From: Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences
Published November 8, 2017 02:45 PM

Major Return on Investment from Improving Climate Observations

The flip side is also true, said lead author Elizabeth Weatherhead, a scientist with CIRES at the University of Colorado Boulder. The cost of failing to invest in improving our ability to predict and plan for droughts, floods, extreme heat events, famine, sea level rise and changes in freshwater availability could reach hundreds of billions of dollars each year, she and her colleagues wrote. Their paper is published in the current edition of Earth’s Future, an online journal of the American Geophysical Union.

“Improving our understanding of climate not only offers large societal benefits but also significant economic returns,“ Weatherhead said. “We’re not specifying which measurement (or observing) systems to target, we’re simply saying it’s a smart investment to address the most pressing societal needs.”

Data generated by the current assemblage of observing systems, including NOAA’s satellite and ground-based observing systems, have yielded significant insights into important climate questions. However, coordinated development and expansion of climate observing systems are required to advance weather and climate prediction to address the scale of risks likely in the future.

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