The World Meteorological Organization voted Thursday for Argentina’s Celeste Saulo to become its first woman leader and steer the WMO’s critical global role in tracking climate change.
Saulo, a WMO vice-president who has headed Argentina’s weather service since 2014, won a landslide vote at the UN climate and weather agency’s congress in Geneva.
The WMO’s role in climate change has become increasingly prominent and Saulo, 59, will likely become a well-known advocate on this pressing world issue.
“In these times when inequality and climate change are the greatest global threats, the WMO must contribute to strengthening the meteorological and hydrological services to protect populations and their economies, providing timely and effective services and early warning systems,” Saulo said following her election.
“My ambition is to lead the WMO towards a scenario in which the voice of all members is heard equally, prioritising those most vulnerable and in which the actions it undertakes are aligned with the needs and particularities of each one of them.”
She will take over from the outgoing secretary-general Petteri Taalas on January 1. The Finnish meteorologist is coming to the end of his maximum second four-year term.
The WMO brings together international efforts in monitoring greenhouse gases, sea levels, temperatures, glacier melting and other climate change indicators.
It relies on satellites and thousands of weather stations to measure key parameters of the atmosphere, land and ocean.