Celeste Saulo of Argentina takes office as Secretary-General of WMO

04 January 2024

Geneva (WMO) – Prof. Celeste Saulo of Argentina has taken office as the first female and first South American Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). 

Key messages
  • Prof. Saulo is first female and first South American to head WMO
  • Accelerating climate change and more extreme weather are major global threats
  • National Meteorological and Hydrological Services must be strengthened
  • The most vulnerable must be prioritized
  • Partnerships are key to success of Early Warnings for All

She was Director of the National Meteorological Service of Argentina since 2014 and a former First Vice-President of WMO.

Prof. Saulo will guide WMO towards its vision of a world where all nations, especially the most vulnerable, are more resilient to extreme weather, climate, water and other environmental events. 

She will spearhead the activities of the WMO community to transform science into the best possible services for society. This includes strengthening observations and data exchange necessary for reliable and accessible weather forecasts, benefiting from massive advances in artificial intelligence, and expanding Early Warning Services to protect everyone on Earth.  

Prof. Saulo will also seek to consolidate WMO’s monitoring and research of climate change indicators and impacts in order to inform decision-making on mitigation and adaptation, including through a new pioneering Global Greenhouse Gas Watch initiative.  

“Climate change is the greatest global threat of our times, and increasing inequality exacerbates its impacts”. We just lived through the warmest year on record and 2024 may be even hotter and more extreme once the full impact of the ongoing El Niño plays out on temperatures and weather events,” she says. “Human and industrial activities are unequivocally to blame.”

“Coming from the Global South, I’m acutely aware of the need to do more to prioritize the needs of the most vulnerable. I am highly motivated to help every National Meteorological and Hydrological Service achieve its mission to save lives and livelihoods. Most of these services have the experience, knowledge and passion to fulfil their mandate, but many lack the resources to do so," said Professor Saulo. “Even a small increase in investment leverages huge socio-economic benefits for our communities.”

She says that one of her priorities will be to strengthen WMO’s presence at regional level and to empower National Meteorological and Hydrological services through a “bottom-up approach.” She also wants to strengthen geographical diversity within the WMO Secretariat.

Prof. Saulo is also determined to maintain close relationships with the United Nations family, development agencies, and the private sector, for instance on the Early Warnings for All initiative. Real leadership and concrete outcomes are based on solid partnerships.

Prof. Saulo succeeds Prof. Petteri Taalas of Finland who completed his two-term mandate. She was appointed on 1 June 2023 at the quadrennial World Meteorological Congress, the top decision-making body of the 193-Member WMO. She took office on 1 January 2024.

Career Background

Prof. Saulo was recently named an Honorary Member of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) – a prestigious award which recognizes outstanding individuals and organizations in the weather, water, and climate community. Her distinguished career embraces research and teaching, operations and management and the connection of science with the needs of the society.

Prof. Saulo pursued a career in academia before becoming head of the National Meteorological Service of Argentina. Here, she promoted substantive organizational changes, based on a management that strives for concrete results, meets social demands, articulates at national, regional and international levels, and cultivates equity, inclusion and mutual respect.

Prof. Saulo has long involvement with WMO. She was elected in June 2015 as a member of the WMO Executive Council. In April 2018, she was elected as Second Vice-president for WMO and, in June 2019, she was elected First Vice-President, becoming the first woman to hold the office.

Prior to that, Prof. Saulo was a member of various WMO expert scientific panels.

Her research has been key for better understanding the South American Monsoon System, and the associated patterns of precipitation and circulation during the warm season. In the last few years, she deepened her activity on interdisciplinary problems such as wind energy production, agricultural applications, and early warning systems.

She has authored or co-authored more than 60 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles and book chapters. She supervised many students both at the undergraduate and graduate levels and, acting as Principal Investigator in 23 research projects financed by national and international agencies.

Her vast teaching experience has been mainly related with numerical weather prediction, atmosphere dynamics and thermodynamics, mesoscale meteorology, cloud dynamics and cloud microphysics.

Prof. Saulo is married with two children.

She says her favorite activities are playing tennis, cooking for her family and dancing Latin rhythms. She is passionate about music, enjoys reading and cinema.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for promoting international cooperation in atmospheric science and meteorology.

WMO monitors weather, climate, and water resources and provides support to its Members in forecasting and disaster mitigation. The organization is committed to advancing scientific knowledge and improving public safety and well-being through its work.

For further information, please contact:

  • Clare Nullis WMO media officer cnullis@wmo.int +41 79 709 13 97
  • WMO Strategic Communication Office Media Contact media@wmo.int