curiosity of the month header image - world meteorological day

World Meteorological Day

March’s Curiosity of the Month teaches us about World Meteorological Day!

Vocabulary to share with children:

(words are bolded throughout the post)

Atmosphere: The mass of air that surrounds the Earth.

Climate: The usual weather conditions in a particular place or region.

Developing countries: A poor, agricultural country that is seeking to become more advanced economically and socially.

Hydrology: The branch of science concerned with the properties of the earth’s water, and especially its movement in relation to land.

Meteorology: A science that deals with the atmosphere and weather.

Natural disasters: A sudden and terrible event in nature (such as a hurricane, tornado, or flood) that usually results in serious damage and many deaths.

Nobel Peace Prize: As one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Swedish industrialist, inventor, and armaments manufacturer Alfred Nobel. It is given annually to those who have “done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the promotion of peace world wide.

Precipitation: Water that falls to the ground as rain, snow, etc.

Renewable Source of Energy: Is any energy source that is naturally replenished, like that derived from solar, wind, geothermal or hydroelectric action.

United Nations: An international organization formed in 1945 to increase political and economic cooperation among its member countries.

Often we think about celebrating the return of spring in March, and of course St. Patrick’s Day. Some people in the US also get pretty excited about the NCAA college basketball tournament, nicknamed, “March Madness”. But have you ever celebrated World Meteorological Day? No? Never heard of it? Well then, settle in and get ready to learn all about this weather-tastic holiday and the organization behind it.

What is the World Meteorological Organization?

The World Meteorological Organization is a group of people from 191 countries and territories around the world who watch and study weather and climate in order to keep us all safe from natural disasters. This group is an agency of the United Nations, located at the international headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

What does the World Meteorological Organization do?

Specifically, the members of this group study Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, climate and water resources. They do research and training activities so they can tell people across the world how to stay safe during natural disasters and human-created disasters like nuclear accidents.

What is World Meteorological Day?

World Meteorological Day was started as a way to commemorate the founding of this organization. The WMO has been around since 1873, but this celebration began (and has been ongoing) since 1961.

In addition to special meetings and activities for members of the WMO, community leaders and people of the general public celebrate this day by attending conferences or exhibits related to the theme of the year. “Many countries issue postage stamps or special postage stamp cancellation marks to celebrate World Meteorological Day.” You could celebrate this day by learning something new about our weather and climate by watching a documentary or checking out a book from the library. You could also talk at school or home about the weather, natural disasters or climate change and the way they affect our planet.

What are some other cool facts about the World Meteorological Organization?

  • The WMO has been awarded by the Nobel Peace Prize!  In 2007 the organization was recognized with this award for their work within the topic of man-made climate change.
  • The WMO gives awards to scientists who are making big contributions to their area of study. One award is called the Research Award For Young Scientists. “The purpose of the WMO Research Awards is to encourage young scientists (under the age of 35), preferably from developing countries, who have written and published an article in a scientific journal on the topics of meteorology and hydrology. It has been awarded to young people from over twenty different countries, including Nick Dunstone from the United Kingdom for his paper in Nature Geoscience and Gabriella Szépszó from Hungary for her article about climate change models. Maybe one day this can be YOU!!
  • Each year the organization picks a theme. The theme of 2019 is: “The Sun, the Earth and the Weather”.

promotional image for world meteorological day

This year, members of the organization will work to learn more about the way the sun affects earth (including climate change), explore the sun’s ability to act as a renewable source of energy and much more. They even have a photo contest for brilliant images of the sun, in which winning photographs will be made into a calendar.

We’re Not Done Yet!

We think this is pretty interesting stuff! Our world has a lot to teach us about the science of weather and climate. There are many things we can do to help make the earth a cleaner and safer place to live. Sometimes learning is the first step. But we don’t have to stop here. Sure, we’ve nearly reached the end of the blog post, but if this topic is interesting you, head over to the WMO Youth website where you can learn more, find directions for weather experiments and even submit your own weather related stories and essays. Educators, there’s even a page for you on the site!  But wait! There’s more! Check out the below weather and climate related activities.


Watch this video (World Biomes: An Introduction to Climate, 5:50)  to learn about the ways precipitation, temperature, oceans and humans affect the climate of an area. Viewers will vicariously visit different extreme climates all around the world and listen as scientists explain the causes of each place’s climate. At the end, the video asks students to brainstorm ways they can make a positive impact on climate.


Visit this website for several hands-on learning activities prepared by the National Aeronautics and Space Association. Our personal favorites include the Ocean Ecosystem Dessert, the Rainsticks and Folklore activity and the t-shirt bags.


Sid the Science Kid is a preschool favorite! If you have little kiddos at home, this is the perfect place to start your weather and climate education. Sid’s episode 132: Sid’s Special Dad Day includes an extension activity that shows kids the power of the sun and sunscreen.


If you are ready to step into action, check out this list of suggestions from NatGeo for 13 Ways to Save the Earth from Climate Change.

So as you dig out your green t-shirt or don your favorite team apparel to watch basketball, remember to take time to learn about lesser known (but still important!) holidays like World Meteorological Day too. This celebration happens just once a year, but it gives us a chance to reflect on how important the climate and our decisions are year round!

Discussion or Journal Questions

  1. Write or talk about a memory. Do your best to describe the weather and climate of that time in great detail. If you are writing, use a thesaurus to help you come up with excellent, descriptive language and fun word choices. When you are finished, read your work to a partner as they close their eyes. Encourage them to imagine the scene you are describing.
  2. What is one action you could take that would make a positive effect on our world’s climate situation?
  3. Would you be interested in a career in the meteorology field? Why or why not?
  4. What is one new thing that you learned today? How will this new knowledge impact your thoughts, choices and actions?