New climate forceasting system to be created

Sep 04, 2009 By ELIANE ENGELER , Associated Press Writer

(AP) -- The World Climate Conference has approved the creation of a new climate forecasting system to help countries adapt to climate change and enable them to better prepare for natural disasters, officials said Friday.

Delegates from around 150 nations attending the conference adopted the declaration by consensus on Thursday, and the U.N. weather agency predicted the new Global Framework for Climate Services would be up and running by 2011 to improve climate forecasts and share that information around the world.

Rich countries such as the United States already have systems that provide climate forecasts, but only in the short term and not coordinated with the rest of the world, said Thomas Karl, director of the National Climate Data Center at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"Climate services is a new concept," he said in an interview.

He said even climate information from Mali or Malaysia is important to the U.S., and that the new framework will provide that and have experts from around the world regularly meet to coordinate their analysis of information.

The price of creating the new system was not given, but Karl said it would probably cost twice as much as the world currently spends on climate prediction.

The Global Framework for Climate Services will provide forecasts on weather patterns months or even years ahead, Karl said. In the next few months, the U.N.'s World Meteorological Organization's members will meet to set up a task force to help implement the framework.

African countries said Friday they hoped the new system would help their farmers prepare for droughts and floods, and make agriculture - the cornerstone of most of their economies - more resilient to climate change.

Guinea's minister of transport, El-Hadj Mamady Kaba, said the Global Framework would send climate information out faster to the people who need it and help authorities plan for disasters.

"Extreme climate events are being seen more and more frequently," he told the conference, citing severe droughts, floods, cyclones, wind and dust storms, as well as heat waves.

John Njoroge Michuki, Kenya's environment minister, said: "Dried up water bodies and wetlands, and drastic changes to rainfall patterns, have resulted in flooding, rising epidemics and severe and prolonged drought and famine" in his country.

Of the 11 glaciers on Mount Kenya at the beginning of the last century, five have melted, Michuki told the conference, adding that there is an "urgent need" for more climate information.

Rich nations should support the installation of more weather and climate observation stations in Africa, Michuki said.

The five-day World Climate Conference, which was ending Friday, tried to find ways for the world to cope with global warming that will occur because of greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere, regardless of what climate negotiations achieve in a December meeting in Copenhagen. Delegates said the Geneva conference will provide useful scientific information for the Copenhagen negotiations, which aim at forging a new accord to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on reducing the gases blamed for global warming.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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User comments : 7

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Velanarris
3.7 / 5 (3) Sep 04, 2009
If you can't predict the weather, and the weather is climate on short time scales, you're not going to be able to predict climate.

Waste of time and money at this stage of the game, as we're missing something, if not many things, in our understanding of weather and climate.
Velanarris
5 / 5 (1) Sep 04, 2009
brianwemyes, grow a set and post your refutation.
RETT
not rated yet Sep 05, 2009
Regardless of the merits of the particular predictions, the statement that the inaccuracy of short term prediction invalidates long term prediction does not hold water. There can be huge short term variation within a fairly stable long term prediction, which works out both in practice and from a purely mathematical viewpoint. What is most interesting is that those who have been working with long term climate prediction have been consistently conservative, as actual change on the ground has been faster than the most extreme predictions. Many of the longer term effects have now proven to have feedback mechanisms that speed and extend them. There is no doubt that our predictions will become more accurate as we have more data available to us, but that is no reason to say that current predictions are useless.
dachpyarvile
not rated yet Sep 06, 2009
There will be no accuracy if the so-called climate scientists do not start including other data variables in the equations. It is not that hard for what we know and understand. It is exceedingly difficult for the variables we do not understand as of yet. There still is much that we do not understand.

They also need to take into account historical observations of weather and climate. If they did that the gloom and doom would lessen somewhat as they realized that historical conditions were not caused by variables which they now focus upon and that there were not catastrophic events that came about as a result of said variables and conditions.

Case in point, the NSIDC predicted a 2008 ice-free Arctic based upon their data. As anyone knows that did not happen so the date has been revised--sort of like the predictions of the end of the world that Jehovah's Witnesses made and revised several times over the century. :)
Velanarris
not rated yet Sep 07, 2009
Regardless of the merits of the particular predictions, the statement that the inaccuracy of short term prediction invalidates long term prediction does not hold water. There can be huge short term variation within a fairly stable long term prediction, which works out both in practice and from a purely mathematical viewpoint. What is most interesting is that those who have been working with long term climate prediction have been consistently conservative, as actual change on the ground has been faster than the most extreme predictions. Many of the longer term effects have now proven to have feedback mechanisms that speed and extend them. There is no doubt that our predictions will become more accurate as we have more data available to us, but that is no reason to say that current predictions are useless.

Except for the fact that they can't match observations making them pretty useless.
GrayMouser
not rated yet Sep 13, 2009
Of the 11 glaciers on Mount Kenya at the beginning of the last century, five have melted, Michuki told the conference, adding that there is an "urgent need" for more climate information.

None of the glaciers melted. The day time temperature is still below freezing. The glaciers sublimated due to low humidity.
merci
not rated yet Oct 30, 2009
Farmers in places experiencing too little or too much seasonal rain - like all over the formerly "bread basket" parts of Africa - need seasonal forecasts to know whether they are likely to get a good crop from planting, and should spend scarce money on the best seed & fertilizer they can manage, or wait and keep their small resources for a better season. Creating that information - as is proposed to be done fairly quickly - is crucial. Then it must be gotten out to poor rural farmers, which will require more communications infrastructure than exists yet in the governments or private sector news in most African countries. Millions and millions of farmers who eat what they grow themselves need seasonal weather forecasts that take climate change into account.

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