State of Climate Services 2021: WMO


    In News 

    • Recently, the World Meteorological Organization(WMO) released a report  State of Climate Services 2021.

    About State of Climate Services 2021 

    • It is a collaboration between the WMO, international organisations, development agencies and scientific institutions, estimates that the number of people with inadequate access to water will top 5 billion by 2050 versus 3.6 billion in 2018.
    • This 2021 edition of the WMO State of Climate Services report focuses on water, an issue that is of great significance to communities in every corner of the globe, and that affects every economic sector. 

    Major Findings 

    • In 2018, some 3.6 billion people globally had inadequate access to water for one month per year, which is expected to surpass five billion by 2050.
    • Terrestrial water storage (TWS) dropped at a rate of 1 cm per year in 20 years (2002-2021).
      • The biggest losses have occurred in Antarctica and Greenland. 
    • More than two billion people live in water-stressed conditions and lack access to safe drinking water and sanitation.
    •  Overall, water-related hazards have been increasing in frequency for the past two decades.
    • Flood-related disasters rose by 134 per cent when compared with the two previous decades. 
      • Most deaths and economic losses occurred in Asia, where warning systems require strengthening.  
    • The number and duration of droughts also increased by 29 per cent over the past two decades.  
      • Most deaths were in Africa, again indicating the need for stronger warning systems.


    [The red areas indicate a large water mass loss during the time. These areas are those worst affected by climate change and/or human activity, excluding Greenland and Antarctica, which are not included on the map, as their water mass loss trends are so great that they overshadow the other continental water mass trends]

    • Indian scenario
      • In India, per capita, water availability is reducing due to an increase in population. The average annual per capita water availability has been consistently decreasing. 
        • It reduced to 1,545 cubic metres in 2011, from 1,816 cubic metres in 2001.
      • India has recorded the highest loss in terrestrial water storage if the loss of water storage in Antarctica and Greenland is excluded. 
        • India is, therefore, the ‘topmost hotspot of TWS loss’. 

    Terrestrial water storage (TWS)

    • TWS is the sum of all water on the land surface and in the subsurface, i.e. surface water, soil moisture, snow and ice and groundwater. 

    Causes of pressure on water resources 

    • Water resources across the world are under tremendous pressure due to human and naturally-induced stressors. 
      • These include population growth, urbanisation and decreasing availability of freshwater.
    • Extreme weather events too have been responsible for the pressure on water resources realised across sectors and regions.


    • Increasing temperatures are resulting in global and regional precipitation changes, leading to shifts in rainfall patterns and agricultural seasons, with a major impact on food security and human health and well-being.
    • This past year has seen a continuation of extreme, water-related events. 
      • Across Asia, extreme rainfall caused massive flooding in Japan, China, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan and India. 
    • Millions of people were displaced, and hundreds were killed. But it is not just in the developing world that flooding has led to major disruption.
    •  Catastrophic flooding in Europe led to hundreds of deaths and widespread damage.


    •  Invest in Integrated Resources Water Management as a solution to better manage water stress, especially in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
    • Invest in end-to-end drought and flood early warning systems in at-risk LDCs, including drought warnings in Africa and flood warnings in Asia.
    • Fill the capacity gap in collecting data for basic hydrological variables which underpin climate services and early warning systems.
    • Improve the interaction among national-level stakeholders to co-develop and operationalize climate services with information users to better support adaptation in the water sector. 
      • There is also a pressing need for better monitoring and evaluation of socio-economic benefits, which will help to showcase best practices;
    • Fill the gaps in data on country capacities for climate services in the water sector, especially for SIDS.
    • Join the Water and Climate Coalition11 to promote policy development for integrated water and climate assessments, solutions and services, and benefit from a network of partners that develop and implement tangible, practical projects, programs and systems to improve hydroclimate services for resilience and adaptation.

    World Meteorological Organisation

    • It is an intergovernmental organization with a membership of 193 Member States and Territories. 
    • It was established by the ratification of the WMO Convention on 23 March 1950.
    • It originated from the International Meteorological Organization (IMO), the roots of which were planted at the 1873 Vienna International Meteorological Congress.
    • It is the specialised agency of the United Nations for meteorology (weather and climate), operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences a year later. 
    • The Secretariat, headquartered in Geneva, is headed by the Secretary-General. Its supreme body is the World Meteorological Congress.
    • The State of the Global Climate-World Meteorological Organization issued the first state of the climate report in 1993. 
      • The report was initiated due to the concerns raised at that time about projected climate change.