Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Climate scientists and communities can find common ground

Interaction in a workshop
In the words of Arame Tall, a consultant in climate change adaptation and climate disaster risk management in Africa, "the gap between climate scientists and decision makers can be bridged". According to her, Africa persistently face threats of hydro-meteorological disasters such as droughts, floods, pest infestations, water-related epidemics, storms and cyclones. Whether correlated with anthropogenic climate change, a result of increased human vulnerability or merely the outcome of better disaster reporting, the number of reported hydro-meteorological disasters in Africa has been rising since the mid-1990s.  Policy makers in the region can make informed decisions about climate-change adaptation if climate researchers can provide them with the relevant data, including an explanation of the uncertainties inherent in climate and weather forecasting but that cannot happen in a vaccum. Several barriers that prevent available climate and weather information (forecasts) from filtering down to potential users  include  what she terms "scientific jargon", inadequate dissemination channels to reach the most vulnerable people, and poorly formalised institutional frameworks at a national level.

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