The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is a Specialized Agency of the United Nations. It is the UN system's authoritative voice on the state and behaviour of the Earth's atmosphere, its interaction with the oceans, the climate it produces and the resulting distribution of water resources.
The World Meteorological Organization is an intergovernmental organization with a membership of 188 Member States and Territories.
It originated from the International Meteorological Organization (IMO), which was founded in 1873.(click image at right for detail of organization structure)
Established in 1950, WMO became the specialized agency of the United Nations in 1951 for meteorology (weather and climate), operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences.
WMO carries out its work through ten major scientific and technical programmes. The programmes are based on the concept and experience that mutual benefits are gained from cooperative use of the pool of knowledge that has been created by worldwide sharing of meteorological, hydrological and related information among Members.
The programmes of WMO make possible the provision of meteorological and related services in all countries at costs far below those that would be incurred if each Member acted alone.
The World Weather Watch Programme (WWWP) is the backbone of the overall programme of WMO.
It combines data-processing centres, observing systems and telecommunication facilities – operated by Members – to make available meteorological and related geophysical information that is needed in order to provide efficient meteorological and hydrological services within the countries.
It also includes a Tropical Cyclone Programme (PDF), in which more than 60 countries are involved, an Instruments and Methods of Observation Programme to promote standardization and development of meteorological and related observations.
The World Climate Programme (WCP) promotes the improvement of the understanding of climate processes through internationally coordinated research and the monitoring of climate variations or changes.(click image at right for detail)
It also promotes the application of climate information and services to assist in economic and social planning and development.
The research component of the Programme is the joint responsibility of WMO, the International Council for Science and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO. The Climate Impact Assessment and Response Strategies (PDF) component is coordinated by the United Nations Environment Programme.
The Atmospheric Research and Environment Programme (AREP) promotes atmospheric research, in particular through the Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW), which integrates monitoring and research activities carried out under the Global Ozone Observing System and the Background Air Pollution Monitoring Network and serves as a system to detect changes in the composition of the atmosphere.
The programme also includes weather-prediction research; a Tropical Meteorology Research Programme (PDF) relating to studies of monsoons, tropical cyclones, rain-producing tropical weather systems and droughts; and a programme on physics and chemistry of clouds and weather modification.
The Applications of Meteorology Programme (AMP) comprises four vital areas of application of meteorological services and information: public weather services, agricultural meteorology, aeronautical meteorology and marine meteorology, and promotes the development of infrastructures and services which are required in those areas for the benefit of Member countries.
The Hydrology and Water Resources Programme (HWRP) is concerned with the assessment of the quantity and quality of water resources in order to meet the needs of society, to permit mitigation of water-related hazards, and to maintain or enhance the condition of the global environment.
It includes standardization of all aspects of hydrological observations and the organized transfer of hydrological techniques and methods. The Programme is closely coordinated with UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme.
The Education and Training Programme (ETRP) holds the key to future development by promoting all efforts in Member countries to ensure that the necessary body of trained meteorologists, hydrologists, engineers and technicians is available.
It is closely interrelated with all other major scientific and technical Programmes.
The Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) comprises the mainstream of organized transfer of meteorological and hydrological knowledge and proven methodology among the Members of the Organization.
Particular emphasis is laid upon the development of a wide range of services (related to weather prediction, climatology and hydrology); on the development and operation of key World Weather Watch infrastructures; and on supporting the Education and Training Programme of WMO.
The Programme is funded mainly by UNDP, by WMO’s own Voluntary Cooperation Programme, trust funds and the WMO regular budget.
The Regional Programme (RP) cuts across the other major WMO Programmes of relevance to the Regions and addresses meteorological, hydrological and other geophysical issues which are unique to and of common concern to a Region or group of Regions.
It provides a framework for the formulation of most of the global WMO Programmes and serves as a mechanism for their implementation at the national, subregional and regional levels.
The Natural Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Programme (DPM) is a cross-cutting programme that ensures integration of relevant activities being carried out under the various WMO Programmes in the area of disaster prevention and mitigation.
It provides for the effective coordination of the pertinent WMO activities with related activities of international, regional and national organizations including civil defence organizations.
The Programme also provides scientific and technical support to WMO’s actions in response to disaster situations.
The Space Programme (SP) is to make increasing contribution to the development of the Global Observing System (GOS) of WWW, as well as to the other WMO-supported Programmes and associated observing systems.
It will provide improved data, products and services continuously, from both operational and R&D satellites, and facilitate and promote their wider availability and meaningful utilization around the globe.(click images below for detail)