World Meteorological Day - 23 March 2018
The International Meteorological Organization became the World Meteorological Organization on 23 March 1950. Maldives became a member of WMO on 1st June 1980. At present, there are 185 member states and 6 member territories under this organization. March 23rd is marked worldwide among its member countries as World Meteorological Day. “Weather-Ready, Climate-Smart” is the theme chosen for World Meteorological Day, 2018. Weather, climate, and water are vital to public well-being, health, and food security. But they can also be destructive. High-impact events like tropical cyclones, heavy rainfall, heatwaves, droughts, have taken lives and livelihoods throughout the ages. But today, climate change is leading to an increase in the intensity and frequency of some of these events.
It is no surprise that, for the second consecutive year, the environment was by far the greatest concern raised by global leaders in the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report. These included extreme weather; biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse; major natural disasters; man-made environmental disasters; and failure of climate-change mitigation and adaptation. Extreme weather events were seen as the single most prominent risk.
On a global perspective, 2017 was one of the three warmest years on record and was the warmest year without an El Niño. Long-term climate change as a result of greenhouse gas emissions commits our planet to a warmer future, with more extreme weather and water shocks. (WMO statement).
During 2017, the maximum temperature recorded over the Maldives was 33.9oC, the lowest temperature was 20.2oC, maximum wind speed recorded was 57 miles per hour and heaviest daily rainfall was 189 millimeters.
Past 4 years saw a rapid development in service and activities of Maldives Meteorological Service (MMS). Some of which include MMS organizational structure development to attract and retain highly qualified staff for this service. The aviation weather service of MMS acquired the ISO 9001:2015 certification which was recommended by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and WMO. Specialized staff trained to comply with WMO Qualification System (QS) requirement joined the Met service during this year. Airport weather information systems (AWIS) were installed in almost all of the national airports for monitoring near real-time weather information from the airports.
Doppler weather RADAR plays an important role in the early warning system. However, the RADAR which remained unserviceable since 2009 was brought back to operation now by the enormous contribution we received from the Government.
There is an ongoing project “to enhance weather and climate monitoring and data management capacity of MMS for reducing the vulnerability of climate change in the Maldives”. Under this project, the graphical weather presentation studio was upgraded to record at high definition (HD) quality. Additional 25 Automatic Weather System (AWS) will be installed in different islands and they are expected to be operational by July 2018. For an un-interrupted delivery of weather services, a backup power system would be installed soon. To comply with the latest scientific developments and to maximize the application of weather data and information, human resource development in related fields are one of the major ongoing components of this project.