Management of the Ghana Meteorological Agency meets with Fellows of the Climate Change Journalism Fellowship organised by the Media Foundation for West Africa.

The Ghana Meteorological Agency (GMet) is set to commence the country's first-ever climate forecasting.

The exercise, which would fall on past and present climatological data to make projections, would see the weather forecasting institute develop a climate atlas for Ghana by the end of the project's first phase.

The three-year project, beginning in March 2023, is a fully-funded partnership with the Danish Meteorological Institute following a memorandum of understanding signed between the Institute and the Ghana Meteorological Agency.

The state agency since its establishment in 1886 is known for providing daily and seasonal weather forecasts.

But a climate forecast would be an additional mandate for the institute and a tool to better understand Ghana’s changing climate.

Fifty meteorologists are currently being trained with relevant skills for collecting, processing and archiving data for climate forecasts.

Director of the Ghana Meteorological Agency, Eric Essuman, attributes delays in the agency’s capabilities in the past years to predict the country’s climate to the lack of logistical requirement and inadequate personnel.

He made the revelation when a team of West African Climate Change Journalists and the
Media Foundation for West Africa paid an institutional visit to be abreast with the activities of the agency.

“It costs a lot to be able to do Climate projections. With developing a climate atlas, there has to be a lot of user engagements to come up with a good one which will be relevant to them. And, this is costly. We used to have only six people in the research and applied meteorology department with only two of this number serving under the climate department,” Director of GMet revealed on why the project delayed.

The project would also include an economic impact assessment of the agency on how it influences diverse sectors of the Ghanaian economy.

Climate Atlas for socio-economic development

The rains are setting in earlier than their unusual periods. Precipitation, either in the form of rain or snow, are intense contributing to heavy flooding. Fertile lands are strangling with temperature increase. Communities along the coast are disappearing due to rising sea levels.

These extreme weather conditions are attributable to the earth’s changing climate.

Now more than ever, a developed climate atlas for Ghana would facilitate in streamlining activities to adapt to the changing climate.

The Climate Atlas provides one of the clearest assessments available of the climate and biodiversity benefits that a given landscape in a country provides.

Some benefits of a climate atlas include;

  1. Viewing baseline information on the health and status of a landscape, and actions taken by the government to protect it.
  2. Identifying which public lands provides the best viabilities for sequestering and storing carbon, supporting wildlife and species richness, and protecting biodiversity.

Director of GMet, Eric Essuman, indicated the atlas when developed would be an asset owned by local authorities at the regional and/or district levels to inspire policy-making and solutions.

“It’s about time we developed an atlas for the country. We are bringing the project to the community level. So this atlas will have regional or probably district climate projections. If we are able to do that, the locals will own it and know the importance of it to their administration,” he said.

The writer is a fellow of the Climate Change Journalism Fellowship (CCJF) Programme by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), a non-for-profit media development and freedom of expression organization based in Ghana but working across West Africa. The Fellowship trains journalists to promote climate change awareness and responses through increased and quality media reporting and public education. To learn more about the fellowship, click here or visit the (climate change journalism fellowship)

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