What does the agricultural research-for-development community need from climate and weather data?
Seminar Room 1, Newton Institute
Agricultural development in many parts of the tropics, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, faces daunting challenges, which climate change and increasing climate variability will compound in vulnerable areas. A plus-two degree world appears inevitable, and planning for and implementing successful adaptation strategies is critical if agricultural growth is to occur, food security be achieved, and household livelihoods be enhanced. Reliable climate and weather information, at various spatial and temporal scales, is essential in the design of effective strategies for adaptation to climate change and to better our understanding of the critical thresholds in global and regional food systems. Land-based observation and data collection systems in parts of the tropics have been in decline for decades, and the uncertainty in basic information adds considerable difficulty to the quantification and evaluation of impacts and adaptation options. While new technology is being brought to bear on the data issue, much remains to be done. Serious attention also needs to be given to the evaluation of uncertainty and its presentation to decision-makers, in a way that can facilitate the design and implementation of policy-relevant action.