The World Weather Watch (WWW) was established by the Fifth World Meteorological Congress, held in Geneva in 1967. Its purpose is to make available to each national meteorological service meteorological and related environmental information required in order to enjoy the most efficient and effective meteorological and related environmental services possible in both applications and research. No other scientific discipline has such international interdependence. The WWW has three essential elements:
The WWW also has two support functions:
Also grouped under the WWW umbrella are WMO's satellite and emergency response activities. Emergency response activities involve the coordination and implementation of procedures and response mechanisms in case of nuclear accidents, as well as the Instruments and Methods of Observation Programme and the Tropical Cyclone Programme (TCP). The TCP, is designed to assist more than 50 countries in areas vulnerable to tropical cyclones to minimize destruction and loss of life by improving forecasting and warning systems, and disaster preparedness measures.
The World Climate Programme (WCP) established by the eighth WMO Congress in 1979 comprises four major component programs: the World Climate Applications and Services Programme (WCASP); the World Climate Data and Monitoring Programme (WCDMP); the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP); and the World Climate Impact Assessment and Response Strategies Programme (WCIRP).
The objectives of the WCP are:
WMO is directly responsible for WCASP and WCDMP and for the overall coordination of the WCP, but has joint responsibility with the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO for the WCRP. UNEP is responsible for the WCIRP. Several other international organizations such as FAO, UNESCO, WHO, and UNDP are actively involved.
The close cooperation required for the WCP, which is complex and multidisciplinary, is achieved through interagency meetings and through the Climate Exchange Co-ordination Activities. Within the program, priority attention is given to the food, water, and energy sectors.
The World Climate Programme provides an interagency, inter-disciplinary framework to address the full range of climate change issues, including research into the economic and social consequences of climate change. It is the major international program supporting the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the process of implementation of the Framework Convention on Climate Change, and relevant to the implementation of Agenda 21, the seminal statement of the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (the "Earth Summit").
The eleventh World Meteorological Congress decided that the WCP should be supported by the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) as an essential activity associated with the World Climate Programme.
The basic objectives of the WCRP are to increase understanding of climate mechanisms and to determine to what extent climate can be predicted and the possible influence of man's activities on climate. Achieving these objectives requires input from many scientific disciplines. To assist in this, coordination and overall guidance is provided by the WMO/ICSU Joint Scientific Committee. The eleventh WMO Congress decided that UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) should be invited to join in WCRP. Continuing efforts are made at model development and global climate analysis, in particular the assessment of cloud prediction schemes and the representation of ocean-atmosphere interface fluxes in atmospheric general circulation models. Projects to assemble quality-controlled, consistent global climatological sets of sea-surface temperature and precipitation also have been established. Continual support is given to WCRP activities concerned with the study of climate forcing, including research on radiation codes used in climate models, aerosol sensitivity investigations and the global ozone research and monitoring projects.
The WMO's Aeronautical Meteorology Programme serves to further the application of meteorology to aviation. It is keyed to ensure, jointly with ICAO, the continuous development of regulatory and guidance material required for the provision of services to aviation in accordance with the operational requirements of aviation. It also contributes to the implementation and improvement of meteorological services necessary to ensure the safety, regularity, and efficiency of air transport.
The overall purpose of the WMO's Marine Meteorological Programme is the promotion of the required marine meteorological services over the high seas and coastal areas, including specialized ocean services and the application of marine climatological information for planning marine activities. The program also includes development of a comprehensive marine environmental monitoring service, a coordinated ocean data management system, and activities within the Integrated Global Ocean Services System, a joint venture of the WMO and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission until 1999, when the two organizations merged.
The purpose of the Agricultural Meteorology Programme is to help WMO members develop the capability to provide the agricultural community with practical information—based on knowledge of the climate, recent weather, and short-, medium-, and long-term forecasts—that can be used to improve production, reduce risks and crop losses, decrease pollution by agricultural chemicals, diminish costs, and increase the efficiency of the use of energy in agriculture. In turn, these immediate goals can help members achieve self-sufficiency in food production and increase export earnings from agriculture. At the international and regional levels, the program helps to identify requirements for information in agricultural meteorology, assess the impact of weather and climate fluctuations on food production, and apply agrometeorological methods to improve land use, crop selection, and management practices.
The Public Weather Services Programme (PWS) of WMO was established in 1994. Its main purpose is to assist the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services to provide comprehensive and reliable weather and related services to the public. The PWS assists members to communicate weather information and forecasts to the users and warns them of severe weather. The PWS exchanges and coordinates hazardous weather information among neighbouring countries. It also works to improve public understanding of meteorological events and engages in education and training programs.
The purpose of the Atmospheric Research and Environment Programme (AREP) is to contribute to the advancement of atmospheric sciences and to assist members in providing better meteorological services by fostering research in meteorology and related environmental fields. It also is aimed at ensuring that members have relevant information and guidance to make the best use of the results of research applied for the benefit of their national economies and quality of life. The transfer of technology is ensured through support, within available resources, for the participation of scientists from developing countries in AREP.
AREP has five main components: the Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW); the Programme on Short- and Medium-Range Weather Prediction Research; the Programme on Long-range Forecasting Research; the Tropical Meteorology Research Programme (TMRP); and the Programme on Physics and Chemistry of Clouds and Weather Modification Research (PCCWMR).
Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) . This worldwide system integrates most monitoring and research activities involving the measurement of atmospheric composition. It is intended to serve as an early warning system to detect further changes in the ozone layer and in long-range transport of pollutants, including acidity and toxicity of rain, as well as the atmospheric burden of aerosols. The instruments of these globally standardized observations and related research are the WMO Global Ozone Observing System (GOOS), operating about 140 stations in more than 60 countries, and the WMO Background Air Pollution Monitoring Network (BAPMoN), which has nearly 200 stations in more than 90 countries. GAW is the main contributor of data on chemical composition and physical characteristics of the atmosphere to the Global Environment Monitoring Systems (GEMS) of UNEP. GAW will be a main component of the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS). Through GAW, WMO collaborates with the UN Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) and is responsible for the meteorological part of the Monitoring and Evaluation of the Long-Range Transmission of Air Pollutants in Europe. In this respect WMO has arranged for the establishment of two Meteorological Synthethizing Centres (in Oslo and Moscow) that provide daily analysis of the transport of pollution over Europe. GAW also gives attention to atmospheric chemistry studies, prepares
Members of the World Meteorological Organization
(as of 1 April 2003)
Antigua and Barbuda
Bosnia and Herzegovina
British Caribbean Territories
Central African Republic
Republic of the
Iran (Islamic Republic of)
Korea, Democratic People's Republic of
Korea, Republic of
Lao People's Democratic Republic
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
Micronesia, Federated States of
Netherlands Antilles and Aruba
Papua New Guinea
São Tomé and Príncipe
Syrian Arab Republic
The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
Trinidad and Tobago
United Arab Emirates
United States of America
assessments, and encourages integrated environmental monitoring.
Weather Prediction Research Programs (WPRP) . These programs assist members in improving their weather services by exchanging the results of research on weather prediction. It accomplishes this goal by means of international conferences, technical reports, and progress reports on numerical weather prediction. The Programme on Short- and Medium-Range Weather Prediction Research aims at strengthening members' research with emphasis on improving the accuracy of short- and medium-range weather forecasting, including forecasting of local weather phenomena (particularly severe phenomena). The main objective of the Programme on Long-Range Forecasting Research is to foster members' research efforts in the development, introduction, and improvement of operational long-range weather forecasting systems.
Tropical Meteorology Research Programme . This program aims at the promotion and coordination of members' efforts into such important problems as monsoons, tropical cyclones, droughts in the arid zones of the tropics, rain-producing tropical weather systems, and the interaction between tropical and midlatitutde weather systems. The goal is to be of economic benefit to tropical countries by improving members' forecasting abilities.
Physics and Chemistry of Clouds and Weather Modification Research Programme (PCCWMP) . This program encourages scientific research in physics and chemistry of clouds and its application to all fields where clouds have a major role. Examples include weather enhancement (rain making) and hail suppression. The program provides information on worldwide weather modification projects and guidance in the design and evaluation of experiments. It also studies the role of clouds in the transport, transformation, and dispersion of pollution.
The purpose of the WMO's Hydrology and Water Resources Programme is to promote worldwide cooperation in the assessment of water resources and their development through the coordinated establishment of hydrological networks and services, including data collection and processing, hydrological forecasting and warnings, and the supply of meteorological and hydrological data to be used for the design of projects. The three components of the program are: the Operational Hydrology Programme—Basic Systems; the Operational Hydrology Programme—Applications and Environment; and the Programme on Water-related Issues.
The emphasis is on the operational hydrology program, and particularly its hydrological operational multipurpose subprogram, the main aim of which is to provide an efficient means and systematic institutional framework for transfer of operational hydrological technology to and between developing countries.
The program for applications and services in regard to water resources provides technical support for WMO activities dealing with environmental problems, such as the Tropical Cyclone Programme, the World Climate Programme, and WMO activities relating to droughts and desertification.
The Education and Training Programme is designed to support the scientific and technical programs of the WMO, as well as to assist in the development of the required personnel in the national meteorological and hydrological services of member countries.
Activities under the program include surveys of personnel training requirements; the development of appropriate training programs; the establishment and improvement of regional training centers; the organization of training courses, seminars, and conferences; and the preparation of training materials in the form of compendia of lecture notes, problem workbooks, and visual and audiovisual aids. The program also arranges individual training programs and provides fellowships. Training programs place several hundred specialists in advanced courses each year.
The program provides advice on education and training in meteorology and operational hydrology and on the availability of suitable training facilities. A training library is maintained. Films are provided on a loan basis to members on request.
The Panel of Experts on Education and Training serves as the focal point of the program.
The WMO's technical cooperation activities—in the form of fellowships, expert missions, equipment, and assistance for group training, such as workshops and seminars—are carried out through UNDP, the Voluntary Cooperation Programme, trust-fund arrangements, and the regular budget of the organization. Assistance has been given in support of projects ranging from the establishment, organization, and operation of meteorological and hydrological services to the application of meteorology in increasing food production and assessing alternative energy sources.
WMO's Voluntary Cooperation Program (VCP) is maintained by contributions from members to the Voluntary Cooperation Fund and to the Equipment and Services Program. Although priority is given to the implementation of the World Weather Watch, the VCP also provides assistance and supports other WMO programs in such fields as agrometeorology, hydrology, and climate. It grants fellowships to nationals of developing countries.
Under trust-fund arrangements, countries make funds available through the WMO for technical cooperation activities either in the country providing the funds or in another country.
Activities under the WMO's regular budget are only a small percentage of the total assistance and are confined mainly to the awarding of fellowships and participation in group training.
WMO provides support through three regional offices and two sub-regional offices. Regional offices are located in Bujumbura, Burundi (for Africa); Asunción, Paraguay (for the Americas); and at the Geneva, Switzerland, headquarters (for Asia and Southwest Pacific). Sub-regional office are in Lagos, Nigeria (for West Africa); and in San José, Costa Rica (for North America, Central America and the Caribbean). A third sub-regional office is in consideration for Asia and the Southwest Pacific.
The Regional Program helps bridge the gap between developed and developing countries and accelerates the implementation and operation of the World Weather Watch, operational hydrology, and Global Atmosphere Watch. The Regional Program also assists in implementing the recommendations made by the six Regional Associations and provides the necessary support to their presidents. It contributes to activities of regional intergovernmental bodies as well as to high-priority activities such as those relating to climate change, sustainable development, and protection of the environment resulting from UNCED and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.