How climate data scarcity costs lives

Paula Dupraz-Dobias at New Humanitarian: “Localised data can help governments project climate forecasts, prepare for disasters as early as possible, and create long-term policies for adapting to climate change.

Wealthier countries tend to have better access to new technology that allows for more accurate predictions, such as networks of temperature, wind, and atmospheric pressure sensors.

But roughly half the world’s countries do not have multi-hazard early warning systems, according to the UN’s World Meteorological Organization. Some 60 percent lack basic water information services designed to gather and analyse data on surface, ground, and atmospheric water, which could help reduce flooding and better manage water. Some 43 percent do not communicate or interact adequately with other countries to share potentially life-saving information.

The black holes in weather data around the globe

Availability of surface land observations (Map)WMO/ECMWFUS reports weather observations every three hours, as opposed to the every hour required by World Meteorological Organization regulations. It says it will comply with these from 2023.

See WIGOS’s full interactive map

“Right now, we can analyse weather; in other words, what happens today, tomorrow, and the day after,” said Ena Jaimes Espinoza, a weather expert at CENEPRED, Peru’s national centre for disaster monitoring, prevention, and risk reduction. “For climate data, where you need years of data, there is still a dearth [of information].”

Without this information, she said, it’s difficult to establish accurate trends in different areas of the country – trends that could help forecasters better predict conditions in Tarucani, for example, or help policymakers to plan responses.

Inadequate funding, poor data-sharing between countries, and conflict, at least in some parts of the world, contribute to the data shortfalls. Climate experts warn that some of the world’s most disaster-vulnerable countries risk being left behind as this information gap widens…(More)”.