Climate and Early Warning Services: Gathering and Providing Information for an Uncertain Future
By Tetra Tech ARD
West Africa’s national and regional meteorological and hydrological services are critical sources of information about changing weather and climate patterns. This brief examines the state of the region’s early warning and climate services data, products and delivery and offers recommendations on how these can be improved.
The national meteorological services of all 18 West African countries collect information in the field, such as rainfall and temperature data, and increasingly supplement this with space-based observations. The examination found deficits in field coverage and an over reliance on satellite data and gaps in analysis of it. It also noted that information on many important climate variables is also not being collected.
The early warning and climate services products available in West Africa vary in quality and utility and are often linked to short-lived projects. Most national systems still need assistance to develop long-term plans. The brief urges the creation of early warning and other services that take into account both rapid-and slow-onset hazards.
In terms of creating useful products and delivering them in a useable form, it says that a better understanding of what information decision makers need and how they access information is needed.
The brief gives further recommendations on improving climate and early warning services.
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