World Meteorological Day: early warning and early action – World

Weather, climate and water extremes are becoming more frequent and intense due to climate change. More people than ever are exposed to multiple hazards.

Weather forecasts are no longer enough. Forecasts based on the impact of the weather and what people should do are essential to saving lives and livelihoods.

Yet one in three people is still not sufficiently covered by early warning systems. And, too often, the warnings don’t reach those who need them most.

The theme of World Meteorological Day on March 23, 2022 is Early Warning and Early Action., and highlights the vital importance of hydro-meteorological and climate information for disaster risk reduction.

Major new initiative

In a video address to the World Meteorological Day ceremony, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is set to announce a major new initiative on early warnings that are essential for climate change adaptation.

WMO Secretary-General Professor Petteri Taalas, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction Mami Mizutori and Selwin Hart, Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General for Climate Action , will moderate high-level roundtables on progress, opportunities and challenges in early warning and early action. Ambassadors from the UK and Egypt will also attend in their capacity as Chairs of the UN Climate Change Conferences COP26 and COP26. The ceremony will be broadcast live on Zoom and the WMO Youtube channel and will start at 13:00 GMT.

“Climate change is already very visible through more extreme weather patterns in all parts of the world. We are seeing more intense heat waves, droughts and wildfires. atmosphere, leading to extreme rainfall and deadly flooding. Warming oceans are fueling more powerful tropical storms and rising sea levels are increasing the impacts,” said WMO Secretary-General, Professor Petteri Taalas, in a message to WMO members and the public.

“We expect this negative trend to continue. Early warning systems are an effective and proven adaptation measure that saves lives and livelihoods.”

why is it important

A WMO report on disaster statistics over the past 50 years showed that more than 11,000 disasters were related to weather, climate and water hazards between 1970 and 2019, almost the equivalent of one disaster per day. . There were 2 million deaths, or 115 a day.

The number of disasters has quintupled over the past 50 years. And the economic cost has skyrocketed. This trend should continue.

However, the number of casualties dropped dramatically – almost tripled – thanks to better weather forecasts and more coordinated disaster management planning.

Supercomputers and satellite technology have enabled enormous advances in our forecasting capability and the emergence of user-friendly services, backed by decades of research.

There is stronger international, regional and national coordination, with active community mobilization.

But there is still a lot to do. There are large gaps in meteorological observations, especially in least developed countries and small island developing States. These gaps pose a risk to the accuracy of early warnings locally and globally.

This is why WMO is leading initiatives to strengthen early warnings, improve observations and build resilience.

Early warnings in a warming world

Early warnings are an essential part of adapting to climate change.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the occurrence of extreme events is unprecedented in the observed record and will increase with global warming.

The world will face multiple unavoidable climatic hazards over the next two decades with global warming of 1.5°C (2.7°F) above the pre-industrial era. Even a temporary exceedance of this level of warming will result in severe additional impacts, some of which will be irreversible. According to the IPCC report on Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability (Working Group II), risks to society will increase, including for low-lying coastal infrastructure and settlements.

Extreme weather events occur simultaneously, causing cascading impacts that are increasingly difficult to manage.

Extreme heat has become more frequent and intense since the 1950s. All regions are affected.

The proportion of intense tropical cyclones (categories 4-5) is expected to increase with greater global warming.

The frequency and intensity of heavy rainfall has increased since the 1950s and is expected to continue. The area affected by more frequent and severe droughts, a notorious slow-onset disaster, is also expected to increase.


World Meteorological Day commemorates the entry into force on March 23, 1950 of the Convention establishing the World Meteorological Organization. It highlights the essential contribution of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services to the safety and well-being of society.

***World Meteorological Day digital resources, visuals and speeches are available***here

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