The United Nations launched today an information system to improve and expand the exchange of weather, climate and water data, which can be used for disaster risk reduction, water management, food security and health purposes. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Information System will facilitate access to meteorological observations and products, making it easy to share them with a wide variety of stakeholders. According to WMO, this will translate into free and more efficient climate services for various sectors including disaster risk reduction, which relies on this type of data for many of its operations. “The WMO Information System is the pillar of our strategy for managing and moving weather, climate and water information in the 21st century,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. “It will reduce the costs of information exchange incurred by national meteorological and hydrological services and maximize exploitation of advances in communications technology,” he said. The system will also cut the costs of data exchange and integrate information from national and global data centres, WMO said in a news release. Mr. Jarraud emphasized that the system will “allow users outside the meteorological community to have free access to this information for the first time.” The system builds on the Global Telecommunication System of WMO’s World Weather Watch, which has been the backbone of meteorological information exchange for the past 40 years and is used for daily weather observations and forecasts, tropical cyclone warnings and tsunami alerts, among other applications.