Observing the climate for development
William E. Westermeyer, Global Climate Observing System Secretariat, Geneva, Switzerland
The article addresses the fundamental importance of observing the climate for development purposes. It first considers the establishment of the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) in 1992 and its important linkage with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It introduces the types of observations that are needed for climate purposes, with a focus on the so-called Essential Climate Variables. It then discusses the requirements for good quality observations for climate risk management, adaptation, and sustainable development, noting specific examples of the uses of climate observations in agriculture, health, water resources management, disaster preparedness, tourism, urban development, coastal zone management, and energy planning. The article concludes by suggesting several measures that both developing and developed countries can take to improve climate observations in developing countries. For developing countries, these include improving national and regional coordination on climate observing issues, rescuing historical data, exchanging data regionally and internationally for mutual benefit, and routinely addressing climate variability and climate change in national development planning. For developed countries, it is important to implement actions agreed by the UNFCCC and to follow up on commitments made in such fora as the G8 Summit Meetings by providing support to developing countries for observing system infrastructure and capacity building needs.
Joint Session 2, Global environmental observing systems including, but not limited to, the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), and Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS)- Part II
Thursday, 21 January 2010, 11:00 AM-12:15 PM, B217
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