The Director General of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), Dr. Anthony Anuforum has said that Nigeria is highly vulnerable to climate change based on the Maplesoft Climate Change Vulnerability Index, which places the country as the third most vulnerable countries in the world. He stressed that “this is an issue of serious concern that requires decisive and coordinated action”.
Anuforom therefore challenged the academic community in Nigeria to rise up and contribute its quota to the resolution of climate change issues through vigorous research and establishment of basic weather observatories across the country in other to increase the density of weather data collection in Nigeria.
Anuforom made the call while delivering the Lecture of the 17th Convocation Ceremony of the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT), Enugu recently and pledged the readiness of his agency to collaborate and provide guidance to ensure that such observatories are set up and operated in compliance with World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) standards.
In the Lecture titled: “Weather Observation, Modelling and Forecasting for Managing Climate Change Impacts”, Anforom remarked that considering the “cross-cutting and multifaceted nature of climate change issues, greater inter-disciplinary research is recommended as no single organisation, Ministry, Department or Agency can tackle it alone.
Allaying the fears of the academic community on the potential capital outlay needed to fund the establishment of the said Weather Observatories, the Director General said conventional instruments for weather observation are relatively inexpensive and therefore affordable, insisting that it is within the reach of universities and other institutions to establish them.
He said the deluge of data that can potentially be collected by such observatories would not only increase the body of knowledge in the subject matter, but also help in addressing the challenges of climate change in Nigeria.
He also noted that despite the vulnerability of Nigeria to climate change, the federal government has made huge efforts to combat the challenges through its support for NiMet to sustain the provision of world class weather and climate services. He also acknowledged government’s support of the Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) as well as other agencies in this regard.
To guarantee sustainable success, Anuforom recommended the resuscitation and completion of the Development of a National Framework for Application of Climate Services (NFACS) which was conceptualised in 2013 to “provide a mechanism or platform that brings together climate information providers (such as NiMet), end-users, researchers and other stakeholders to facilitate the production and timely dissemination of science-based information.”
“Like the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) developed by WMO, the proposed NFACS will enable Nigerians manage the risks and opportunities arising from climate variability and change by providing science-based information to the most vulnerable and incorporating such information into planning, policy formulation and implementation at all levels of government”, the Director General said.
He further noted that in every part of Nigeria, there are indigenous methods of coping with weather and climate variability, mentioning the traditional ‘rain makers’ in the South East and other parts of Nigeria as an example of such practices based on indigenous knowledge and urged academia to carry out further research into these indigenous practices and methods of climate “adaptation with a view to establishing and documenting any underpinning science, and possibly integrating them into conventional practices”.