The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is an intergovernmental organization with a membership of 187 Member States and Territories. It originated from the International Meteorological Organization (IMO), which was founded in 1873. Established in 1950, WMO became the specialized agency of the United Nations for meteorology (weather and climate), operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences. It has its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The current president is Alexander Bedritsky, elected by the 14th World Meteorological Congress held in 2003.
The organization's aims are:
- To facilitate worldwide cooperation in the establishment of networks of stations for making meteorological observations as well as hydrological and other geophysical observations related to meteorology, and to promote the establishment and maintenance of centers charged with the provision of meteorological and related services;
- To promote the establishment and maintenance of systems for the rapid exchange of meteorological and related information;
- To promote standardization of meteorological and related observations and to ensure the uniform publication of observations and statistics;
- To further the application of meteorology to aviation, shipping, water problems, agriculture and other human activities;
- To promote activities in operational hydrology and to further close co-operation between Meteorological and hydrological Services;
- To encourage research and training in meteorology and, as appropriate, in related fields, and to assist in coordinating the international aspects of such research and training.
The WMO Member countries have a Commission for Basic Systems (CBS) meeting every two years, in which new code recommendated changes, telecommunication protocol recommendations, and Abbreviated Heading Table updates are approved. After approval these changes are entered into the WMO codes manual 306 and 386. The last meeting of CBS was held in Geneva, Switzerland.
The WMO helped create the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
In June 2003, an accountant discovered that $400,000 of the organization's money was being diverted to an unknown third party. Swiss authorities investigated the situation to discover that $3 million were stolen by Muhammad Hassan. Hassan, a Sudanese employer, had disappeared and when Swiss officials continued to investigate, a woman delivered to them a fake death certificate. Although, Hassan has not been located Swiss authorities have determined that Hassan left Switzerland after emptying his bank accounts. Authorities are also investigating officials in meteorological offices for mismanaging the organization and receiving some of the money diverted from the organization. (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/09/international/europe/09fraud.html?ei=5065&en=b5fda9fd3095d263&ex=1108616400&partner=MYWAY&pagewanted=print&position=) The United Nations also realized that the organization had no code of ethics.
- World Meteorological Organization (http://www.wmo.int/index-en.html)
- Founding charter (http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/decade/decad055.htm)