World Meteorological Organization

specialised agency of the United Nations for meteorology
"WMO" redirects here. For other uses, see WMO (disambiguation).
World Meteorological Organization
المنظمة العالمية للأرصاد الجوية (Arabic)
世界气象组织 (Chinese)
Organisation météorologique mondiale  (French)
Всемирная Метеорологическая Организация (Russian)
Organización Meteorológica Mundial  (Spanish)
Emblem of the United Nations.svg
Flag of the World Meteorological Organization.svg
WMO flag
Abbreviation WMO
Formation 1950
Type UN agency
Legal status Active
Headquarters Geneva, Switzerland
Petteri Taalas (Secretary-General)
David Grimes (President)

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is an intergovernmental organization with a membership of 191 Member States and Territories. It originated from the International Meteorological Organization (IMO), which was founded in 1873. Established in 1950, WMO became the specialised agency of the United Nations for meteorology (weather and climate), operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences. It has its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, and is a member of the United Nations Development Group.[1] The current Secretary-General is Petteri Taalas.[2] The current president is David Grimes.[3]


The organizationEdit

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 behavior of the Earth's atmosphere, its interaction with the oceans, the climate it produces and the resulting distribution of water resources.[4]

WMO has a membership of 191 member states and territories, as of February 2014. The Convention of the World Meteorological Organization was signed 11 October 1947[5] and established upon ratification on 23 March 1950. WMO became the specialized agency of the United Nations in 1951 for meteorology (weather and climate), operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences. It originated from the International Meteorological Organization (IMO), which was founded in 1873.[4]

The WMO hierarchy:

  • The World Meteorological Congress determines the policy of WMO and meets every four years. Each Member country is represented by a Permanent Representative with WMO. The Permanent Representative should be the director of the National Meteorological or Hydrometeorological Service.
  • The Executive Council (EC) implements Congress decisions and meets once a year.
  • Six regional associations for addressing regional concerns (see the section on regional associations, below)
  • Eight technical commissions provide technical recommendations for WMO and the national services.
  • The secretariat headed by the Secretary-General coordinates the activities of WMO with a regular staff of more than 250 employees.[6]


The World Meteorological Organization provides a framework for international cooperation in the development of meteorology and operational hydrology and their practical application.[7]

Since its establishment, WMO has played a unique and powerful role in contributing to the safety and welfare of humanity. Under WMO leadership and within the framework of WMO programs,[8] National Meteorological and Hydrological Services contribute substantially to the protection of life and property against natural disasters, to safeguarding the environment and to enhancing the economic and social well-being of all sectors of society in areas such as food security, water resources and transport.[7]

The WMO and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) jointly created the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It is also directly responsible for the creation of the Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW). The IPCC has received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 "for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change."[9]

WMO promotes cooperation in the establishment of networks for making meteorological, climatological, hydrological and geophysical observations, as well as the exchange, processing and standardization of related data, and assists technology transfer, training and research. It also fosters collaboration between the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services of its Members and furthers the application of meteorology to public weather services, agriculture, aviation, shipping, the environment, water issues and the mitigation of the impacts of natural disasters.

WMO facilitates the free and unrestricted exchange of data and information, products and services in real- or near-real time on matters relating to safety and security of society, economic welfare and the protection of the environment. It contributes to policy formulation in these areas at national and international levels.[10]

In the specific case of weather-, climate and water-related hazards, which account for nearly 90% of all natural disasters, WMO's programs provide vital information for the advance warnings that save lives and reduce damage to property and the environment. WMO also contributes to reducing the impacts of human-induced disasters, such as those associated with chemical and nuclear accidents, forest fire and volcanic ash. Studies have shown that, apart from the incalculable benefit to human well-being, every dollar invested in meteorological and hydrological services produces an economic return many times greater, often ten times or more.[citation needed]

WMO plays a leading role in international efforts to monitor and protect the environment through its programs. In collaboration with other UN agencies and the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services, WMO supports the implementation of a number of environmental conventions[11] and is instrumental in providing advice and assessments to governments on related matters. These activities contribute towards ensuring the sustainable development and well-being of nations.[citation needed]

WMO publishes the International Cloud Atlas, the international standard cloud atlas since 1896.[citation needed]

Meteorological codesEdit

In keeping with its mandate to promote the standardization of meteorological observations, the WMO maintains numerous code forms for the representation and exchange of meteorological, oceanographical, and hydrological data. The traditional code forms, such as SYNOP, CLIMAT and TEMP, are character-based and their coding is position-based. Newer WMO code forms are designed for portability, extensibility and universality. These are BUFR, CREX, and, for gridded geo-positioned data, GRIB.[citation needed]

World Meteorological DayEdit

WMO seat in Geneva shared with the GICHD, the GCSP and the Group on Earth Observations
  WMO member states
  WMO member territories
  • World Meteorological Day is held annually on 23 March.[12]

Awards and prizesEdit

WMO conference on climate prediction and information for decision-makingEdit

World Climate Conference-3 (WCC-3) was held from 31 August to 4 September 2009 in Geneva, Switzerland, under the auspices of WMO. Its goal was to address advancements in seasonal to multi-decadal climate predictions and to spur their applications to decision-making in socio-economic sectors, including food, water, energy, health, tourism and development sectors. The Conference aimed to contribute to the achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and broader UN climate goals through support for climate adaptation.[18]


As of February 2014, member states of the organisation include 183 of the 193 UN members, the Cook Islands and Niue, for a total of 185 member states. Additionally there are 6 member territories, listed below.[19]

There are 10 states that are members of the United Nations, but not of the WMO. These are: Andorra, Equatorial Guinea, Grenada, Liechtenstein, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and San Marino; the most populous of these countries is Equatorial Guinea, with nearly 700,000 inhabitants. Non-members of either organisation include the Vatican City and the states with limited recognition.[citation needed]

The six member territories are: the British Caribbean Territories (joint meteorological organisation and membership),[19] French Polynesia, Hong Kong, Macau, Curaçao and Sint Maarten (joint meteorological service and membership),[19] and New Caledonia. Below is a table of all members with admission dates.[citation needed]

Current member statesEdit

States that joined the WMO before they joined the UN are marked with a blue background. States that are members of the WMO, but not of the UN are marked with a green background. For comparison, see Member states of the United Nations. The dates are the dates of the ratification of the WMO Convention by the member, or the date of accession.[20] The national meteorological services belonging to each member state are also listed.[19]

Member states National Meteorological Services Date of admission
  Afghanistan Afghanistan Meteorological Authority 11 September 1956
  Albania Institute of Hydrometeorology 29 July 1957
  Algeria 4 April 1963
  Angola 16 March 1977
  Antigua and Barbuda Antigua and Barbuda Meteorological Services 16 November 1988
  Argentina 2 January 1951
  Armenia 16 September 1992
  Australia Bureau of Meteorology 14 March 1949
  Austria Central Institution for Meteorology and Geodynamics 23 February 1955
  Azerbaijan 27 December 1993
  Bahamas Bahamas Meteorology Department 29 November 1973
  Bahrain 21 April 1980
  Bangladesh Bangladesh Meteorological Department 24 August 1973
  Barbados Barbados Meteorological Services 22 March 1967
  Belarus 12 April 1948
  Belgium Royal Meteorological Institute 2 February 1951
  Belize Belize National Meteorological Service 25 May 1982
  Benin 14 April 1961
  Bhutan 11 February 2003
  Bolivia, Plurinational State of 15 May 1954
  Bosnia and Herzegovina 1 June 1994
  Botswana 16 October 1967
  Brazil 15 March 1950
  Brunei Darussalam 26 November 1984
  Bulgaria 12 March 1952
  Burkina Faso 31 October 1960
  Burundi 30 October 1962
  Cambodia 8 November 1955
  Cameroon 17 December 1960
  Canada Meteorological Service of Canada 28 July 1950
  Cape Verde 21 October 1975
  Central African Republic 28 June 1961
  Chad 2 February 1961
  Chile 9 May 1957
  China China Meteorological Administration 25 February 1972[21]
  Colombia Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies 5 January 1962
  Comoros 15 March 1976
  Congo 21 November 1960
  Democratic Republic of the Congo 5 November 1960
  Cook Islands 18 October 1995
  Costa Rica Instituto Meteorológico Nacional 16 December 1960
  Côte d'Ivoire 31 October 1960
  Croatia Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service 9 October 1992
  Cuba 4 March 1952
  Cyprus 11 April 1963
  Czech Republic Czech Hydrometeorological Institute 25 January 1993
  Denmark Danish Meteorological Institute 10 July 1951
  Djibouti 30 June 1978
  Dominica 21 February 1980
  Dominican Republic 15 September 1949
  Ecuador Instituto Nacional de Meteorología e Hidrología (Ecuador) 7 June 1950
  Egypt 10 January 1950
  El Salvador 27 May 1955
  Eritrea 8 July 1993
  Estonia Estonian Weather Service 21 August 1992
  Ethiopia 3 December 1953
  Fiji Fiji Meteorological Service 18 March 1980
  Finland Finnish Meteorological Institute 7 January 1949
  France Météo-France 5 December 1949
  Gabon 5 June 1961
  Gambia 2 October 1978
  Georgia 1 September 1993
  Germany Deutscher Wetterdienst 10 June 1954
  Ghana 6 May 1957
  Greece Hellenic National Meteorological Service 20 January 1950
  Guatemala Instituto Nacional de Sismología, Vulcanología, Meteorología e Hidrología (INSIVUMEH) 21 March 1952
  Guinea 27 March 1959
  Guinea-Bissau 15 December 1977
  Guyana 22 November 1966
  Haiti 14 August 1951
  Honduras 10 October 1960
  Hungary 15 February 1951
  Iceland Icelandic Meteorological Office 16 January 1948
  India India Meteorological Department 27 April 1949
  Indonesia Indonesian Agency for Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics 16 November 1950
  Iran, Islamic Republic of Iran Meteorological Organization 30 September 1959
  Iraq 21 February 1950
  Ireland Met Éireann 14 March 1950
  Israel Israel Meteorological Service 30 September 1949
  Italy Servizio Meteorologico 9 January 1951
  Jamaica 29 May 1963
  Japan Japan Meteorological Agency 11 August 1953
  Jordan 11 July 1955
  Kazakhstan 5 May 1993
  Kenya 2 June 1964
  Kiribati 26 March 2003
  Democratic People's Republic of Korea 27 May 1975
  Republic of Korea Korea Meteorological Administration 15 February 1956
  Kuwait 1 December 1962
  Kyrgyzstan 20 July 1994
  Lao People's Democratic Republic 1 June 1955
  Latvia Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre 15 May 1992
  Lebanon 22 December 1948
  Lesotho 3 August 1979
  Liberia 7 February 1974
  Libya 29 December 1955
  Lithuania Lithuanian Hydrometeorological Service 3 June 1992
  Luxembourg 29 October 1952
  Republic of Macedonia[22] 1 June 1993
  Madagascar 15 December 1960
  Malawi 15 February 1965
  Malaysia Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) 19 May 1958[23]
  Maldives 1 June 1978
  Mali 11 November 1960
  Malta 28 December 1976
  Mauritania 23 January 1961
  Mauritius 17 July 1969
  Mexico Servicio Meteorológico Nacional (SMN) 27 May 1949
  Micronesia (Federated States of) 20 September 1995
  Republic of Moldova 21 November 1994
  Monaco 9 April 1996
  Mongolia 4 April 1963
  Montenegro Institute of Hydrometeorology and Seismology of Montenegro 6 December 2006
  Morocco 3 January 1957
  Mozambique Mozambique National Institute of Meteorology 21 June 1976
  Myanmar 19 August 1949
  Namibia 6 February 1991
    Nepal Department of Hydrology and Meteorology 12 August 1966
  Netherlands Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute 12 September 1951
  New Zealand MetService 2 April 1948
  Nicaragua 27 February 1959
  Niger 28 October 1960
  Nigeria 30 November 1960
  Niue 31 May 1996
  Norway Norwegian Meteorological Institute 9 December 1948
  Oman 3 January 1975
  Pakistan Pakistan Meteorological Department 11 April 1950
  Panama 12 September 1967
  Papua New Guinea 15 December 1975
  Paraguay 15 September 1950
  Peru 30 December 1949
  Philippines Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) 5 April 1949
  Poland Institute of Meteorology and Water Management (IMGW-PIB) 16 May 1950
  Portugal Instituto Português do Mar e da Atmosfera (IPMA) 15 January 1951
  Qatar 4 April 1975
  Romania Administrația Națională de Meteorologie 18 August 1948
  Russian Federation Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring of Russia (Roshydromet) 2 April 1948
  Rwanda 4 February 1963
  Saint Lucia 2 March 1981
  Samoa 11 July 1995
  São Tomé and Príncipe 23 November 1976
  Saudi Arabia 26 February 1959
  Senegal 1 November 1960
  Serbia Republic Hydrometeorological Service of Serbia 21 February 2001
  Seychelles 15 February 1977
  Sierra Leone 30 March 1962
  Singapore 24 January 1966
  Slovakia Slovak Hydrometeorological Institute 11 February 1993
  Slovenia Slovenian Environment Agency 20 August 1992
  Solomon Islands 6 May 1985
  Somalia 2 March 1964
  South Africa South African Weather Service 17 January 1950
  South Sudan 14 December 2012
  Spain Agencia Estatal de Meteorología 27 February 1951
  Sri Lanka 23 May 1951
  Sudan 3 December 1956
  Suriname 26 July 1976
  Swaziland 2 November 1982
  Sweden Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute 10 November 1948
   Switzerland Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology (MeteoSwiss) 23 February 1949
  Syria Syrian Arab Republic 16 July 1952
  Tajikistan 10 August 1993
  Tanzania, United Republic of Tanzania Meteorological Agency 14 September 1962
  Thailand 11 July 1949
  Timor-Leste, Democratic Republic of 4 December 2009
  Togo 28 October 1960
  Tonga Tonga Meteorological Service 25 February 1996
  Trinidad and Tobago 1 February 1963
  Tunisia 22 January 1957
  Turkey Turkish State Meteorological Service 5 August 1949
  Turkmenistan 4 December 1992
  Tuvalu 22 September 2012
  Uganda 15 March 1963
  Ukraine Ukrainian Hydrometeorological Center 12 April 1948
  United Arab Emirates 17 December 1986
  United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Met Office 14 December 1948
  United States of America National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 4 May 1949
  Uruguay 11 January 1951
  Uzbekistan 23 December 1992
  Vanuatu 24 June 1982
  Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of 16 June 1950
  Viet Nam 2 July 1976[24]
  Yemen 22 May 1990[25]
  Zambia 28 December 1964
  Zimbabwe 12 January 1981

Historical member statesEdit

Member states Date of admission Date membership ended Note
  Republic of China 2 March 1951 25 February 1972 Seat in the UN transferred to the People's Republic of China (see China and the United Nations for details)
  German Democratic Republic 23 May 1973 3 October 1990 German reunification
  Republic of South Vietnam 2 March 1955 2 July 1976 Reunification of Vietnam
  Democratic Republic of Vietnam 8 July 1975 2 July 1976 Reunification of Vietnam
  Yemen Arab Republic 8 June 1971 22 May 1990 Yemeni unification
  People's Democratic Republic of Yemen 28 January 1969 22 May 1990 Yemeni unification
  Yugoslavia 7 December 1948  ? Breakup of Yugoslavia

Member territoriesEdit

Member territories Meteorological Services Date of admission
British Caribbean Territories Caribbean Meteorological Organisation 24 September 1953
  Curaçao and   Sint Maarten Meteorological Department Curaçao 12 September 1951
  French Polynesia Météo-France Polynesie Francaise 5 December 1949
  Hong Kong, China Hong Kong Observatory 14 December 1948
  Macau, China Macao Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau 24 January 1996
  New Caledonia Météo-France Nouvelle-Calédonie 5 December 1949

Membership by regional associationsEdit

The member states of the WMO are divided into six regional associations. The division is as follows:

Region Number of member states Percentage of total Number of member territories Percentage of total
I 57 31% 0 0%
II 33 18% 2 33%
III 13 7% 0 0%
IV 25 14% 2 33%
V 21 11% 2 33%
VI 50 27% 0 0%
WMO 185 100% 6 100%

The sum of member states in the regional associations is larger than the total number of member states because some nations are members to more than one regional association.

The member states of the World Meteorological Organization divided into the six regional associations, shown on a world map

Region I (Africa)Edit

Region I consists of the nations of Africa and a few former colonial powers, and has 57 member states and no member territories; these are:[26]

Not member

Region II (Asia)Edit

Region II consists of nations in Asia, having a total of 33 member states and 2 member territories. The member states are:[27]

The member territories are:

Region III (South America)Edit

Region III consists of the nations of South America, including France (French Guiana is an overseas region of France in South America). It has a total of 13 member states and no member territories. The member states are:[28]

Region IV (North America, Central America, and the Caribbean)Edit

Region IV consists of the nations of North America, Central America, and the Caribbean, including three nations based in Europe with dependencies within the region. It has a total of 25 member states and 2 member territories. The member states are:[29]

Region V (South-West Pacific)Edit

Region V consists of nations in the south-west Pacific. This includes 21 member states and 2 member territories. The member states are:[30]

The   Cook Islands and   Niue are both member states despite the fact that neither is a member state of the United Nations; both are in free association with New Zealand.

The member territories are:

Not members

Region VI (Europe)Edit

Region VI consists mostly of nations in Europe, but also of a few in Western Asia. It has 50 member states and no member territories. These are:[31]

States with membership in more than one regionEdit

A total of ten member states have membership in more than one region. Two nations are members to four different regions, while eight are members of two regions. These nations, with their regions, are as follows:

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "UNDG Members". United Nations Development Group. Retrieved 7 August 2013. 
  2. ^ "Secretary-General". World Meteorological Organization. Retrieved 7 August 2013. 
  3. ^ "President". World Meteorological Organization. Retrieved 7 August 2013. 
  4. ^ a b WMO in Brief – World Meteorological Organization (WMO). (1 January 2013). Retrieved on 22 August 2013.
  5. ^ Convention of the World Meteorological Organization.
  6. ^ WMO Strategic Plan
  7. ^ a b PWMU. "WMO in Brief – World Meteorological Organization (WMO)". Retrieved 12 January 2014. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "IPCC Nobel Peace Prize". Nobel Prize Committee. 12 October 2007. Retrieved 20 February 2010. 
  10. ^ Gwam, C. U. (2011). "World meteorological organization (WMO)". Yearbook of International Environment Law. 21 (1): 617–632. Retrieved 18 September 2016. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ "World Meteorological Day". World Meteorological Organization. Retrieved 15 July 2013. 
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ WCC-3
  19. ^ a b c d "WMO - Members". World Meteorological Organization. Retrieved 6 March 2017. 
  20. ^ "Members of the World Meteorological Organization with date of ratification or accession". World Meteorological Organization. Retrieved 22 August 2013. 
  21. ^ The following statement is given at the WMO official site at the request of the Government of the People's Republic of China: "On 11 October 1947, the representative of the Chinese Government signed the Convention of the World Meteorological Organization. After the founding of the People's Republic of China, her rightful seat in WMO was usurped by the Chiang Kai-shek clique, whose 'ratification' of the Convention of the World Meteorological Organization on 2 March 1951 was illegal and null and void. The rightful seat of the People's Republic of China was restored to her on 25 February 1972." For details, see China and the United Nations.
  22. ^ a b Referred to by the United Nations as "The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" due to the Macedonia naming dispute.
  23. ^
  24. ^ Both North and South Vietnam were members of the WMO prior to this date, which is the date of the reunification of Vietnam.
  25. ^ This is the date of the unification of the Yemen Arab Republic and the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen, both of which were WMO members before this date.
  26. ^ "Members of Regional Association I (Africa)". World Meteorological Organization. Retrieved 6 March 2017. 
  27. ^ "Members of Regional Association II (Asia)". World Meteorological Organization. Retrieved 6 March 2017. 
  28. ^ "Members of Regional Association III (South America)". World Meteorological Organization. Retrieved 6 March 2017. 
  29. ^ "Members of Regional Association IV (North America, Central America and the Caribbean)". World Meteorological Organization. Retrieved 6 March 2017. 
  30. ^ "Members of Regional Association V (South-West Pacific)". World Meteorological Organization. Retrieved 6 March 2017. 
  31. ^ "Members of Regional Association IV (Europe)". World Meteorological Organization. Retrieved 6 March 2017. 

External linksEdit