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World Climate Conference-3 To Seek More Support For Improving Climate Predictions

Next year’s landmark WMO World Climate Conference 3 (WCC-3) will urge the international scientific community, including governments, to do more to improve seasonal climate predictions to enable the planet to adapt to the impacts of climate variability and change, saving lives and protecting economies in the process.

This was the call from more than 20 organizations, including many United Nations agencies, who today ended a three-day meeting in Geneva held to prepare for next year’s event, hosted by Switzerland, titled: “Climate prediction for decision-making: focusing on seasonal to inter-annual time-scales taking into account multi-decadal prediction.”

Previous World Climate Conferences have been decisive events. The first, held in 1979, led to the 1988 establishment of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, jointly established by WMO and the United Nations Environment Programme. The second, in 1990, strengthened global efforts that resulted in the creation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992.

Key points identified during this week’s first meeting of the WCC-3 International Organizing Committee included the urgent need to enhance global environmental observations and to preserve climatic records. Open access to climate data and information is also needed, as well as improvements of the accuracy, resolution and scope of climate analyses and predictions.

Comprehensive climate information can provide largely untapped opportunities to manage climate risks including, extreme weather events, heat waves, flooding, sustained droughts, and more frequent cyclones. It will also help communities adapt to the adverse affects of climate variability and change - such as sea level rise, water and food shortages, desertification and risks to human health.

“There has been too little global investment in the science that underpins seasonal climate prediction, and this is what the World Climate Conference wants to remedy,” WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said. “The World Climate Conference is looking at the future, at what type of science is needed over the next 10 years to provide the type of seasonal predictions that can save people’s lives and livelihoods. And it will seek high-level support, particularly from governments, to make this happen”

“The world needs to strengthen existing mechanisms that predict climatic events and then ensure that this information is made available to all, especially to the benefit of people in least developed countries. Improving the science of seasonal prediction will help everyone.”

Several WMO-backed climate prediction centres currently produce global temperature and precipitation predictions through use of powerful computer models. But strengthening and coordinating these capabilities can optimize and extend these global responses to climate variability and extremes, and meet the needs of decision-makers for better climate predictions in major socio-economic sectors.

WCC-3 International Organizing Committee Chair, Don MacIver from Canada said: “The world needs to strengthen its ability to assess and predict the likelihood of severe events arising from climate variability and change, and then ensure that this information is made available to all, especially for the benefit of least developed countries. Improving climate information and prediction will help everyone.”

Paul Garwood | alfa
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