations are members to four different regions, while eight are members of two regions. These nations, with their regions, are as follows:

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ Taalas, Petteri (1916). "Secretary-General". WMO. World Meteorological Organization. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  2. ^ Grimes, David. "President". WMO. World Meteorological Organization. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  3. ^ "Who we are". World Meteorological Organization. 2 December 2015. Retrieved 14 October 2018.
  4. ^ "History of WMO". World Meteorological Organization. 2 February 2016. Retrieved 14 October 2018.
  5. ^
  6. ^ WMO Strategic Plan Archived 10 June 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^
  8. ^ "IPCC Nobel Peace Prize". Nobel Prize Committee. 12 October 2007. Archived from the original on 5 February 2010. Retrieved 20 February 2010.
  9. ^ "World Meteorological Day". World Meteorological Organization. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  10. ^ "International Meteorological Organization (IMO) Prize". World Meteorological Organization. 9 December 2015. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  11. ^ "Professor Dr Vilho Väisälä Awards". World Meteorological Organization. 9 December 2015. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  12. ^ "Norbert Gerbier-Mumm International Award". World Meteorological Organization. 9 December 2015. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  13. ^ "WMO Research Award for Young Scientists". World Meteorological Organization. 9 December 2015. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  14. ^ "Professor Mariolopoulos Award". World Meteorological Organization. 9 December 2015. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  15. ^ a b c "WMO - Members". World Meteorological Organization. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  16. ^ "Members of Regional Association I (Africa)". World Meteorological Organization. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  17. ^ As Swaziland until 2018.
  18. ^ "Members of Regional Association II (Asia)". World Meteorological Organization. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  19. ^ "Members of Regional Association III (South America)". World Meteorological Organization. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  20. ^ "Members of Regional Association IV (North America, Central America and the Caribbean)". World Meteorological Organization. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  21. ^ "Members of Regional Association V (South-West Pacific)". World Meteorological Organization. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  22. ^ "Members of Regional Association IV (Europe)". World Meteorological Organization. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  23. ^ Under the provisional designation "The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" until 2019.

External links

Aircraft Meteorological Data Relay

Aircraft Meteorological Data Relay (AMDAR) is a program initiated by the World Meteorological Organization.

AMDAR is used to collect meteorological data worldwide by using commercial aircraft.

Data is collected by the aircraft navigation systems and the onboard standard temperature and static pressure probes.

The data is then preprocessed before linking them down to the ground either via VHF communication (ACARS)

or via satellite link ASDAR.

A detailed description is given in the AMDAR Reference Manual (WMO-No 958) available from the World Meteorological Organization,

Geneva, Switzerland.

Alexander Bedritsky

Alexander Ivanovich Bedritsky (in Russian: Александр Иванович Бедрицкий) was the former president of the World Meteorological Organization, a position he had held from 2003 to 2011. In 2009 he was appointed as President Dmitry Medvedev's advisor on climate change.In the past, he was the Director of the Russian Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and environmental monitoring - The Roshydromet (1993–2009).

Since 25 January 2010 he is the special envoy of the President of Russia for climate affairs.


Cartosat-2E is an Earth observation satellite developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), and is the seventh in the Cartosat series. It is designed to collect high-resolution, large-scale imagery for use in urban planning, infrastructure development, utilities planning, and traffic management.The satellite was launched on 23 June 2017, along with NIUSAT and 29 other satellites, aboard a PSLV-XL rocket from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre First Launch Pad. With a mass of 712 kilograms (1,570 lb), it is deployed into a 505-kilometre (314 mi) Sun-synchronous orbit for a five-year primary mission. India has allocated ₹160 crore (US$25 million in 2017) for the project.


In meteorology, a cloud is an aerosol consisting of a visible mass of minute liquid droplets, frozen crystals, or other particles suspended in the atmosphere of a planetary body or similar space. Water or various other chemicals may compose the droplets and crystals. On Earth, clouds are formed as a result of saturation of the air when it is cooled to its dew point, or when it gains sufficient moisture (usually in the form of water vapor) from an adjacent source to raise the dew point to the ambient temperature. They are seen in the Earth's homosphere (which includes the troposphere, stratosphere, and mesosphere). Nephology is the science of clouds, which is undertaken in the cloud physics branch of meteorology.

There are two methods of naming clouds in their respective layers of the atmosphere; Latin and common. Cloud types in the troposphere, the atmospheric layer closest to Earth's surface, have Latin names due to the universal adaptation of Luke Howard's nomenclature. Formally proposed in 1802, it became the basis of a modern international system that divides clouds into five physical forms that appear in any or all of three altitude levels (formerly known as étages). These physical types, in approximate ascending order of convective activity, include stratiform sheets, cirriform wisps and patches, stratocumuliform layers (mainly structured as rolls, ripples, and patches), cumuliform heaps, and very large cumulonimbiform heaps that often show complex structure. The physical forms are divided by altitude level into ten basic genus-types. The Latin names for applicable high-level genera carry a cirro- prefix, and an alto- prefix is added to the names of the mid-level genus-types. Most of the genera can be subdivided into species and further subdivided into varieties. Very low stratiform clouds that extend down to the Earth's surface are given the common names fog and mist, but have no Latin names.

Several clouds that form higher up in the stratosphere and mesosphere have common names for their main types. They are seen infrequently, mostly in the polar regions of Earth. Clouds have been observed in the atmospheres of other planets and moons in the Solar System and beyond. However, due to their different temperature characteristics, they are often composed of other substances such as methane, ammonia, and sulfuric acid as well as water.

Taken as a whole, homospheric clouds can be cross-classified by form and level to derive the ten tropospheric genera, the fog and mist that forms at surface level, and several additional major types above the troposphere. The cumulus genus includes three species that indicate vertical size. Clouds with sufficient vertical extent to occupy more than one altitude level are officially classified as low- or mid-level according to the altitude range at which each initially forms. However they are also more informally classified as multi-level or vertical.

Global Atmosphere Watch

The Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) is a worldwide system established by the World Meteorological Organization – a United Nations agency – to monitor trends in the Earth's atmosphere. It arose out of concerns for the state of the atmosphere in the 1960s.


Graupel (German pronunciation: [ˈɡʁaʊpəl]; Enɡlish: [ˈgɹaʊpəl]), also called soft hail or snow pellets, is precipitation that forms when supercooled water droplets are collected and freeze on falling snowflakes, forming 2–5 mm (0.08–0.20 in) balls of rime. The term graupel comes from the German language.

Graupel is distinct from hail, small hail and ice pellets: the World Meteorological Organization defines small hail as snow pellets encapsulated by ice, a precipitation halfway between snow pellets and hail. Small hail is common in thunderstorms, while graupel typically falls in winter storms. The METAR code for graupel is GS.

India Meteorological Department

The India Meteorological Department (IMD), also referred to as the Met Department, is an agency of the Ministry of Earth Sciences of the Government of India. It is the principal agency responsible for meteorological observations, weather forecasting and seismology. IMD is headquartered in Delhi and operates hundreds of observation stations across India and Antarctica.Regional offices are at Mumbai, Kolkata, Nagpur and Pune.

IMD is also one of the six Regional Specialised Meteorological Centres of the World Meteorological Organization. It has the responsibility for forecasting, naming and distribution of warnings for tropical cyclones in the Northern Indian Ocean region, including the Malacca Straits, the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf.

Instituto Nacional de Meteorologia

Instituto Nacional de Meteorologia (INMET) is the meteorological institute of Brazil. It is part of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply of Brazil. The director is Antonio Divino Moura, current first vice-president of the World Meteorological Organization.

International Meteorological Organization Prize

The International Meteorological Organization Prize is awarded annually by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) for outstanding contributions in the field of meteorology and, since 1971, the field of operational hydrology.The prize, established in 1956, consists of a 14-carat gold medal 57mm in diameter, displaying the official WMO emblem and on the reverse the Latin inscription Pro singulari erga scientiam meteorologicam merito (for outstanding work on the science of meteorology), together with a cash award of 10,000 Swiss Francs. It was named to commemorate the International Meteorological Organization, the predecessor organisation of the current World Meteorological Organization.


Meteorological Service of New Zealand Limited (MetService) was established as a state-owned enterprise in 1992. It employs about 250 staff and its headquarters are in Wellington, New Zealand. Prior to becoming an SOE, New Zealand's national meteorological service has existed in a number of forms since the appointment of the country's first Director of Meteorological Stations in August 1861.

As New Zealand's national meteorological service, MetService produces and issues forecasts and official weather warnings on behalf of New Zealand's Ministry of Transport and is certified by the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand.

International media, aviation and energy business is conducted under the MetraWeather brand.

MetService has been certified to the ISO 9001 standard since November 1995.


Overcast or overcast weather, as defined by the World Meteorological Organization, is the meteorological condition of clouds obscuring at least 95% of the sky. However, the total cloud cover must not be entirely due to obscuring phenomena near the surface, such as fog.Overcast, written as "OVC" in the METAR observation, is reported when the cloud cover is observed to equal eight oktas (eighths). An overcast sky may be explicitly identified as thin (mostly transparent), but otherwise is considered opaque, which always constitutes a ceiling in aviation meteorology.Sometimes clouds can be different colors such as black or white, but overcast usually refers to darker skies. In some cases, it can be impossible to see distinct borders of clouds or the sky may be covered by a single type of cloud, such as stratus and the whole sky will be a dull white.

Periods of overcast weather can range from a few hours to several days. Overcast weather can also affect people suffering from seasonal affective disorder.

The same weather, when observed from above, might be referred to as (an) undercast.

Pancheti Koteswaram

Pancheti Koteswaram (1915–1997) was an Indian meteorologist, hydrologist, atmospheric physicist and the Director-General of Observatories of Government of India. He was a Professor at University of Chicago, University of Hawaii, University of Miami and Tehran University and served as a research associate at National Hurricane Research Laboratory, Miami, and the National Centre for Atmospheric Research, Colorado. A former vice-president of World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Geneva, he was an elected Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Indian National Science Academy and the Andhra Pradesh Academy of Sciences. The Government of India awarded him the third highest civilian honour of the Padma Bhushan, in 1975, for his contributions to science.

Regional Specialized Meteorological Center

A Regional Specialized Meteorological Centre (also Regional Specialized Meteorological Center and Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre; RSMC) is responsible for the distribution of information, advisories, and warnings regarding the specific program they have a part of, agreed by consensus at the World Meteorological Organization as part of the World Weather Watch.

Sea state

In oceanography, a sea state is the general condition of the free surface on a large body of water—with respect to wind waves and swell—at a certain location and moment. A sea state is characterized by statistics, including the wave height, period, and power spectrum. The sea state varies with time, as the wind conditions or swell conditions change. The sea state can either be assessed by an experienced observer, like a trained mariner, or through instruments like weather buoys, wave radar or remote sensing satellites.

In case of buoy measurements, the statistics are determined for a time interval in which the sea state can be considered to be constant. This duration has to be much longer than the individual wave period, but smaller than the period in which the wind and swell conditions vary significantly. Typically, records of one hundred to one thousand wave-periods are used to determine the wave statistics.

The large number of variables involved in creating the sea state cannot be quickly and easily summarized, so simpler scales are used to give an approximate but concise description of conditions for reporting in a ship's log or similar record.

State Meteorological Agency

The State Meteorological Agency (AEMET) is Spain's meteorological agency operating under the Ministry of Environment.

It was founded in 1887 as the "Instituto Central Meteorológico", and has been renamed several times (the last one in 2008). It has its headquarters in Madrid.

It represents Spain in international meteorological institutions, such as the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) and the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF).

Stratocumulus cloud

A stratocumulus cloud belongs to a genus-type of clouds characterized by large dark, rounded masses, usually in groups, lines, or waves, the individual elements being larger than those in altocumulus, and the whole being at a lower height, usually below 2,000 metres (6,600 ft). Weak convective currents create shallow cloud layers because of drier, stable air above preventing continued vertical development.

Ultraviolet index

The ultraviolet index or UV Index is an international standard measurement of the strength of sunburn-producing ultraviolet (UV) radiation at a particular place and time. The scale was developed by Canadian scientists in 1992, then adopted and standardized by the UN's World Health Organization and World Meteorological Organization in 1994. It is primarily used in daily forecasts aimed at the general public, and is increasingly available as an hourly forecast as well.

The UV Index is designed as an open-ended linear scale, directly proportional to the intensity of UV radiation that causes sunburn on human skin. For example, if a light-skinned individual (without sunscreen) begins to sunburn in 30 minutes at UV Index 6, then that individual should expect to sunburn in about 15 minutes at UV Index 12 – twice the UV, twice as fast.

The purpose of the UV Index is to help people effectively protect themselves from UV radiation, which has health benefits in moderation but in excess causes sunburn, skin aging, DNA damage, skin cancer, immunosuppression, and eye damage such as cataracts (see the section Human health-related effects of ultraviolet radiation). Public health organizations recommend that people protect themselves (for example, by applying sunscreen to the skin and wearing a hat and sunglasses) if they spend substantial time outdoors when the UV Index is 3 or higher; see the table below for more-detailed recommendations.

World Climate Research Programme

The World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) is an international programme that helps to coordinate global climate research. The WCRP was established in 1980, under the joint sponsorship of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the International Council for Science (ICSU), and has also been sponsored by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO since 1993.The programme is funded by its three sponsors and additional contributions by nation states or other donors. WCRP uses these funds to organize science workshops or conferences and support collaboration between climate scientists at an international level. Its expert groups also develop international standards for climate data and propose future emphasis areas in international climate research, among others.

World Meteorological Organization squares

World Meteorological Organization squares or WMO squares is a system of geocodes that divides a chart of the world with latitude-longitude gridlines (e.g. plate carrée projection, Mercator or other) into grid cells of 10° latitude by 10° longitude, each with a unique, 4-digit numeric identifier (refer chart at NODC World Ocean Database 2005 page). On the plate carrée projection the grid cells appear square, however if the Mercator projection is used, the grid cells appear 'stretched' vertically nearer the tops and bottoms of the map. On the actual surface of the Globe, the cells are approximately "square" only adjacent to the equator, and become progressively narrower and tapered (also with curved northern and southern boundaries) as they approach the poles, and cells adjoining the poles are unique in possessing three faces rather than four.

Each 10°x10° square is allocated a number between 1000 and 7817. The numbering system is based first on "global quadrant" numbers where 1=NE, 3=SE, 5=SW, 7=NW which gives the initial digit of any square code (1xxx, 3xxx, 5xxx, 7xxx). The second digit (x0xx through x8xx) indicates the number of tens of degrees latitude (north in global quadrants 1 and 7, south in global quadrants 3 and 5) of the 'minimum' square boundary (nearest to the Equator), i.e. a cell extending between 10°N and 20°N (or 10°S and 20°S) has this digit = 1, a cell extending between 20°N and 30°N has this digit = 2, etc. The third and fourth digits (xx00 through xx17) similarly indicate the number of tens of degrees of longitude of the 'minimum' square boundary, nearest to the Prime Meridian. By way of illustration, the square 1000 thus extends from 0°N to 10°N, 0°E to 10°E, and the square 7817 from 80°N to 90°N, 170°W to 180°W, adjacent to the major portion of the International Date Line. In this manner, reverse-engineering (decoding) the relevant square boundaries from any particular WMO Square identifier is straightforward, in contrast to some other similar systems e.g. Marsden squares.

WMO squares are also used as the basis for the c-squares spatial indexing system, which further divides 10°x10° WMO squares into smaller units of 5°x5°, 1°x1°, 0.5°x0.5°, 0.1°x0.1°, and so on.

United Nations System
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