May 20 is World Metrology Day

Published by Garth Bragg   – May 1, 2014

May 20 is World Metrology Day

May 20th is World Metrology Day, commemorating the anniversary of the signing of the Metre Convention in 1875. This treaty provides the basis for a coherent measurement system worldwide.

The theme chosen for 2014 is "Measurements and The Global Energy Challenge."

The world is facing a growing global energy challenge over the coming decades. The crux of the problem is the growing demand for energy, particularly from the emerging nations, coupled with the need to limit or reduce greenhouse gases. Add in the desire to have diversity and security of supply, and the increasing costs to extract fossil fuels, we see that the trend is to have a greater mix of energy sources, including renewables. Diversification, combined with the demands for improvements in efficiency of energy generation, transmission and use, mean that technology is constantly being pushed to the limit.

To meet the challenge we need to improve our ability to measure a whole series of parameters. For example, more accurate measurement of the manufacturing temperature or surface form of a turbine blade will enable efficiency improvements. Better power quality measurements will help improve the stability of transmission grids which nowadays must also cope with variable inputs from wind turbines and photovoltaic cells, etc. More complex electrical power metering is needed to ensure the energy we buy, or even perhaps sell.

Across the world, national metrology institutes continually advance measurement science by developing and validating new measurement techniques at whatever level of sophistication is needed. They also participate in comparisons coordinated by the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (BIPM) to ensure the reliability of measurement results worldwide.

Many measuring instruments are controlled by law or are subject to regulatory control, for example the scales used to weigh goods in a shop, instruments to measure environmental pollution, or meters used to bill energy. The International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML) develops international recommendations of which is to align and harmonize requirements for these types of instruments worldwide.

World Metrology Day recognizes and celebrates the contribution of all the people that work in intergovernmental and national organizations throughout the year on behalf of all.

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