The Indian Ocean Data Rescue Initiative

East African and Australian droughts, flooding in India, Pakistan and Southern Africa and other such events have caused large socio-economic impacts in affected and neighboring countries.


Thus, understanding the role of the Indian Ocean in triggering regional and large-scale climate variability and related extremes – such as droughts, heavy monsoons and flooding – is important to sustainable global development. A historic record of scientific observation data on the Indian Ocean would help to improve understanding of the role of key climate drivers that lead to these extremes. It would provide information on the characteristics observed in the Indian Ocean before such extremes and enable improved and timely prediction of their occurrence.

WMO and National Meteorological and Hydrological Services have made significant efforts in capturing climatic data. However, a substantial amount of the climate archives that go back to the nineteenth century is on paper and has been stored under poor conditions. They need to be recovered, imaged and digitized before they deteriorate beyond use. The implementation plan for the GFCS includes large scale Data Rescue as a priority area. The INdian Ocean DAta REscue (INDARE) project was the focus of a workshop hosted in Mozambique from 21–24 April. In attendance were representatives from the Indian Ocean rim countries and islands: Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, Pakistan, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Yemen.

The workshop, sponsored by Norway and Environment Canada, outlined how to improve the quality, availability and use of data to enhance current understanding of the role of the Indian Ocean in triggering key climate drivers at regional and larger scale. Participants agreed to a new collaborative approach on these issues. INDARE will start implementation 3 months after planning is finalized by the participating countries and take three years to complete. INDARE activities will contribute to four broad areas: modernization of the database, capacity development, climate information generation and the support of GFCS implementation.

The WMO-IOC Joint Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology (JCOMM), the International Atmospheric Circulation Reconstructions over the Earth (ACRE) Initiative, the International Environmental Data Rescue Organization (IEDRO), the Met Office (UK), the Climate Change Centre (Spain) and the Indian Ocean Commission (COI) are partnering to set up INDARE. Their aim is to address climate data recovery in this important, yet poorly studied and understood, region.

The workshop declaration, the draft INDARE implementation plan and other documents and information can be found on the GFCS Website.

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