UN urges more investment in weather data

March 25th, 2008 - 9:51 pm ICT by admin  

Geneva, March 25 (DPA) More investment is needed in gathering weather data to better offset the growing risks from extreme weather and climate change, the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said Tuesday. WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said, “We know a lot about our planet but we need to know more.”

He said there were particularly gaps in the information network in developing countries that needed to be addressed, particularly in Africa and parts of Asia.

In 20 years from 1980 to 2000, weather disasters had killed 1.2 million people and caused more than $900 billion in economic losses, he told a press conference to mark World Weather Day March 23, but delayed by Easter.

The theme, observing our Planet for a Better Future, was vital to mitigate disasters and help people live in relative safety Jarraud added.

“It is not possible to prevent a hurricane from happening but for all these disasters, all these hazards, it is possible to provide early warnings. It is possible to provide better predictions and these predictions have to be based on appropriate observation,” he said.

The chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, Rajendra Pachauri of India said it was “critically important” to obtain data from all over the world, particularly in areas like Africa where climate change further threatened agriculture and water supplies in the decades to come.

“Unless we have better observations we cannot come up with an assessment of the future,” he said.

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