The United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization (WMO) provides the framework for international cooperation on weather issues that know no political boundaries. This year’s theme for the event is “Understanding Clouds,” and their website has many resources on how to identify different types of clouds and their importance. They also have a flickr page with some incredible photos featuring clouds.
The WMO has a mandate to focus on weather, climate, and water, which includes their focus areas of energy, environment, natural hazards and disaster risk reduction, oceans, polar and high-mountain regions, public health, and urban development – megacities. They supply policy documents and standards, technical regulations, and guides for the international community, as well as Meteoterm, a thesaurus of specialized terminology for the international meteorological community.
Additionally, the WMO offers education and training to the global community to meet education needs and professional development, especially for those members that do not have access to those services. Those education and training resources focus on meteorology, weather forecasting, and climate and climate prediction, but also agriculture, aviation, environment, hydrology, information and communication technology, and cross-cutting areas.
In the United States, several agencies from different departments contribute to our knowledge and research on weather, meteorology, and the environment:
- the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from the U.S. Department of Commerce runs the National Weather Service;
- the National Park Service under the U.S. Department of the Interior monitors air quality and ozone and meteorology;
- the U.S. Geological Survey, also a part of the U.S. Department of the Interior, provides information on current conditions, natural hazards, and the impacts on health of climate and the environment;
- the U.S. Department of Agriculture has a Disaster Resource Center and resources on climate solutions; and
- the Environmental Protection Agency studies and teaches about the environment as well as develops and enforces regulations to implement environmental laws passed by Congress.
In commemoration of World Meteorological Day, I found many Law Library of Congress resources that mention weather and meteorology, including the focus areas of the WMO:
- In the Global Legal Monitor, Sayuri has covered active volcanoes in Japan, Wendy discussed a border agreement with meteorological implications in China and Vietnam, Connie reviewed the transition of state-owned enterprises to semi-private corporations in several fields including meteorology and air traffic control in Vietnam and Indonesia, and Connie also discussed the ratification of the ASEAN Regional Haze Agreement by Indonesia.
- The Global Legal Research Directorate has also tackled the focus areas from the WMO with reports like Legislation on Use of Water in Agriculture, Japan: Legal Response to the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, Legal Responses to Health Emergencies, and New Zealand: ‘Climate Change Refugee’ Case Overview.
- In Custodia Legis has focused on weather with former Law Librarian David Mao’s blog post on severe weather shelters in Minnesota and I previously wrote about the United Nations International Day of Human Space Flight, which would not be possible but for advances in meteorology.
- The Inside Adams blog has a great post on resources for science teachers and a post about a House Science Committee briefing related to weather. And the Library of Congress blog discussed the weather as an omen at Lincoln’s second inauguration.
- A search through the Statutes at Large found 411 references to “weather” or “meteorology.” Many of statutes include appropriations. There is an act to transfer the Weather Service to the Department of Agriculture and acts to establish storm-warning stations in Lake Michigan and weather bureau stations in Lake Huron.
- In the United States Treaties and International Agreements from 1776-1949, my search found 22 treaties with references to “weather” or “meteorology” concerning international cooperation on meteorology and weather. The World Meteorological Organization, meteorological program cooperation with the Philippines, North Atlantic Ocean weather stations, and weather stations cooperation with Mexico are just some examples.
- Finally, the Federal Register has thousands of results with “weather” or “meteorology.” Because there are so many, you can use the facets on the left-hand side of the page to narrow down your results. The downloads are large, but you can search the file to direct you to the words you are looking for.
Celebrate today by contemplating the weather and looking at the clouds!