World Meteorological Organisation moves regional office from Geneva to Singapore

SINGAPORE - The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) opened its regional office in Singapore on Monday (Aug 21).

The regional office for Asia and the South-West Pacific will help address climate-related challenges such as the haze.

Its work will cover 58 countries from the Middle East to the Pacific Islands, and it will help implement WMO initiatives such as disaster early-warning services.

The office, which is relocating from Geneva, Switzerland, will be at the same location as the Centre for Climate Research Singapore in Kim Chuan Road. The centre is a unit of the Meteorological Service Singapore.

Singapore was chosen for its central location, strong regional connectivity, and modern IT infrastructure, the National Environment Agency said in a statement on Monday.

The WMO is a United Nations agency for weather and the climate. It offers free, unrestricted and real-time exchange of weather information across borders.

Its presence in the region is expected to benefit the weather-sensitive aviation sector as it can help synchronise weather warnings for planes flying in different flight information regions.

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli, in his opening address, said: "The South-east Asian region is highly vulnerable to rising sea levels, heavy floods and droughts. For the aviation sector, in particular, fluctuating climate extremes overlaid with... dynamic tropical weather patterns in our region can be hazardous to flights and air travel if we are not prepared."

WMO secretary-general Petteri Taalas also attended the event.