Preparing for Extreme Weather

– by Amena Ali, CMO

A new report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (available at http://ipcc-wg2.gov/SREX/) explores the connection between climate change and its possible impact on society. In the report, UN scientists state that we should expect more extreme weather and climate events in the years to come. They report that temperature extremes and severe weather – including more powerful hurricanes, cyclones and tornados – will become increasingly common.

Given the wide coverage and attention this report is generating in mainstream media such as Time and Reuters – it is clear that extreme weather has taken center stage.

The climate change issue will continue to be debated. But no matter where you stand on the issue, one question must be asked: With over 7 billion people on the Earth today, how can we better prepare our population for extreme weather? We cannot prevent severe storms that can kill, literally, with a bolt out of the blue, but can we alert people in advance of oncoming danger?  The IPCC report documents that from the 1970s to today, 95% of fatalities produced by extreme weather occurred in developing countries.  Many parts of the world still lack even basic weather infrastructure, let alone the means to generate and deliver alerts on a timely basis.

As a company, we examine weather and lightning from thousands of sensors located around the world.

If weather is to become more extreme in the years ahead, we as a society need to be prepared to tackle new challenges. How do we alert people in areas with limited resources? We must leverage technology to address these issues in a faster, more-cost effective way than before.  With the economic situation as it stands today, we would posit that no country is in a position to spend billions of dollars on infrastructure to measure weather and climate.  Simply put, we need leap-frog technology that does more with less.

About Earth Networks

Earth Networks gathers and analyzes environmental observations from around the world to help promote a better understanding of the planet and its atmosphere.
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