Research ArticleCLIMATOLOGY

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

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Science Advances  24 May 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 5, e1602632
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1602632


Information about weather and climate is vital for many areas of decision-making, particularly under conditions of increasing vulnerability and uncertainty related to climate change. We have quantified the global commercial supply of weather and climate information services. Although government data are sometimes freely available, the interpretation and analysis of those data, alongside additional data collection, are required to formulate responses to specific challenges in areas such as health, agriculture, and the built environment. Using transactional data, we analyzed annual spending by private and public organizations on commercial weather and climate information in more than 180 countries by industrial sector, region, per capita, and percentage of GDP (gross domestic product) and against the country’s climate and extreme weather risk. There are major imbalances regarding access to these essential services between different countries based on region and development status. There is also no relationship between the level of climate and weather risks that a country faces and the level of per capita spending on commercial weather and climate information in that country. At the international level, action is being taken to improve access to information services. With a better understanding of the flows of commercial weather and climate information, as explored in this study, it will be possible to tackle these regional and development-related disparities and thus to increase resilience to climate and weather risks.

  • weather & climate services
  • weather & climate information services
  • weather services
  • climate services
  • climate data
  • weather data
  • climate risk
  • extreme weather risk
  • climate change
  • global framework for climate services

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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