Conference OK’s climate forecasting system
GENEVA - 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 yesterday.
Delegates from about 150 nations attending the conference adopted the declaration by consensus on Thursday, and the United Nations 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 US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“Climate services is a new concept,’’ he said in an interview.
Karl said that even climate information from Mali or Malaysia is important to the United States, and that the new framework will provide that and have specialists from around the world regularly meet to coordinate their analysis of climate change information.
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 UN’s World Meteorological Organization’s members will meet to set up a task force to help implement the framework.
African countries said yesterday that 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 and help authorities plan for disasters.