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World Oceans Day celebrates 20 years of international cooperation in oceanography and marine meteorology

Date: 18 June 2020

Joining forces is key to finding and sustaining impactful global solutions for ocean and climate science. Celebrating their 20-year partnership, the two United Nations bodies released on 8 June a history of the Joint WMO-IOC Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology (JCOMM) and the origins of marine work at WMO, written by former JCOMM Co-President, Peter Dexter, in celebration of World Oceans Day as well as of two memorable institutional dates: WMO’s 70th and IOC’s 60th Anniversaries.

As JCOMM has just been retired as a collaborative mechanism in a governance reform, the history highlights the value of WMO-IOC co-sponsored programmes working in frontier research and science:

  • The World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) covers the whole climate system, including the oceans, focused on topics such as regional sea level variations and coastal impacts, the ocean’s contribution to the world’s energy, heat, water and carbon budgets and the interactions between the physical climate and ecosystems.
  • The Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) and the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) contribute to continuous monitoring of the state of the ocean and provide data crucial to informing weather and climate predictions.

Within GOOS, the Argo Programme - with almost 4,000 subsurface floats in the ocean at present – has been an extremely successful international scientific innovation and cooperation programme over the past two decades and has been critical to expanding our understanding of the ocean and climate. The Argo Programme is supported by a legacy of JCOMM: a Joint WMO-IOC Centre for in situ Ocean and Marine Meteorological Observing Programme support (JCOMMOPS).

The long history of partnership between WMO and UNESCO’s IOC was further cemented via a newly established Joint Collaborative Board in 2019. In a welcome recent development for the WMO, IOC and IMO, the global shipping company A.P Moller - Maersk committed its entire fleet of 300 vessels to contribute marine meteorological data in support of climate and weather forecasts under the WMO-IOC Voluntary Observing Ship (VOS) Scheme.


Read in full: The Establishment of the Joint WMO/IOC Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology: A Personal History

Find out more about the United Nations World Oceans Day:


For more information, please contact:

Albert Fischer, Head of Ocean Observations and Services ( sends e-mail))