Blog / October 12, 2021
On 5 October 2021, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) published the 2021 State of Climate Services Report with contributions from more than 20 international organizations, including the Group on Earth Observations (GEO). This 2021 edition focuses on water, an indispensable resource at the heart of the global agenda for sustainable development, disaster risk reduction and climate adaptation that affects all communities and economic sectors. Since 2019, WMO and its partners have published annual State of Climate Services reports to provide input to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process, thus supporting climate adaptation with science-based information.
The report finds that for the 101 WMO Member countries for which data is available:
Significant additional financial commitments are needed to meet adaptation targets, but there are several constraints that limit what countries can do. These include low capacity to develop and implement projects and difficulties in raising funds within the public financial systems of low-income countries.
The report draws lessons from 16 case studies from around the world to improve water resource management and reduce the impact of water-related disasters. In collaboration with the Group on Earth Observations Global Water Sustainability (GEOGloWS) Initiative, AmeriGEO, and ENEE-Honduras, GEO contributed the case study on "Reliable and Actionable Information for Water Management Ahead of Hurricanes Eta and Iota in Honduras."
The GEOGloWS Streamflow Forecast Service is a worldwide application of the global runoff forecasts from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) that translates runoff into river discharge forecasts for all rivers in the world. The GEOGLoWS-ECMWF Streamflow Forecast Service was used by the state-owned power company of Honduras, Empresa Nacional de Energía Eléctrica (ENEE), to establish a series of low flow releases through the massive hydroelectric dam “El Cajón” between hurricanes Eta and Iota that hit the country in November 2020, following discharge protocols that dictate that the maximum discharge of 1000 m3/sec must not be exceeded. Following the first hurricane Eta, the information from the regional flash flood guidance and short-term forecast models was insufficient to determine a long-term management strategy and estimate the volume of runoff that Iota was bringing thirteen days later. Through collaboration with AmeriGEO, ENEE became aware of the 15-day discharge forecast from the GEOGLoWS ECMWF Streamflow Forecast Service provided directly from the web. Based on that information, prior to the arrival of Iota, a total of 185.95 million m3 was discharged, providing the reservoir with sufficient storage for the runoff that Iota brought from the upper basin. The timely application of the information provided by the GEOGloWS-ECMWF Streamflow Forecast Service enabled national authorities to efficiently manage the reservoir during the storms and helped to prevent potentially huge losses and damages in the Sula Valley, one of the most populated and productive areas in Honduras. This case study demonstrates the importance of climate services and early warning systems in protecting livelihoods by helping communities prepare for and respond to climate related challenges.
The 2021 State of the Climate Services report concludes with 6 strategic recommendations, including the need to:
To support these recommendations in the face of increasing water-related threats and stresses, GEO is promoting Earth observation data and tools for improved water management, monitoring, and early warning, and facilitating collaboration between data providers, developing countries, and underrepresented communities.
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