The Ghana Meteorological Agency (GMet) has launched an online webpage that allows the public to access information on the weather and other climate-related information on the Internet.
The initiative, which will make data on climate available to a cross-section of stakeholders, is to help build resilience against the negative impacts of climate variability in the agricultural and health sectors and also influence the development of policies.
Users can monitor the current season by logging onto http://www.meteo.gov.gh/website/ or maps.meteo.gov.gh:89/maproom/ where different maps and graphs compare the mean of the current data to that of other years.
With over 30-year data on rainfall and temperature, visitors to the website can visualise and download climate information.
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At the launch of the initiative, known as Enhancing National Climate Services System (ENACTS), in Accra yesterday, attended by participants, including peasant farmers, representatives of civil society, academia and policy makers, it was revealed that the system would also improve availability, access and use of relevant climate information at different levels.
The ENACTS is being promoted by GMet, in collaboration with the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) of the Columbia University in the United States of America, the USAID and the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT).
The ENACTS combines quality controlled data from national observation networks with satellite and global models for superior accuracy and sharper analysis and estimates of rainfall and temperatures.
It also provides climate information involving historical analysis, monitoring and prediction tools.
The President of the Africa International Institute of Mathematics and the Sciences, Prof. Francis Kofi Ampenyin Allotey, said: “It is good we are taking data on the weather very important, since lack of data in Ghana and Africa in general is a major challenge to effective decision making. With good climate data, farmers and fishermen can know when to plant and when to go to sea.”
Climate change, he added, was a reality and that it was only with concrete data that “we can know how to adapt and mitigate its effects”.
A meteorologist at GMet, Mr Patrick Lamptey, said the agency was currently challenged by inadequate human resource, shortage of instruments and a reduction of its observation stations.
GMet, which had about 480 observation stations across the country in the past, now has about 100, as some systems have either broken down or become obsolete.
The agency, he said, was also faced with the challenge of gaps in data and research funding and cost recovery from its debtors.
The Director General of GMet, Group Captain Stephen Komla, expressed the hope that the provision of online services would help improve on the livelihoods of the people for accelerated national development.