The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) published an important report (WMO Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses from Weather, Climate and Water Extremes, 2021) recently which highlighted the need to increase the number of on-the-ground sensors for determining weather conditions, especially in third world countries. I would encourage anyone who has not read this report to read it; it is very enlightening.
Here are the major initiatives of the WMO – In particular WMO facilitates and promotes:
• The establishment of networks of observational stations to provide weather-, climate- and water-related data;
• The establishment and maintenance of data management centres and telecommunication systems for the provision and rapid exchange of weather-, climate- and water-related data;
• The creation of standards for observation and monitoring in order to ensure adequate uniformity in the practices and procedures employed worldwide and, thereby, ascertain the homogeneity of data and statistics;
• The application of science and technology in operational meteorology and hydrology to transport (air, land and maritime), water resource management, agriculture, energy, health and other focus areas;
• Activities in operational hydrology as well as closer cooperation between NMHSs in States and Territories where these are separated;
• The coordination of research and training in meteorology and related fields.
Pay particular attention to the first bullet item. Based upon the above cited report, attaining this goal has been difficult for the WMO in the least developed countries of the world, especially in sections of Africa. Here is a citation from the above report which addresses this particular goal: “WMO is playing a pioneering role in promoting impact based forecasts that inform the public of what the weather will do as well as what it will be and in fostering greater coordination between national meteorological services and their counterparts in disaster management agencies. This is leading to better prevention, preparedness and response.”
“But much more remains to be done. There are severe gaps in weather observations, especially in Africa and island states, which undermine the accuracy of early warnings
locally and globally. Additionally, only half of 193 WMO Members have multi-hazard early warning systems. The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030 (Sendai Framework) recognizes the significant benefits of MHEWSs by incorporating them into one of its seven global targets: “Substantially increase the availability and access to multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk information and assessments to people by 2030”
So I am going to be rather bold here and suggest that we attempt to get the WXForum.net and a group of their best problem-solvers to work with the WMO on a plan to get PWSs established in these under-represented and least developed countries around the world. It is the old adage about “We are only as strong as our weakest link”.
In continuing with the above WMO bullets, I think number 2 can be addressed through the CWOP (Citizen Weather Observation Program) set up by the NWS. This is a unique program in which data from PWSs gets utilized by the NWS on an on-going basis. It is truly an on the ground/grass roots type of program. I think this type of program is easily transferable after the first bullet above is dealt with. The WMO doesn’t need to re-invent the wheel, there are resources and networks that already exist that can be tapped.