Daily News Analysis

World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Atlas          

4th September, 2021 Environment


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  • The number of disasters, such as floods and heatwaves, driven by climate change have increased fivefold over the past 50 years, killing more than 2 million people and costing $3.64 trillion in total losses, a UN agency said.


Key findings:

  • The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) “Atlas” is the most comprehensive review of mortality and economic losses from weather, water and climate extremes ever produced.
  • It surveys some 11,000 disasters occurring between 1979-2019, including major catastrophes such as Ethiopia’s 1983 drought, and Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
  • The WMO attributed the growing frequency to both climate change and improved disaster reporting.
  • More than 91% of the 2 million deaths occurred in developing countries, the report said, noting that only half of the WMO’s 193 members have multi-hazard early warning systems.
  • It also said that “severe gaps” in weather observations, especially in Africa, were undermining the accuracy of early warning systems.


About WMO:

  • The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is an intergovernmental organization with a membership of 193 Member States and Territories.
  • It originated from the International Meteorological Organization (IMO), the roots of which were planted at the 1873 Vienna International Meteorological Congress.
  • Established by the ratification of the WMO Convention on 23 March 1950, WMO became the specialised agency of the United Nations for meteorology (weather and climate), operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences a year later.
  • The Secretariat, headquartered in Geneva, is headed by the Secretary-General.
  • Its supreme body is the World Meteorological Congress.