UN pushes for global strategy to deal with national droughts
WMO secretary general Michel Jarraud, said the U.S. situation underlined global vulnerability to a to a natural hazard that is expected to increase in frequency in the future.
“Climate change is projected to increase the frequency, intensity, and duration of droughts, with impacts on many sectors, in particular food, water, and energy. We need to move away from a piecemeal, crisis-driven approach and develop integrated risk-based national drought policies.”
He said WMO, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and other UN agencies were stepping up efforts to manage drought risk to fill the existing vacuum in virtually every nation.
UNCCD executive secretary Luc Gnacadja, said the U.S. drought and the ongoing food crisis in the Sahel region of West Africa – including Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Chad – showed both developed and developing countries were vulnerable.
“Effective long-term solutions to mitigate the effects of drought, and address desertification and land degradation urgently need to be mainstreamed in national development plans and policies.”
WMO, UNCCD and other UN partners are organizing a high-level meeting on national drought policy from Mar. 11-15 next year.
U.S. Drought Monitor data has showed the percentage of the country in extreme to exceptional drought doubled, from 10% in June to 22% in July. An update on Aug. 16 said there were a few notable improvements – notably in the Midwest – and some serious degradation.
The latest U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) report highlighted the weak Southwest monsoon in India which led to deficient rainfall in 50% of the 624 districts in the country through the end of July.
NOAA State of the Climate Global Analysis July 2012 said the globally-averaged temperature for July 2012 marked the fourth warmest July since record keeping began in 1880, and the warmest in the U.S.