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World Meteorological Day Highlights Impacts of Weather Extremes

WMO23 March 2013: The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) celebrated World Meteorological Day on 23 March 2013, under the theme "Watching the Weather to Protect Life and Property.” This year's theme focuses on the role that meteorological and water services play in alerting people to natural hazards such as floods, topical cyclones and droughts.

A Scientific and Technical Forum was held prior to the Day to commemorate the 50th anniversary of World Weather Watch (WWW), a programme launched by WMO following a UN General Assembly (UNGA) request to investigate the potential of weather satellites as part of the agenda for the peaceful use of outer space. The Forum, held on 21 March 2013, in Geneva, Switzerland, highlighted the Day, as well as the development and successes of the WWW's three core components: the Global Observing System (GOS); the Global Telecommunications System (GTS); and the Global Data-Processing and Forecasting System (GDPFS). Leading experts from around the world discussed the evolution of coordinated climate and weather observations, telecommunications and meteorological forecasts.

WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud addressed the Forum and welcomed World Meteorological Day as an opportunity to highlight the growing impact of weather extremes, calling for "global cooperation to promote and coordinate the provision of better and longer-term weather and climate forecasts and early warnings to protect life and property.”

In a message delivered to mark the Day, Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), noted thatas a result of climate change, "droughts are expected to become more frequent and intense with an increasing human and economic toll." He underscored that WMO's long-term weather monitoring and forecasting plays a key role in risk management and resilience building.

World Meteorological Day, observed on 23 March each year, celebrates the creation of WMO in 1950 to promote international cooperation in the field of weather, climate, water and other related sciences. [WMO Event Programme] [WMO Press Release] [UNCCD Executive Secretary Message] [UN Press Release]