World Meteorological Day

World Meteorological Day is an annual celebration of the convention establishing the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) on 23 March, 1950.

Not only does it honor the international cooperation that makes the World Meteorological Organization possible, but it also serves as an essential contribution to discussions about the future of weather, climate change, and the need for community leaders in member countries.

What Is the World Meteorological Organization?

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is an agency of the United Nations. 

With the creation of the United Nations, governments realized that bringing national meteorological and hydrological services together under the same governing body would help streamline data-sharing. So in 1947, the process of modernizing the IMO into the World Meteorological Organization began. All UN member states are also part of the WMO.

Purpose of WMO

The purpose of the WMO is to ensure the free and unrestricted flow of data and research across all UN member states, ensuring that local meteorological services have the support they need to make evidence-based decisions about conservation. This is achieved through the World Weather Watch, which is an international network of weather stations, forecasting centers, and broadcasting facilities. 

The weather data includes measurements from the earth’s surface as well as satellite imagery from planes and space stations, which are particularly important for monitoring water-related issues like sea level changes. 

Additionally, the World Meteorological Organization advocates for climate action for the continued well-being of both humans and the climate as a whole, coordinating amongst member nations to raise awareness about future climate conditions. 

Goals of WMO

In addition to the climate services provided by the WMO, their goals include reducing the human impact of natural disasters, building climate resilience into government activities, engaging youth in environmental stewardship, and limiting the impact of human activity on the Earth.

There is much confusion about climate change in the information age, so the WMO also works to dispel myths, provide fact-based explanations, and create a safe, sustainable future for humans and the world as a whole. 

The Importance of World Meteorological Day

When people think about meteorology, they often think only of the weather report, but there is so much more to this field. Meteorologists play a critical role in helping demystify climate change and explaining the mechanics of weather to the average person.

For example, meteorologists help people understand how different weather factors interact with one another and how climate change has affected them. Raising awareness about climate change is also why we created our weather API, which has over 50 years of historical data as well as relevant current and forecast data.  

World Meteorological Day acknowledges the hard work of climate scientists everywhere and emphasizes the importance of global cooperation in the fight against climate change. Each World Meteorological Day has a topical weather theme, such as the rise in temperatures around the world or the importance of hydrological services in protecting human lives.

Previous World Meteorological Days and Their Themes

The new theme this year for World Meteorological Day is “At the Frontline of Climate Action,” but each year has its own theme based on crucial developments in meteorology. The previous ten themes include:

  • “The Future of Weather, Climate and Water Across Generations” – 2023’s theme provided historical context to today’s fight against climate disruption, honoring the 150th anniversary of the WMO’s predecessor, the IMO. 
  • “Early Warning and Early Action” – In 2022, the WMO focused on how to stay proactive in the face of natural disasters and the changing climate as a whole.
  • “The Ocean, Our Climate and Weather” – To celebrate World Meteorological Day in 2021, the WMO focused on how oceans regulate the climate and what feedback loops exist between land and sea.
  • “Climate and Water”– The 2020 theme examined waterways worldwide to understand how they help regulate the climate.
  • “The Sun, the Earth and the Weather” – There were several solar eclipses in 2019, making this a very topical theme for the year. 
  • “Weather-Ready, Climate-Smart” – 2018’s topic focused on natural resource management and early warning systems to ensure the safety of humans, animals, and the environment as a whole during severe weather. 
  • “Understanding Clouds” – 2017 was the year of clouds for the WMO, discussing their role in thermoregulation, precipitation, and climate.
  • “Hotter, Drier, Wetter — Face the Future” – For 2016, climatologists laid out the facts of the changing climate and discussed how to make cities and structures more climate-resilient. 
  • “Climate Knowledge for Climate Action” – The 2015 World Meteorological Day celebrated information exchange and demonstrated how ancient technologies can make a difference in today’s world. 
  • “Weather and Climate: Engaging Youth” – The positive theme of 2014’s celebration discussed how to help make younger generations passionate about conservation. 

World Meteorological Day FAQs

What is the old name of WMO?

The WMO grew from the International Meteorological Organization (IMO), which was founded in 1873 to help share weather, climate, and water monitoring across international boundaries.

Who started World Meteorological Day?

World Meteorological Day was started in 1951 by the United Nations to celebrate the first anniversary of the World Meteorological Organization started in 1950. Since then, it has become an annual celebration of the WMO’s achievements. 

Which country is the World Meteorological Organization in?

Like other UN agencies, the WMO is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. However, it works worldwide to help advance meteorology and protect human populations. 

How many members are there in the WMO?

All members of the UN are automatically party to the WMO. Currently, there are 193 member states of the UN and, therefore, 193 member states of the WMO. 

Who manages the World Meteorological Day project?

The World Meteorological Association administers World Meteorological Day. Each year, there is a ceremony at the WMO’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland to honor the contributions of national meteorological and hydrological services worldwide. National agencies are encouraged to hold their own celebrations and conferences to share more information about the year’s theme.