World Meteorological Day takes place every year on 23 March to celebrate the founding of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1950. The theme of this year’s event is “Early Warning and Early Action,” and the day will spotlight the vital importance of hydrometeorological and climate information for disaster risk reduction.
Extreme weather and climate events are occurring more frequently across the world as a result of climate change, leaving us more exposed to the hazards that come with these conditions. Evidence of observed changes in extremes such as heatwaves, heavy precipitation, droughts and tropical cyclones has strengthened in recent years, as has their attribution to human influence. You can read more on this in our recent blog post.
As a world leader in weather and climate science, the Met Office delivers products and services in the UK and countries across the globe, including supporting the general public, government and local authorities through its weather forecasts. However, straightforward weather forecasts are not always enough to enable people to take informed action. Experts, including the WMO, are calling for more impact-based forecasting to highlight what the weather will do and the impacts that this could have, with early warning systems being crucial to save lives and livelihoods.
The WMO are calling for greater coordination between national meteorological and hydrological services, disaster management authorities and development agencies, which is fundamental to better prevention, preparedness and response. Within the next five years, everyone on earth should be protected by early warning systems against increasingly extreme weather and climate change, according to an ambitious new United Nations target announced today.
Early warning systems for detecting dangerous weather are only useful if they are met with early action, which has become more important than ever as the world has seen the number of extreme climate events intensify.
Will Lang, Head of the Met Office’s National Severe Weather Warning Service says, “here in the UK, our warnings consider both the potential for severe weather and its impact on people, properties and our infrastructure. We can then suggest the most effective actions for people to take to look after themselves, their families and their communities. Tragically, major storms such as those we experienced earlier this year can lead to fatalities and widespread damage, but these impacts can be reduced through early warning and early action.”