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Become a WMO Hydrology Expert

Who can become a WMO hydrology expert?

Anyone with expertise in relevant domains and disciplines and the motivation to contribute to the enhancement of operational hydrology at  international level. Although an effort is made to conduct work in the working languages of WMO, it is undeniably an advantage to have a basic understanding of English.

From the perspective of the hydrological community, experts from the National Hydrological Services all around the World are urgently needed. A good geographical coverage helps to reflect the needs of regions subject to different climate conditions and hydrometeorological hazards, of countries and Hydrological Services of different levels of development, and to address varying gaps and challenges for operational hydrology. In this regard, experts are not expected to deliver only state of the art solutions, but also to bring real-world problems to the fore and ask the right questions.

Do not hesitate to become an expert, even if you feel your institution is not among the most advanced in the world, we can still learn a lot from your everyday experience. We are actually looking for experts that can highlight day-to-day problems in operational hydrology, and who are willing to share their problem-solving experiences in different hydroclimatic, linguistic and socio-economic conditions.

WMO is open also to experts from outside National Hydrological Services, who work on fields and topics relevant to operational hydrology, including measurement and observation technology, innovation, research, forecasting, modelling, service delivery, water management, disaster risk management, dam and reservoir operation, water quality monitoring and modeling, etc.

Field visit in RA I with WMO experts

Field visit in RA I with WMO experts

Needs assessment in RA IV

Needs assessment in RA IV

Why becoming an expert at WMO?

By becoming a WMO expert, you become a member of the global hydrological community. It increases your international recognition, but more importantly, you learn a lot from others, which might help you to enhance your national activities and processes. Moreover, it increases the international recognition of your own organization. By sharing your experience, you are also helping to improve operational hydrology practices literally somewhere on the other side of our planet.

You will also enjoy the fun of team work with nice and skilled people of various nationalities and backgrounds. 

WMO HydroConference 2018: 215 experts from 85 countries

WMO HydroConference 2018: 215 experts from 85 countries

What does it mean to be an expert?

As an expert you devote some of your time to work for WMO, but the load of the work differs significantly given the level of engagement and tasks assigned.

Typically, an expert, who is a member of a Standing Committee should expect to serve on 2 or 3 three-day trips a year. The Standing Committee itself is expected to meet once a year, but there are other meetings that demand representation by a Standing Committee member. An expert is also expected to contribute to some of the tasks assigned to the Standing Committee, which might include video conferences, managing other experts’ contribution, drafting documents etc. The level of engagement depends on the will and available time of the expert and might vary between 40 and 100 hours a year. 

On the other hand, experts working in one of the various study groups and/or expert teams will likely work mostly via video conferences and electronic communication. For maximum effectiveness, however, it is desirable to organize at least one face-to-face meeting of each expert team during its lifetime. This means one meeting every 4 years (typically lasting three days) and likely about 40 hours of work per year, depending on the tasks assigned.

All the work of experts is strongly supported by the Secretariat by organizing meetings, preparing background documents, writing notes and meeting reports, organizing the communications, travel, etc.

Working as hydrology expert in a Standing Committee, Study Group, or Expert Team is a voluntary contribution freely offered to benefit the global hydrological community.

It is normally expected that the cost of participation in a meeting of a Standing Committee, Study Group, or Expert Team is covered by the expert’s institution/country. However, it is understood that for many countries it may be excessively onerous to bear this cost, so to ensure broad-based participation in the Commissions’ work, WMO may cover the attendance cost providing the ticket and a daily allowance to cover such expenditure as meals, accommodation and local transportation upon request.

Where in the new structure hydrological experts are needed?

The new WMO structure has been designed with a vision of integration of all disciplines contributing to a single Earth system approach. Therefore, hydrology will be included in a large suite of activities. There are now two Technical Commissions - Services Commission (SERCOM) and Infrastructure Commission (INFCOM).

SERCOM deals mostly with services delivery to users and has 6 Standing Committees. The Standing Committee for Hydrological Services (SC-HYD) will comprise approximately 15 experts in hydrology, but also some other Standing Committees, in particular the one for Disaster Risk Reduction (SC-DRR) and for Services for Agriculture (SC-AGR), demand adequate hydrological representation to manage successfully tasks related to floods and drought risks.

In addition, Study Groups for Health (SG-HEA), Energy (SG-ENE), Cryosphere (SG-CRYO), Global Basic Observing Network (SG-GBON), Data Issues and Policies (SG-DIP), Integrated Urban Services (SG-URB) need to deliver outputs that are hydrology related and will need some  hydrological expertise to be present in the group.

INFCOM will have 4 Standing Committees: one on Earth Observing Systems and Monitoring Networks (SC-ON), one on Measurement, Traceability and Instrumentation (SC-MINT), one on Information Management and Technology (SC-IMT), and one on Data Processing for Applied Earth System Modelling and Prediction (SC-ESMP). As you may realize, all of them are relevant for hydrology. In particular, the Hydrological Coordination Panel proposed to establish an expert team for dealing with hydrometric observations and measurements, that needs to be run by hydrologists for hydrologists. But other Standing Committees will also address relevant hydrological needs and expectations and need to have a strong representation of the hydrological community.

WMO new structure 2020

How to become an expert (nomination process)?

If you have participated before in hydrological activities of WMO, you most probably are already in the new Expert Data Base  (https://contacts.wmo.int/) of the WMO Community Platform. If you have not already done so, please update your biographical information. See the “how-to” guide for the WMO Expert Data Base (Click here to download guide). We strongly recommend you also to upload your CV.

The Permanent Representative of your country with WMO may have to confirm your nomination, so please contact him/her expressing your interest to be nominated. 

If you are new to WMO, you will have to contact the Permanent Representative or the Hydrological Adviser of your country and express your interest to be nominated.

You can find who the Permanent representative and/or Hydrological Adviser of your country is by going to https://contacts.wmo.int/ and clicking on
“All Members”.

In addition, if you are staff of the United Nations or other international organizations with which the WMO has concluded arrangements or agreements, you can also be participate as a technical expert in the work of the WMO Technical Commissions. In this case, the head of your organization will  designate one or more "Agency Approvers” who will nominate registered experts for the work of the technical commissions.

In conclusion…

We encourage you to become part of your delegation to the Technical Commissions joint session in April 2020. The nomination is done by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in consultation with the Permanent Representative of your country, who is normally the head of the National Meteorological Service. If you are interested, contact your National Meteorological Service to learn more about how to become a member of a Technical Commission. Please note that Sessions of WMO Technical Commissions are Intergovernmental and, as such, travel expenses for
National delegation attendance must be covered by national resources (i.e., your Government or your institution has to pay your trip).

Regardless of whether or not you’re able to attend the Technical Commissions Session, if you have been nominated by your Country to become an expert in a Technical Commission, you are still eligible for membership on a Standing Committee, Study Group, or Expert Group. Thus, we strongly encourage you to become an expert, for the sake of hydrology.