The majority of all disasters worldwide are related to (extreme) weather conditions, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). This affects less developed countries most. KNMI has been working with dozens of international partners since its establishment more that 160 years ago. In current times, climate change makes global cooperation even more important. That is why a three-year program, called ‘KNMI-global’, is started in collaboration with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.
Hurricanes, heatwaves, floods, and drought are phenomena that occurred throughout history. However, because of climate change, the intensity and resulting damage and number of victims are increasing. We see this happening around us in the Netherlands and in Europe, but generally developing countries are hit hardest by extreme weather events. The World Bank calls Africa 'the region that is most exposed to the consequences of climate change'. Often because they lack the means to adapt to the changing climate.
The goal is to close the big difference in capacity between the more developed and developing countries
That is why climate adaptation was on the agenda of the Cop26 Climate Summit in Glasgow in November 2021. The WMO calls on the meteorological services such as KNMI to provide expertise to assist countries that are affected by climate change and have fewer resources to properly adapt. The goal is to close the big difference in capacity between the more developed and developing countries. The KNMI-Global initiative is a response to this call for assistance and directly contributes to the sustainable development goals (SDGs).
Setting up the KNMI-Global program we looked carefully at other meteorological services such as those of Finland, Switzerland and the United Kingdom that have been doing this much longer and more extensive. KNMI also gained valuable experiences from its long standing cooperation with the Caribbean part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Indonesia and Surinam.
Previous experiences indicate that KNMI can contribute to products and services needed by many developing countries. Examples are the preparation of regional climate scenarios, improved seasonal forecasts, climate data collections, digitization of old weather data, research into sea level rise, improved volcanic monitoring, and applications of satellite observations.
The information provided should directly enhance the capabilities of users
It is not only important to have better data, or more observations, or better weather and climate models. It is also important that this information leads to concrete action by users. That is why KNMI likes to cooperate with partners from both public and private sectors to jointly maximize the impact.