International cooperation is the cornerstone of meteorological work
One of the three main objectives of the new strategy at the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) is to play a leading role in international cooperation in our field. In practice, this means aspiring to take on leading roles in sectoral organisations, investing significantly in helping developing countries, and maintaining a strong position in the international scientific community. We strive to secure key roles in areas such as EU-funded science projects and the day-to-day joint production of Nordic weather forecasts.
International cooperation in the meteorology sector has a long history. The International Meteorological Organization (IMO) was established in 1873 to promote the exchange of meteorological observations between countries. In 1950, the IMO came under the UN and was renamed the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
Over the nearly 150 years of the organisation’s existence, we have successfully constructed a well developed model for meteorological cooperation with all the countries of the world, and this model has served to encourage other similar forms of cooperation and to highlight the importance of international cooperation for human development.
Cooperation requires and promotes trust and operational reliability.
Cooperation requires and promotes trust and operational reliability. A concrete example of this is the cooperation between the Finnish and Swedish meteorological institutes: we have been working together for several years to provide air traffic weather services and ice maps for the Baltic Sea region.
Finnish expertise supporting developing countries
Finland has played a major role in promoting weather services and climate-resistant development in developing countries. Over the past 50 years, FMI has carried out development projects in more than 100 countries. These projects often involve modernising the weather and warning services of the recipient country. In several projects, observation equipment has been provided by Vaisala Oy, the world’s leading manufacturer of meteorological monitoring equipment, while FMI has upgraded the country’s weather forecasting process and related infrastructure and also trained local personnel.
The aim of the projects is to prevent the human and economic damage caused by weather conditions, promote climate change mitigation and adaptation, and improve conditions for food production. Within this area, there are significant and rapidly growing opportunities for export companies.
Internationality is the norm at FMI
Our own work community is very international: we currently have employees from a total of 29 different countries working here in Finland. There is ongoing, close interaction with sister institutions in other countries and with international organisations and the international research community.
International activities provide interesting career paths and job profiles for our meteorological experts. We are actively involved in international research groups that seek to produce new knowledge and solve research questions related to the atmosphere, the oceans, and near-Earth space. We have employees working all around the world, either to export our expertise to developing countries or on expert assignments with meteorological bodies.
Why do we seek to maintain a leading position? Above all, we want to be involved in building and strengthening good international cooperation in our field and in solving the great challenges faced by humanity. Weather and climate conditions never remain within a single country: the better we share information across national borders, the better we will be able to produce knowledge that supports a safer future – so that no-one will be caught out by the weather.
The author is the Director General of the Finnish Meteorological Institute