International Meteorological Organization
The International Meteorological Organization (1873–1953) was the first organization formed with the purpose of exchanging weather information among the countries of the world. It was born from the realization that weather systems move across country boundaries and knowledge of pressure, temperature, precipitations, etc. upstream and downstream is needed for weather forecasting
Weather forecasting
Weather forecasting is the application of science and technology to predict the state of the atmosphere for a given location. Human beings have attempted to predict the weather informally for millennia, and formally since the nineteenth century...



Although there had been significant developments in meteorology
Meteorology is the interdisciplinary scientific study of the atmosphere. Studies in the field stretch back millennia, though significant progress in meteorology did not occur until the 18th century. The 19th century saw breakthroughs occur after observing networks developed across several countries...

 in the 18th century, Matthew Fontaine Maury
Matthew Fontaine Maury
Matthew Fontaine Maury , United States Navy was an American astronomer, historian, oceanographer, meteorologist, cartographer, author, geologist, and educator....

, of the US Navy, instigated the convening of the first true International Meteorological comference from late August through early September 1853. The Conference opened its proceedings at Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

, Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 on the 23d August 1853, in the residence of M. Piercot, the Minister of the Interior. The Governments represented at the first International Conference, and the names of the officers who attended were :
  • Adolphe Quetelet
    Adolphe Quetelet
    Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet was a Belgian astronomer, mathematician, statistician and sociologist. He founded and directed the Brussels Observatory and was influential in introducing statistical methods to the social sciences...

    , director of the Royal Observatory of Belgium and general secretary of the Academie royale des sciences, des lettres et des beaux-arts with Victor Lahure, navy captain and general director of the Navy, represented Belgium
    Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

  • P. Rothe, navy captain and director of the depot of marine charts represented Denmark
    Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

  • A. De la Marche, hydrographic engineer for the imperial navy represented France
    The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

  • Frederick William Beechey
    Frederick William Beechey
    Frederick William Beechey was an English naval officer and geographer. He was the son of Sir William Beechey, RA., and was born in London.-Career:...

    , captain Royal Navy
    Royal Navy
    The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

     and member of the Naval Department or the Board of Trade with Henry James, captain royal engineers represented the United Kingdom
    United Kingdom
    The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

  • Marin H. Jansen, lieutenant of the Royal navy represented the Netherlands
    The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

  • Nils Ihlen, lieutenant of the royal navy represented Norway
    Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

  • J. De Mattos Corroêa, captain-lieutenant of the Royal navy represented Portugal
    Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

  • Alexis Gorkovenko, captain-lieutenant the Imperial navy represented Russia
    Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

  • Carl Anton Pettersson, first lieutenant royal navy represented Sweden
    Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

  • Matthew Fontaine Maury
    Matthew Fontaine Maury
    Matthew Fontaine Maury , United States Navy was an American astronomer, historian, oceanographer, meteorologist, cartographer, author, geologist, and educator....

    , lieutenant of the Navy
    United States Navy
    The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

     represented the United States
    United States
    The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...


Maury's initiative was followed by an International Meteorological Congress in Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

, Austria, in September 1873 which agreed to prepare for an International Meteorological Organization (IMO). The members of that Organization would be the directors of national meteorological services. A Permanent Meteorological Committee was established with Buys Ballot, director of the Dutch meteorological service as president.

A second congress in Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 1879 decided on the IMO establishment and elected an International Meteorological Committee to prepare for the next Conference of Directors. There was however no separate funding. Also the directors agreed on a collaborative resaerch effort with the International Polar Year
International Polar Year
The International Polar Year is a collaborative, international effort researching the polar regions. Karl Weyprecht, an Austro-Hungarian naval officer, motivated the endeavor, but died before it first occurred in 1882-1883. Fifty years later a second IPY occurred...

 1882-1883. The first International Meteorological Tables were published in 1889.

The 1891 Conference of Directors of Meteorological Services convened in Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

. The organization was further refined by electing an Executive Bureau and deciding upon the first permanent topic Commission, the Commission for Terrestrial Magnetism.

The 1896 Conference of Directors in Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 established more Commissions: The Commission for radiation and insolation, and the Commission for Aeronautics. The same year IMO published the first International Cloud Atlas
International Cloud Atlas
International Cloud Atlas is a cloud atlas first published in 1896 and remaining in print since then. Its initial purposes included to aid in the training of meteorologists and to promote more consistent use of vocabulary describing clouds, both important for early weather forecasting...


In 1905 the Conference of Directors convened in Innsbruck
- Main sights :- Buildings :*Golden Roof*Kaiserliche Hofburg *Hofkirche with the cenotaph of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor*Altes Landhaus...

. Léon Teisserenc de Bort
Léon Teisserenc de Bort
Léon Philippe Teisserenc de Bort was a French meteorologist who became famous for his discovery of the stratosphere...

 proposed a telegraph-based worldwide weather station network, the Réseau Mondial. Simplifying Teisserenc de Bort’s vision, the IMO decided that the network should collect, calculate, and distribute monthly and annual averages for pressure, temperature, and precipitation from a well-distributed sample of land based meteorological stations, in effect a global climatological database. The distribution
standard was two stations within each ten-degree latitude/longitude quadrangle. Ultimately, the network comprised about 500 land stations between 80°N and 61°S. The first annual data set, for 1911, appeared in 1917.

Between the two world wars there was four further Conferences of Directors, 1919 in Paris, 1923 in Utrecht, 1929 in Copenhagen and 1935 in Warsaw. The IMO did not acquire a permanent secretariat until 1926, and the latter’s annual budget never exceeded USD 20,000

The 1946 Conference of Directors acknowledged the need for an organisation supported by governments. Preparations continued with conferences in 1947 in Washington DC and 1961 in Paris. In 1953, the United nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 created the World Meteorological Organization
World Meteorological Organization
The World Meteorological Organization is an intergovernmental organization with a membership of 189 Member States and Territories. It originated from the International Meteorological Organization , which was founded in 1873...

 in direct succession of the IMO. The members of the WMO are representatives of their respective countries, not their weather services.


  • Christophorus Henricus Didericus Buys Ballot (Netherlands), 1873 - 1879
  • Heinrich von Wild
    Heinrich von Wild
    Heinrich von Wild or Heinrich Wild I was a Swiss meteorologist and physicist. He was born December 17, 1833, at Uster, , and was educated at Zurich, Königsberg, and Heidelberg. In 1858 he was appointed professor of physics and director of the observatory at Bern...

     (Russia), 1879 - 1896
  • Éleuthère Mascart
    Éleuthère Mascart
    Éleuthère Élie Nicolas Mascart was a noted French physicist, a researcher in optics and electricity.Mascart was born in Quarouble, Nord. He attended the École normale supérieure...

     (France), 1896 - 1907
  • William Napier Shaw
    Napier Shaw
    Sir William Napier Shaw FRS, , was a British meteorologist. He introduced the air pressure unit millibar, as well as the tephigram, a diagram of temperature changes....

     (U.K.), 1907 - 1923
  • Ewoud van Everdingen (Netherlands), 1923 - 1935
  • Theodor Hesselberg (Norway), 1935 - 1946
  • Sir Nelson King Johnson (U.K.), 1946 - 1951


  • WikiSource : The First International Maritime Conference Held at Brussels in 1853 for Devising An Uniform System of Meteorological Observations at Sea -- August and September -- Official Report
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