Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Climate information for Africa can be improved

In the opinion of Climate scientist Tufa Dinku, a collaborative project in Ethiopia that has created climate data and tools can be applied in much of Africa, but limited systematic knowledge about the climate
 its historical variability and likely future trends has so far made this impossible. Quality-assured climate information must be based on quality-assured climate data, and trained staff capable of putting it to good use.  Such data have largely been absent in Africa, where meteorological observations from weather stations are a fraction of what the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) considers to be even basic coverage. Where records exist, they frequently suffer from gaps and poor quality, and they are mostly not easily accessible outside national meteorological agencies. Making the data and derived products available through the Internet, and then training the user community to demand, understand and use climate information, are the essential steps towards the better management of climate-related risks in Africa. This approach has been implemented in Ethiopia in a collaboration between the country's National Meteorology Agency (NMA), the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI), Columbia University, in the United States, and the TAMSAT (Tropical Applications of Meteorology using Satellite data and ground-based observations) group at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom.

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