Public Release: 

Countries most affected by weather disasters do not spend more on weather services

Global disparity in the supply of commercial weather and climate information services

American Association for the Advancement of Science

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IMAGE: Map showing countries' Climate Risk Index score in green (a lower score and darker color means higher risk of suffering from extreme weather) and per capita spending on commercial weather... view more 

Credit: Lucien Georgeson, kMatrix, Germanwatch, OpenStreetMap contributors

Countries Most Affected by Weather Disasters Do Not Spend More on Weather Services: Countries hit hardest by weather-related disasters do not necessarily spend more on commercial weather and climate information services that assist in preparing for these events, a new study finds. Identifying countries for which this is true and improving the design and delivery of weather and climate services in these locations could lead to better decision-making regarding risks and challenges, ultimately helping to save lives, protect infrastructure, and move people out of poverty. Lucien Georgeson and colleagues studied private and public organizations' spending on weather and climate information services in over 180 countries between 2010 and 2015, identifying imbalances based on region and development status. In general, there was no relationship between countries most affected by weather events and spending per capita, the authors say. The region that spent the most was East Asia and the Pacific at $16.5 billion in 2014-2015, whereas Sub-Saharan Africa spent less than $1.4 billion in the same time period. On average, very highly developed countries spent $21.36 per capita, while countries classified as low-income by the World Bank spent less than $1 per capita, on average. However, developing countries committed a higher percentage of their gross domestic product to weather and climate information services, perhaps indicating these countries recognize the value of such services. Taken together, the findings indicate a need to increase information services for the most climate-vulnerable developing countries, the authors say, especially as some researchers have argued that poverty reduction in a number of countries, particularly in Africa, has been "held back" by recent climate variability and extremes.

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