A Canadian was elected President of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) today during the Sixteenth World Meteorological Congress being held in Geneva.
David Grimes, the head of Environment Canada’s Meteorological Service, was elected by representatives of the 189 member states and territories of WMO, a United Nations Specialized Agency. Grimes succeeds Dr. Alexander Bedritskiy of the Russian Federation, who has held the post since 2003.
“The election of David Grimes as WMO president is a great honour for Canada,” said Canada’s Environment Minister Peter Kent. “It is a recognition of the professionalism and integrity of Mr. Grimes. Canada’s meteorological service is world class, and we appreciate the show of confidence from the international community for Canada’s expertise in weather, water and climate science,” added Minister Kent.
The president-elect assumes his new position June 6.
“I am honoured to have been elected by my colleagues,” said Grimes. “It will be a privilege to serve the international meteorological and hydrological communities in this capacity, particularly starting this year as Canada’s meteorological service celebrates 140 years of service”.
The president’s term is for four years. The president leads sessions of WMO bodies, and helps shape the world’s agenda for research and services related to weather, climate and water. The president builds consensus among nations on our collective investments in Earth observations, research and services in an international enterprise that brings together national assets such as satellites, ships, high performance computers and, of course, people.
David Grimes, a career meteorologist who studied mathematics, nuclear and quantum physics at Brock University in Ontario, has been Assistant Deputy Minister and head of Environment Canada’s Meteorological Service since July 2006. He has been Canada’s Permanent Representative to the WMO since December 2006.
As a Member of WMO, Environment Canada participates in a wide array of international initiatives related to weather, climate and water. Some specific examples where Canada has led international cooperative efforts are:
· helping to rebuild the forecasting capacity of Haiti’s National Meteorological Service following the devastating earthquake in that country
· conducting volcanic ash monitoring and air quality sampling during the volcanic eruption in Iceland
· collaborating with weather forecasters on best practices for the next winter Olympics in Sochi (2014)