Reliable weather data key to adaptation efforts, scientists say

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To effectively incorporate climate change concerns into sustainable development projects, everyone involved is going to need more reliable data on what the weather's actually doing over time.

That's the aim of a meeting of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) this week in Turkey, where scientists from around the world are looking at ways to coordinate information among countries and ensure the right information is being produced and getting out.

"It is important that climate information, products and services be fine-tuned to support societal adaptation to climate variability and change," said Mannava Sivakumar, director of the Climate Prediction and Adaptation Branch of the meteorological organization.

A wide variety of climate adaptation efforts now rely on accurate predictions and recording of weather data, from early storm warning systems that are saving lives in cyclone-affected nations like Bangladesh to farmer insurance payments triggered by recorded lack of rainfall in countries like Ethiopia.

Climate change, WMO representatives said, now represents "the biggest hazard" in the path of sustainable development, and "it is imperative that the associated changing demands for climate information are adequately addressed," said Pierre Bessemoulin, president of the WMO's Commission for Climatology.

Doing that will require "an unprecedented level of cooperation" among countries, scientists, aid agencies and policy makers, he said. But the payoff, if such cooperation can be arranged, is that affected countries will be able to "manage climate change risks more efficiently and strengthen their ability to thrive in the future," the WMO said in a statement.

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