Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Data critical to turn tide against climate change – Kereng

The Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, Philda Kereng, says quality climate data is the best insurance against unravelling climate change impacts anticipated to spell doom for the country. 

In a statement to celebrate the World Meteorological Day, the Minister highlighted that there is need for Botswana to refine climate models in order to improve weather forecasting, monitoring and research – which are all critical in the fight against climate change.

“The Ministry of Environment, Natural Resource Conservation and Tourism recognises the need to improve forecasting monitoring and research of weather elements to contribute to the wider global community’s efforts in combating the effects of climate change,” says minister Kereng in a statement released to celebrate World Meteorological Day under the theme ‘The Ocean, our climate and weather’. She also added that “meteorological observations form the basis for climate knowledge”.

Drought, low rainfall patterns, heat waves and the drying up of main rivers are some of the problems that clearly show that climate change is having an impact in Botswana. Whilst a move towards less-polluting forms of energy and transport would be instrumental towards addressing climate change impacts and deliver much-needed savings to Botswana’s budget bottom line, research shows that a minimum of 25 years of data and longer periods is ideal for making climate models which would be instrumental in making informed policies.

According to the United Nations University Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources, regional data sharing policies in southern Africa should be changed to make data easily available in Botswana for policymaking and the creation of resilient strategies towards climate change.

Among other things, Kereng said her ministry “is in the process of installing at least 150 automatic rain gauges throughout the country to enhance its observation network”. She added that Botswana has a network of 32 automatic weather station and about 600 rainfall stations, which form part of the global observation network.

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