State of Climate Services 2020 Report: Move from Early Warnings to Early Action

  • TEHRAN, 13 October 2020 (UNIC) - Over the past 50 years, more than 11,000 disasters have been attributed to weather, climate and water-related hazards, involving 2 million deaths and US$ 3.6 trillion in economic losses. While the average number of deaths recorded for each disaster has fallen by a third during this period, the number of recorded disasters has increased five times and the economic losses have increased by a factor of seven, according to a new multi-agency report entitled: the 2020 State of Climate Services Report.

Extreme weather and climate events have increased in frequency, intensity and severity as result of climate change and hit vulnerable communities disproportionately hard.  Yet one in three people are still not adequately covered by early warning systems, according to the 2020 State of Climate Services report released on the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction in Geneva on 13 October.

In 2018, globally, around 108 million people required help from the international humanitarian system as a result of storms, floods, droughts and wildfires. By 2030, it is estimated that this number could increase by almost 50% at a cost of around US$ 20 billion a year, it says.

The report, produced by 16 international agencies and financing institutions, identifies where and how governments can invest in effective early warning systems that strengthen countries’ resilience to multiple weather, climate and water-related hazards and provides successful examples.

It stresses the need to switch to impact-based forecasting – an evolution from “what the weather will be” to “what the weather will do” so that people and businesses can act early based on the warnings.

The 2020 State of Climate Services report, issued by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO),  contains 16 different case studies on successful early warning systems for hazards including tropical cyclones and hurricanes, floods, droughts, heatwaves, forest fires, sand and dust storms, desert locusts, severe winters and glacial lake outbursts.

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