At the 10th Arctic Council Ministerial meeting in Fairbanks, Alaska in May of 2017, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) was one of seven new Observers admitted by Ministers. Get to know the WMO and its Arctic connections in the interview below.
Give us a brief introduction to the WMO, and tell us a bit about its connection to the Arctic.
The WMO is the UN specialized organization on weather, climate and water. WMO has 191 Members, headquarters in Geneva, and nine regional offices. WMO coordinates global operational, technical, and scientific activities in its field of expertise, like the global weather observing system, and global greenhouse gas, air pollutant, and climate monitoring systems. WMO hosts the secretariats of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the World Climate Research Programme, and the Global Climate Observing System. A large part of the work is carried out at national meteorological and hydrological services and research institutions. About 5,000 national experts contribute to the work of WMO constituent bodies.
The WMO contributes to the maintenance and further development of ground-based, marine, aircraft, balloon, and satellite observations globally as well as in the Arctic, where the observing network is still sparse. The WMO and its Members are developing Arctic weather, marine, and ice services to ensure safe operations in the region. In 2018, the WMO will carry out the year of Polar Prediction. The Arctic is also an interesting test laboratory of climate change including greenhouse gases, aerosols, snow/ice, and the impacts of Arctic changes on global weather and climate.
Why is Observer status an important component of the Arctic “profile” of the WMO?
As described above, the WMO has a lot to offer for the Arctic countries ranging from weather, climate, and ice monitoring systems to Arctic safety services and Arctic science. The WMO is supposed to serve its Members in various ways. Enhanced Arctic safety services, better observing and telecommunication systems and better understanding of future climate in the Arctic and its global impacts are important for WMO.
As you look ahead, what specific ways do you hope to contribute to the work of the Arctic Council?
The WMO works very much in partnerships with other organizations and national governments. The weather, climate and water expertise of WMO is supposed to be beneficial for several Arctic stakeholders. Those partnerships also help the WMO to fulfill its mandate.
(Thanks to Secretary-General Petteri Taalas of the WMO for providing the responses above.)
Resources and references (Click any link below)
Arctic Council backgrounder
Finnish Chairmanship information
Images for media use
The Arctic Council on Facebook
The Arctic Council on Twitter
The Arctic Council Working Groups: ACAP, AMAP, CAFF, EPPR, PAME and SDWG.