Africa needs better weather warning systems, urges experts

MOMBASA, Kenya –

Sudanese billionaire and philanthropist Mo Ibrahim, who heads his own foundation, said:

“We don’t have a say in global climate discussions because we lack strong research capabilities,” Ibrahim told the Associated Press. Ibrahim said that Africa must help “shape the agenda” at the upcoming United Nations climate conference in Egypt in November, known as COP27.

He added that weather stations across the country are sparsely and unevenly distributed, leading to “important” gaps in climate data.

Having a higher frequency of reliable data can help predict and plan for future extreme weather events, reducing their impact on human life, experts say.

Earlier this year, a report by the United Nations’ leading climate scientists said that determining climate change risks on the continent was now “based on evidence from global studies using data is largely from outside Africa.” The panel said global data, while good at estimating worldwide averages, lacked the specific information that African countries needed to determine their vulnerability and how they can best adapt.

The regions of Central and North Africa have been singled out by the United Nations weather agency as the worst-affected regions due to the absence of weather data, leading to significant errors in predicting rainfall trends. .

This year, Africa experienced a severe drought in the Horn of Africa and eastern Africa, extreme heat in the northern parts of the continent, while southern Africa was affected by severe storms. violent tornado.

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation estimates that some of the most vulnerable countries to extreme weather globally are in Africa, with 20% of the continent’s population most at risk. A report released by the foundation also estimates that around 10 million people across the continent have been displaced, at least in part due to climate change.

Earlier this year, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres tasked the World Meteorological Organization with ensuring that “everyone on earth is protected by early warning systems” within five years. Currently, only 22% of weather stations in Africa meet the reporting requirements of the global climate observation system. The United Nations weather agency is expected to present an action plan on how to achieve their five-year target at COP27.

Evans Mukolwe, a former United Nations weather scientist, said that besides installing weather stations and observing the oceans, there was an urgent need to rescue historical data for African nations. to provide future predictions. Mukolwe, now a climate and drought monitoring consultant with the Intergovernmental Agency for Development, said Kenya still “keeps 20 million similar weather cards from 1896” containing valuable climate information.

“It is in the interest of Africa and the world to invest more in climate research and integrate weather information services for effective mitigation and adaptation strategies,” he added.

Mo Ibrahim says that despite the lack of investment in weather services, the continent has made progress in other areas when it comes to fighting climate change.

“Africa has an amazing record of climate adaptation. We have more than 22 countries in the continent where the main sources of energy are renewables, a feat unmatched elsewhere in the world,” he said. No other continent can match and vast forests have an efficient carbon capture capacity”.


The Associated Press’s climate and environment coverage is supported by a number of private foundations. See more about AP’s climate initiative here. AP is solely responsible for all content

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