The Ocean

The ocean is a major driver of the world’s weather and climate covering some 70% of the Earth’s surface

© WMO/Will Eades

Over the past decades, our ocean has absorbed more than 90% of the excess heat in the climate system and between 20-30% of CO2 which produces acidification affecting marine life resources. It also plays a central role in climate change. The ocean is also a major driver of the global economy, carrying more than 90% of world trade and sustaining the 40% of humanity that lives within 100km of the coast. The ocean is vulnerable and impacted by our actions.

Recognizing this, National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) and researchers regularly monitor the ocean and how it is changing, modelling how it affects the atmosphere and delivering a wide variety of marine services, including supporting coastal management and Safety of Life at Sea. Today, the growing impacts of climate change are making ocean observations, research and services more critical than ever before. 


© WMO/Emily Baker

For thousands of years, weather hazards resulted in lives and goods being lost at sea. But in 1850, countries started to share weather information which helped mariners to avoid these hazards.

This is how in 1873, the International Meteorological Organization was created, the predecessor of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

WMO has the role in advancing ocean science, research, services, training and capacity development to prepare for the weather and climate hazards on land and sea. The ocean information helps to guide decisions in many areas of life. 

© WMO/Maximilian Ziegler

Share value information about the important role of the ocean with friends and family.

Be aware of the impact of climate change in the ocean.

Learn about the role of your National Meteorological and Hydrological Service related to oceans to help them to act.

Watch the following awareness videos on Ocean Buoys and Coastal Inundations

© WMO/Seongcheol Gwon

About 40% of the global population live within 100km of the coast. Sea level rise is increasing vulnerability to hazards like storm surge.

Up to 90% of world trade is transported by sea. Marine services and forecasts are needed for safety and efficiency.

The ocean absorbs about 90% of excess heat trapped by greenhouse gases and is being hit hard by climate change.

The ocean acts as the Earth's thermostat and conveyor belt and drives our weather and climate.