Each year on the 23 March, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and its 185 Member States and 6 Territories celebrate the World Meteorological Day (WMD) to commemorate the entry into force on 23 March 1950 the Convention creating the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) as the successor to the International Meteorological Organization established in 1873.
2. The WMO chooses a theme each year for the celebration to focus on a topical meteorological issue affecting the society and the environment. The Theme of the 2016 celebration is "HOTTER, DRIER, WETTER, FACE THE FUTURE". This theme is selected to draw the attention of Governments and the world community on the impact of Climate Change on natural resources, humans and environment.
3. It has been unequivocally demonstrated that, human influence has been responsible for warming of the atmosphere and the ocean, changes in the global water cycle, reductions in snow and ice, global mean sea level rise, and changes in some climate extremes. There has been growing evidence since the industrial revolution periods that human activities have led to these changes. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has also established that emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere is one of the major contributors to global warming and the Climate Change being experienced all over the globe. The emission of greenhouse gases have continued to increase to unprecedented levels since the industrial times leading to increase in air and ocean temperature.
4. The global average air temperature of the earth is already 1°C hotter than it was at the start of the twentieth century. The continued emissions of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and changes in all components of the climate system. Limiting climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. The international community has therefore unanimously agreed that there is need for bold action towards the reduction of the emissions as demonstrated during COP-21 meeting in Paris in December 2015. At that meeting, Governments adopted the Paris Agreement to "hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C."
5. In view of the long residence time of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the current warming will continue beyond 2100 even when the emission of greenhouse gases is reduced. We must therefore prepare for a future with more hot days, warm nights and heat waves because of past and present emissions. This preparation will require smart adaptation strategies and engaging in climate resilient practices to cope with the damage that has been done. There is also need for continuous effective mitigation actions to stem further emissions. The WMO and the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) are constantly developing products and services to address these challenges and ensure climate-resilient societies. One of such products and services is the recently launched Global Framework for Climate services (GFCS) which countries have been encouraged to downscale to their National Frameworks for Climate services. We have the knowledge and tools we need to face the future.
6. The impact of Climate Change is not limited to hotter and drier conditions but also extends to wetter conditions in some parts of the globe. The frequency and intensity of thunderstorm have been on the increase leading to flooding, coastal inundation, gully erosion etc. These extreme weather and climate events have negative impacts on the socio-economic developments of the country. For example, food security, safe and portable water, public health etc. has been affected over the years. We can protect lives and property from such hazards through impact-based forecasts. This approach to disaster risk is the best way to empower emergency managers with vital and critical decision making information.
7. One of the most worrisome challenges now is the climate related migrations in search of greener pasture and the possible security implications. The number of reported conflicts leading to loss of lives and damage to property between herdsmen and farmers has increased over the years. This is as a result of depleting natural resources and the increasing competition for the scarce available resources. We can reduce risks related to climate change through multi-hazard early warning systems that provide timely alerts to decision-makers, planners and the general public. We also need to provide decision-makers with guidance on effective policies and improve access to scientific knowledge as well as share best practices.
8. Building climate and weather resilient communities is a vital part of this global strategy for achieving sustainable development. NiMet will continue to support national entities towards their efforts in achieving sustainable development goals through the provision of the best science-based weather and climate services in support of decision making for safety of lives and property and environment.
For more information
Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet)
National Weather Forecasting and Climate Research Centre
Bill Clinton Drive
Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport