WORLD METEOROLOGICAL DAY: MARCH 23, 2016

World Meteorological Day

The United Nations’ (UN) World Meteorological Day is annually held on or around March 23 to remember the World Meteorological Organization’s establishment on that date in 1950. Many different activities and events are organized for this occasion.

Weather equipment
Weather stations help pass information about weather forecasts and temperatures.
©iStockphoto.com/Saso Novoselic

What Do People Do?

World Meteorological Day often features various events such as conferences, symposia and exhibitions for meteorological professionals, community leaders and the general public. Some events aim to attract media attention to raise meteorology’s profile.

Many prizes for meteorological research are presented or announced on or close to World Meteorological Day. These prizes include:

  • The International Meteorological Organization Prize.
  • Professor Dr. Vilho Väisälä Award.
  • The Norbert Gerbier-Mumm International Award.

Many countries issue postage stamps or special postage stamp cancellation marks to celebrate World Meteorological Day. These stamps often reflect the event’s theme or mark a country’s meteorology achievements.

Public Life

World Meteorological Day is a global observance and not a public holiday.

Background

The International Meteorological Organization was established at the first International Meteorological Congress in Vienna, Austria, in 1873. The organization aimed to establish meteorological station networks. These networks were linked by telegraph and improved weather forecasts. This contributed to shipping services’ safety and efficiency.

The International Meteorological Organization became the World Meteorological Organization on March 23, 1950. It became the UN’s specialized agency for meteorology, operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences in 1951.

The World Meteorological Organization plays a crucial role in contributing to people’s safety and welfare. Its work is important in providing food security, water resources and transport. World Meteorological Day has been observed on March 23 each year since 1961.

Themes

Recent themes of World Meteorological Day have been:

  • Weather, climate and the air we breathe (2009).
  • Observing our planet for a better future (2008).
  • Polar meteorology: Understanding global impacts (2007).
  • Preventing and mitigating natural disasters (2006).
  • Weather, climate, water and sustainable development (2005).
  • Weather, climate, water in the information age (2004).
  • Our future climate (2003).

A new theme is allocated to each different year for World Meteorological Day.

World Meteorological Day Observances

 

Weekday Date Year Name Holiday Type Where it is Observed
Tue Mar 23 2010 World Meteorological Day United Nations observance
Wed Mar 23 2011 World Meteorological Day United Nations observance
Fri Mar 23 2012 World Meteorological Day United Nations observance
Sat Mar 23 2013 World Meteorological Day United Nations observance
Sun Mar 23 2014 World Meteorological Day United Nations observance
Mon Mar 23 2015 World Meteorological Day United Nations observance
Wed Mar 23 2016 World Meteorological Day United Nations observance
Thu Mar 23 2017 World Meteorological Day United Nations observance
Fri Mar 23 2018 World Meteorological Day United Nations observance
Sat Mar 23 2019 World Meteorological Day United Nations observance
Mon Mar 23 2020 World Meteorological Day United Nations observance

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