UNDP Issues Brief Climate Information and Early Warning Systems
Climate change is expected to increase the exposure of many countries, especially least developed countries (LDCs), to climate and meteorological hazards which threaten lives, infrastructure and economic activities. Extreme meteorological and climate events, such as heavy rainfall causing flooding and landslides, or increasing heatwaves and droughts, are either already increasing in intensity, duration and frequency, or are likely to do so in the future. Forewarning of these events enables preventative action to be taken, and a key component of many climate information and early warning systems (CI/EWS) projects is to deliver accessible, credible, appropriate and actionable weather and climate information, at time and space scales that can be used for decision making in project-relevant sectors and areas.
To achieve this, investments are made in all aspects of the information value chain; from building and strengthening observation networks, developing risk-related and tailored products, improving communications and information sharing, to building services for communities, decision makers and businesses to use and understand weather and climate-related information. In LDCs where human, technical and financial capacities may be limited, this involves focussing resources to address critical gaps in operating and maintaining observing and IT infrastructure, developing hazard modelling and forecasting capabilities, promoting institutional cooperation, introducing mobile-phone-based technologies, involving communities in both data collection and contributing to the development of warnings and advisories, among others. To do this in sustainable ways is often difficult but can be achieved by carefully building on existing capacities, developing links between projects and institutions, as well as introducing new low-cost technologies and promoting revenue streams through both the public and private sectors.