The meteorological observation practices in Sultanate of Oman dates back to the year 1900 when it was implemented by private agencies at that time. In the year 1893 a Meteorological Station was established in Muscat, And in 1942 three more stations were established in Salalah, Masirah, and Thumrait. During the Sixties Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) established new stations along the coastal and interior areas.
As regards the real beginning of Meteorology in Oman, it was during the era of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos when he inaugurated Seeb International Airport in 1973 (now renamed as Muscat International Airport) by establishing a special section responsible for providing meteorological services in particular for Aviation.
During the year of 1975 the Sultanate became an active member of World Meteorological Organization (WMO), based in Geneva, Switzerland. In March 1975 the first terminal aerodrome forecast report was issued from Muscat International Airport. Within a short span of time, meteorology became prominent in fulfilling the requirements and providing services to different public and private agencies. For Example, Royal Oman Air Force, Royal Navy Oman, Royal Oman Police Air wing as well as all International and Domestic Airports.
From May 1975 the Meteorological services was extended to the public as Weather Forecast broadcasted through Oman TV and Radio which became an essential part in daily program in both Arabic and English languages which was well received and welcomed by the public.
In the year of 1976 a ministerial decision was issued to establish National Meteorological Services as one of the sections of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation under the Ministry of Transportation at that time. During this year, the National Meteorological Center issued approximately 2000 forecasts and 600 regional forecasts for airlines covering the air routes to Hong Kong and Singapore in the East, and London in the West and Diego Garcia in the South, and to various friendly countries.
In 1982 a Royal Decree was issued for the establishment of the Directorate General of Meteorology under the Ministry of Transportation at that time. Another Royal Decree was issued in 1986 amending the organizational structure of the Ministry of Transportation that resulted in integrating the Directorate General of Meteorology and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation as one Directorate General known as the Directorate General of Civil Aviation and Meteorology located at Muscat International Airport under the Ministry of Transport and Communication. Thereafter the Department of Meteorology came into existence in the Directorate General of Civil Aviation and Meteorology, and gradually the Omanization level of staffing reached 100 %. With the issuance of the new structure of the Ministry of Transport and Communications in 2008 the Directorate General of Civil Aviation and Meteorology had again been renamed as the Directorate General of Meteorology and Air Navigation.
In view of the vast area of the Sultanate and the different weather patterns that prevails from one region to another due to differences in the topography, for example, the tops of high mountains, sand dunes, plains and coastal areas, it has become necessary to develop a network of weather stations to represent all regions of the Sultanate, which extends from Khasab in the North to Raysut in the South. This network has been created in several stages until it reached to 32 meteorological stations, including synoptic stations. Those 32 Meteorological Stations are linked to the head office located at Muscat International Airport by using the latest technical communications.
The Meteorological Affairs conducts all Meteorological Services and Applications and generates General Weather Forecast and Annual & Monthly reports as well as undertaking research and studies. The Meteorological Affairs extended its services to all governmental Ministries and the private sectors in terms of information, data and applications as well as providing substantive and technical cooperation, and standardizing the specifications and measurement of weather stations and organizing periodic maintenance. The Meteorological Affairs have two departments consisting of various sections providing meteorological services as follows:
A - Department of Operation and Technical Services
Services provided by these four sections differ from one section to another which serves the objectives and functions entrusted to the department and are as follows:
B - Department of Forecasting and Observing Practices
Services provided by these four sections differ from one section to another which serves the objectives and functions entrusted to the department as follows:
Current Achievements and future plans:
The achievements that meteorology has witnesses during the past (39) thirty nine years indicates a big leap in achievements in all meteorological activities that enabled it to perform work mandated to it in all its perspectives at a high note of conduct. The Ministry gives importance in training Omanis to keep abreast with fast development of Equipments and systems deployed for operational weather forecasting. The meteorological Employees have a high academic standard as such importance was placed in the area of Human resources development right the inception of Meteorology. As a result a cadre of Omanis was produced who can be relied upon in all activities and have gained good experience that has been recognized nationally, regionally and globally. 100% Omanization has been realized in different meteorological activities with different academic standard pertaining to PhD, MSc and BSc in Meteorological Science keeping with the directives of His Majesty Sultan in giving importance in development of Human Resources in order to be self reliant with Omanis cadres in all activities.
During 1999, with the cooperation of national weather service of Germany a Regional Numerical Weather Prediction System was established in the meteorological service that enabled to provide reliable forecast for different public and private agencies. The cooperation included training of Omani cadre to build a local manpower in this area. It is included three domains of numerical weather prediction of which one is specialized in marine. The Oman Regional NWP products were the first to be generated for this region. The specialized cadre is sent to Germany national weather service to be trained by Experts in NWP as well to specialized Universities in NWP.
An HF Wave Radar was installed in near Sur to measure wave heights, wave direction and speed and current direction and speed which contribute to generating forecast for that region. In addition another wave measurement station was installed for the Sohar Port.
In a historical milestone a Centre of Excellence for raining satellite meteorology was established in Muscat Oman on the 11th February 2006 for South West Asia and the Middle East Countries. This Centre is sponsored by Eumetsat and supervised by WMO. Six courses have conducted since its inception.
Future plans for developing meteorology:
Assistant Director of Forecasting and Observing Practices
Assistant Director of Operations and Technical Services