Socio-Economic Applications in Public Weather Services (PWS)
Each day people, in all walks of life, make decisions that involve information about the weather and climate from simple personal actions regarding appropriate clothing to complex actions that affect major socio-economic sectors of human existence. There is, therefore, an enormous range of applications of weather, climate and water information to societal and economic development issues. It is within this context that National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) have been well positioned to identify and deal with a wide range of such issues that affect human life. It is also the reason why governments have made sizeable contributions to the operation of meteorological services.
Given the changing needs of civil society, NMHSs must constantly assess users’ current and emerging requirements for weather, water and climate information and evolve their services to meet these needs. This requires an effective dialogue between information users and information providers, as well as effective communication between the NMHS and government. Governments want to know that their investment in public information services, like all public services, has a tangible benefit to society.
As resources become more scarce, any future investment by governments will likely depend on a quantitative understanding of the impact on society and the economy of any shortfall in the provision of these public services. Hence the need for NMHSs to enhance their respective Public Weather Services (PWS) and to develop methodologies for evaluating their socio-economic impacts and demonstrate such impacts effectively.
Guidance for assisting the NMHSs to more fully assess and enhance the socio-economic benefits of weather, climate and water information is provided by the WMO Forum: Social and Economic Applications and Benefits of Weather, Climate, and Water Services, which succeded the Task Force on Socio-Economic Applications of Public Weather Services.
Presentations on Socio-economic Applications, decision support tools and case studies from the first meeting of the Task Force are available. The full results of the two meetings of the Task Force are contained in the First Meeting Report and the Second Meeting report.
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