Small islands reap benefits of climate services

Small islands reap benefits of climate services



2 May 2016

A new publication from WMO provides a wide-ranging description of how small island states and territories in the Caribbean, Indian Ocean and Pacific regions are using seasonal predictions and other climate information to improve their economies and better manage their resources.   

A growing number of businesses and sectors are incorporating climate services into their decision-making and planning. The coffee and honey industries in Jamaica, wind energy and agriculture in the Seychelles, tourism around the Caribbean, the sugar industry in Fiji, the renewable energy sector in Samoa, and the hydropower sector in Belize are all enthusiastic users of climate services. WMO interviewed decision-makers in each of these industries about their experiences in employing forecasts and other customized climate information.
"We are really eager to have the Met Service provide us with stronger forecasting services because this is something that would definitely improve our management of the energy sector in terms of hydropower in Belize," said Kevin Longsworth, Control Centre Manager at Belize Electricty Limited.
Small islands are also highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including sea-level rise and more extreme floods, droughts and storms. Increasingly robust climate science is giving decision-makers the tools they need to strengthen their nations' climate resilience.
"Climate forecasting services will play a key role because developing a better understanding of areas which are more prone to drought will allow us to allocate our climate change adaptation resources more effectively," said the Prime Minister of Samoa, the Hon. Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Neioti Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi.
Writing in the foreword to the publication, WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas notes that "Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have demonstrated leadership in calling for action to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions while adapting to weather and climate extremes. They can also lead the way in applying weather and climate services to support vital economic sectors and vulnerable communities."

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