The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is a specialised agency of the United Nations (UN) for weather, climate, operational hydrology and geophysical sciences. Switzerland is one of the 191 members of the WMO, and is represented by MeteoSwiss.

The WMO flag on top of the WMO headquarters in Geneva.
WMO flag in Geneva © WMO

The WMO was founded on 23 March 1950, replacing the International Meteorological Organization (IMO), which was established in 1873. The WMO is a specialist organisation of the UN, and is based in Geneva. It coordinates international cooperation on weather, climate, hydrology and water resources. Switzerland is one of the 191 member countries and territories, and is represented by MeteoSwiss.

Worldwide promotional programmes for meteorology

The WMO is actively involved in a number of programmes. In the area of climate, for example, it promotes programmes that facilitate the unrestricted exchange of meteorological and hydrological data. It also promotes the delivery of climate services for the purpose of helping to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the United Nations (including tackling poverty, working towards food security, improving public health etc.). The overarching aim in all of this work is to establish a global climate monitoring service. In the area of meteorology, the WMO promotes the standardisation of weather observations, as well as the training of meteorologists. WMO programmes further the application possibilities for meteorological information, such as specialised weather forecasts for aviation or agriculture, or severe weather warnings.

Global climate monitoring

The WMO is not only focused on its own programmes, but is also actively involved in jointly-funded programmes such as the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS). The WMO is also playing a central role in the establishment of the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS). The main aim of the GFCS is the development of a global set of tools, or climate-related services, that will help to improve humanity’s ability to adapt to the effects of climate change (Climate Change Adaptation). This is achieved through the coordination of all relevant activities in climatology and meteorology, in particular by increasing the degree of dialogue with potential users of climate services in specific sectors (e.g. in agriculture/nutrition, health, energy, etc.).