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Investing in the Cascading Forecasting Process in Modernizing National Meteorological and Hydrological Services. WB & WMO. developing countries will continue to be exposed to frequent and extreme weather events as climate change exacerbates those extremes .

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Investing in the Cascading Forecasting Process in Modernizing National Meteorological and Hydrological Services



developing countries will continue to be exposed to frequent and extreme weather events as climate change exacerbates those extremes

world’s population has grown by 87% over the past 30 years

the proportion of the world’s population living in flood-prone river basins has increased 114%

number of people living on cyclone-exposed coastlines has increased 192%

Coping with weather, climate and water hazards

urbanization, with more than half of the global population now living in cities

weather- and climate-sensitive diseases kill more than 1 million each year


NMHSs are small but important public sector agencies – with budgets of usually about 0.01 to 0.05 percent of national GDP and total annual public funding globally of more than US$15 billion.



As a 2008 WMO survey indicates

there are widespread deficiencies in hydrometeorological observing networks, telecommunications, and informatics systems and very limited … capacities in data management and product customization

hazard warning capacities are uneven, even non-existent in some countries, while warning programs often do not address all significant meteorological and hydrological hazards

The survey shows that many NMHSs have limited financial resources to sustain their operation and a weak legal mandate

WMO & WB assessments indicate over 100 NMHSs need modernization


Some figures:

High priority modernization investments estimated to cost between $1-2 billion

Additional O&M costs between US$400 and US$500 million

upgrading all hydrometeorological information production and early-warning capacity in developing countries would save an average of 23,000 lives annually and would provide between US$3 billion and US$30 billion per year in additional economic benefits related to disaster reduction


Under funding of NMHSs has led to

Poor quality of services resulting in substantial human and financial losses

Adeterioration of meteorological and hydrological observation networks and outdated technology,

Alack of modern equipment and forecasting methods,

Insufficient support for research and development, and

An erosion of the workforce resulting in a lack of trained specialists

gfdrr hydromet priority countries
GFDRR hydromet priority countries

Large scale modernization of NMHSs in implementation

Country assessments


Modernizing NMHSs

  • World Bank Approach:
  • Enhance service delivery:
  • better decision support
  • better communications/deliver systems
  • better interaction with users
  • Improve forecasting systems and observing networks
  • Strengthen Infrastructure
    • legal and regulatory, management

internationally supported NMHSs modernization efforts in the developing world have achieved only limited success so far, owing to:

A lack of government and development agencies’ understanding of the value of the NMHSs and a lack of commitment to maintain their operations;

A preoccupation with project time‐scale installation of hardware without adequate provision for training, ongoing maintenance, consumables, and other continuing technical support;

A multiplicity of uncoordinated projects from different donors, each with its own assistance policies, objectives, and equipment suppliers, without sufficient regard to the individual NMHSs’ entire needs, circumstances, and priorities; and

The technical complexity of the projects.



Modernization projects increase annual O&M in most instances

Governments are often reluctant to increase operating budget

Essential to keep aspirations realistic

SWFDP is a least regrets strategy for creating a more sustainable, reliable, timely and accurate forecasting system


Potential pilots (following Alice’s presentation):

  • Sustaining and strengthening existing RSMCs to create a fully functional regional centers aimed at regional integration of hydro‐meteorological forecasting guidance;
  • Expanding the role of existing RSMCs with activity specialization in Tropical Cyclones into an RSMC with activity specialization in forecasting hazardous hydro‐ meteorological phenomena;
  • Establishing new RSMCs/RFSCs to support the SWFDP in new regions.

Existing financial mechanisms

  • Specialized donor supported programs, such as the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR), which is providing funding for several large scale modernization efforts of NMHSs;
  • Countries accessing credits or grants from the international financial institutions (e.g. World Bank) and UN Agencies (e.g. UNDP) to support NMHSs modernization programs;
  • Regional and bilateral donor driven initiatives that can incorporate both regional and national activities;
  • Donor support directly to SWFDP;
  • WMO supported voluntary contribution program (VCP). It provides support for training, capacity building and minor investments.

Long term goal: establish a sustained financial mechanism that would provide the

regional and global support for operational continuity of “CFP”