The Solomon Islands Meteorological Service (SIMS) is slowing moving away from the traditional weather and climate forecasts that describes what the weather will be and is working towards implementing an improved form of weather forecasting called Impact Based Forecasting and Warning Services (IBFWS) to help reduce the high impacts of hydrometeorological events.
Impact-based forecasting provides the information needed to act before disasters to minimise the socio-economic costs of weather and climate hazards and to some extent, loss of lives. Organisations and individuals can make critical decisions to ensure that resources and supplies are in place to take early action and to respond as soon as it is safe to do so.
To better implement, the IBFWS a workshop is currently underway in Honiara for SIMS, NDMO and its stakeholders to help them better understand the system better.
Opening the workshop Deputy Secretary Technical Mr Channel Iroi said since the Solomon Islands is ranked second globally in terms of disaster risk, our infrastructure and economy continue to be affected by this climate events.
“As we are experiencing now, the potholes continue to grow due to the rainfall and we are just few months into the wet season, and this will have huge implication on our economy this year. Every year, we continue to experience climate impacts even to the extent of losing properties and lives despite SIMS providing information on such events with ample lead times. Climate and natural hazards will continue to put pressure on our development aspirations,” Mr Iroi said.
He further stated that even if our people have lived and thrived in these islands for ages, we must look at other alternatives to provide information to the public given the changing climatic conditions we are facing today.
In the Solomon Islands, about 80% of the people live in rural area where there is lack of proper communication system and low literacy rate. Therefor the challenge in terms of accessing early warning is not only difficulty in accessing information but also understanding the information.
The IBFWS therefore comes with opportunity for the country to address some of the weather related challenges, especially with understanding scientific jargons.
“The implementation of Impact Based Forecasting Services will help the most vulnerable communities in understanding forecasts and warnings and more importantly enable people to make the right decision or responses,” Mr Iroi concluded
The training workshop sponsored by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) through the Climate Risk Early Warning Systems (CREWS) will end on Friday 27th January 2023.