Social Innovation Factsheet #1.3: Monitoring climate for early warning systems to prepare for extreme weather events
Climate change is expected to alter temperature, air movement, and precipitation in various ways and to varying degrees across Africa with consequences for human health, nutrition, agriculture (e.g. reduction of crop yields and lifetock productivity), and water scarcity. Extreme weather events (EWEs) such as droughts and floods are also projected to be more frequent and more intense, with direct consequences for human life and health.
As a response to EWE, Early Warning Systems (EWS) are developed as a way to provide timely and effective information, through identified institutions, that allows individuals exposed to a hazard to take action to avoid or reduce their risk and prepare for effective response. EWS and making the link between predictable weather and climate events and their impacts are critical to save lives and property when disaster looms. They contribute to the preparedness of decision-makers and individuals in terms of risk knowledge, monitoring warning service, dissemination, communication and response capability.
EWS need to have a sound scientific and technical basis and incorporate all relevant factors from natural hazards to social vulnerabilities. The development of EWS for monitoring extreme events includes many steps, ranging from the collection and management of high-quality weather observations (both for drought and flood) to turning data, climate forecasts and projections into useful information. To assess climate change and its impacts, observations of past and current conditions, and scenarios for future developments are required for different components (e.g. atmosphere, cryosphere, water systems, oceans, terrestrial biosphere, urban areas, human and environmental health, etc.).