Recent IPCC statements on climate change indicates that to detect changes in the climate system it is crucial to study the natural variability of the undisturbed climate with long period records of quality climate observations. Most countries have conscientiously taken observations of the weather, recorded them either manually or automatically, transcribed them onto preset paper forms. Unfortunately, some of these precious and invaluable data have not been transcribed from the paper forms due to the lack of funds, computer systems (hardware and software) and adequate trained staff. Most of the paper forms are now at risk of being lost due to rapid deterioration of the medium. It is of importance to rescue, preserve and digitize such climate data. However, it cannot be stressed enough that in addition to the historical data, all current data whether from manual stations or Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) must be made available in digital form as well.
The Climate Data Rescue and Management project is a high priority within WMO Programs as it is critically important to ensure that current and future generations of scientists and other data users have access to all the information necessary for their studies and projects. This will enable better assessments of projections of the climate which can serve as input for the policy makers to mitigate loss due to natural disasters and provide increased information for economic development.