Weather affects virtually every person on the planet, every day of the year. Consequently information on past, present and future weather conditions plays an important part in planning our daily lives. Although the provision of weather and climate information to the community at large has long been one of the main responsibilities of the National Meteorological Services (NMHSs) of the now 188 Member States and Territories of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), it is only during the past decade that most NMHSs have begun to focus their efforts on the provision of the highest possible quality public weather services (PWS) to their national communities. This dramatic increase in concern with the scope, quality and utility of weather and climate information for use by society at large was, to some extent, responsible for, and has in turn been reinforced by, the establishment of the WMO Public Weather Services Programme (PWSP) in 1991. But it has also presented a major challenge to the NMHSs of both the developing and the developed countries as they strive to make the best use of the remarkable advances taking place in the science, technology and public policy for weather service provision. The purpose of the WMO PWSP is to help ensure that every country is enabled to draw on all the relevant knowledge and expertise within the WMO system to build its capacity to provide the best possible PWS to its national communities.
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