World Bank, UK Met Office collaborate on weather services for DRR

by Artemis on June 15, 2015

The World Bank and the UK Met Office are teaming up to collaborate on work to support the development of hydro-meteorological services for emerging and developing countries in the world, with goal’s including increasing resilience and reducing disaster risk.

Better weather, hydrological and climate monitoring systems are essential to countries that are most exposed to climate change, severe weather events and catastrophes. Anticipating, forecasting and being able to respond to weather and climate variations and extremes are important tools to enable developing countries to advance and for disaster risk reduction (DRR).

The development of better weather systems could also lead to an expansion of weather-index insurance and parametric insurance products, which provide disaster risk financing to aid recovery after weather or catastrophe events strike.

The World Bank is already involved in many index insurance initiatives, as well as parametric catastrophe risk pooling facilities, around the world. The enhancement of weather forecasting and monitoring tools, with the help of the Met Office, could see a rapid expansion of those programs to new countries and regions around the globe.

The collaboration aims to “increase resilience, reduce disaster risk, improve national and regional early warning systems, and strengthen the capacities of regional and national hydro-meteorological services.”

Climate variability and weather extremes are responsible for as much as 75% of all losses from disasters, according to the World Bank.

The Met Office sees growing demand for better weather services and data in developing regions such as sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, where communities are particularly vulnerable to weather and climate related events.

“The future collaboration will enable the organizations to share expertise and best practice in the field of weather and climate services,” commented Phil Evans, Government Services Director for the Met Office. “Our support to the World Bank Group will help them to empower National Meteorological Hydrological Services to deliver reliable and timely weather and climate warnings and services at local, national, and regional levels in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.”

Jamal Saghir, Senior Regional Advisor, World Bank Group noted at a recent event; “Reliable and real-time weather and climate information is a prerequisite for multiple sectors of the economy, and also determines the safety and quality of life of citizens. We are committed to work together to improve these services in Sub-Saharan Africa as an essential ingredient for sustainable development and peace-building.”

The collaboration will work with the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) and its Hydromet that aims to help the World Bank and its clients with data, intelligence and insight on weather and climate factors.

The GFDRR also works in index insurance and disaster risk transfer, so it is to be expected that advancements made through this collaboration will feed into better data and measurements for weather-index insurance, as well as data for parametric triggers for insurance and risk transfer as well.

The UK’s Met Office has also signed an agreement with the U.S. Government, NASA and Google to develop better early warning systems for natural disasters across the developing world.

The goal of this partnership is to improve access to weather forecasts and climate information in developing countries, aiming to help farmers to plan ahead and boost food production and better predict and plan for weather-related disasters like droughts, floods and storms.

International Development Secretary Justine Greening, commented; “The UK’s Met Office is home to some of the world’s leading climate scientists. Our British Met Office experts, NASA and Google will improve the weather warnings the poorest countries need to get better prepared earlier for devastating natural disasters such as droughts, floods and storms.

“The work these leading British experts will be doing won’t just boost vital agricultural production and protect livelihoods, it will also, ultimately, save lives across the developing world.”

Met Office Chief Scientist Professor, Dame Julia Slingo, added; “This partnership will tap into the enormous potential for science to provide better tools to help people in the developing world tackle the risks from weather and climate extremes, something drawn out by the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction agreed earlier this year.

“The tools and services developed through this partnership will contribute significantly to greater resilience and preparedness, helping to protect the lives and property of some of the poorest in the world.”

Both of these initiatives that the Met Office has signed up to will improve weather data services in the developing parts of the globe at a time when access to weather data can and will increase the use of risk transfer.

Index insurance will likely be the primary beneficiary of these efforts, in the insurance and reinsurance market, however over time the availability of more robust weather data and forecasts, as well as historical data, will likely enable the re/insurance sector to better price weather and disaster risks and create new triggers for policies.

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