World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

The world meteorological organization’s contribution to improved decision making for climate adaptation

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The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report states that warming of the climate system is unequivocal and that the cause is very likely due to the anthropogenic greenhouse gases concentration. Climate change is caused by carbon-intensive world economic development and in turn affects sustainable development due to increased climate risks. Therefore the report underscores the need to advance rapidly in both mitigation of emissions of greenhouse gases and adaptation to the local and global effects of climate change to provide a pathway to secure sustainable development. Moreover, adaptation is the only response available for the impacts that will occur over the next decades till the mitigation measures can have effect.

Since the Third Assessment Report the confidence in global atmospheric or Earth system models has increased and they provide credible quantitative estimates of future climate change, particularly at continental scale. However, for climate adaptation, projections of future climate are required at regional, national and local scales where confidence in model outputs is still low.  Nevertheless, decisions will have to be taken under conditions of uncertainty by adopting precautionary principles. Adaptive management approaches will not only require a coherent policy framework from governments, but also high quality climate information and tools for risk management through better and systematic monitoring, assessments and predictions at the regional, national and even local scales.

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