March 23 – World Meteorological Day
March 23 is annually celebrated as the United Nations’ (UN) World Meteorological Day. On this very day, World Meteorological Organization (WMO) was established in 1950. World Meteorological Organization has its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. There is long history of the International Meteorological Organization. First International Meteorological Congress (IMC) was held in Vienna, Austria, in 1873 and that’s where International Meteorological Organization (IMO) was established. IMO became the World Meteorological Organization on March 23, 1950. WMO is the designated agency of UN for meteorology, operational hydrology and related geophysical science. The primary aim of the organization is to establish meteorological station networks which were linked by telegraph later on. It was a huge step in meteorology as it resulted in improved weather forecasts which further helped in safe and secure international trade as shipping companies could get right weather instructions.
World Meteorological Day is celebrated on March 23 since 1961. Every year, there is a different theme observed on WMO. For instance, last year it was, “Weather, climate and the air we breathe” whereas in 2008, the theme was “Observing our planet for a better future” celebrated by 188 members of the WMO, the day aims to promote global cooperation in the establishment of metrological observation stations. Many different activities and events are organized on this occasion.
Various events like conferences, symposia and exhibitions for meteorological professionals and general public are conducted. Prize ceremony is also organized and awards are given to those who have made notable contribution in this field. Some countries issue special postage stamps to celebrate the day. WMO is a global observance. Campaigns are held to inform public about climatic variability and change, to understand the impact of meteorology on environment and how to address environmental issues. The day aims to bring the focus on meteorology department and how to promote research and training in this field.