Asia-Pacific economies have been suffering from extreme temperatures since late 2015 to the early months of this year, the APEC bloc reported.
In Papua New Guinea, 2.7 million people are affected by drought, a quarter of whom face critical food shortage. Last year, Vietnam reportedly experienced the worst drought in nearly a century.
The government said that the Mekong River, which supplies irrigation to the economy’s “rice bowl” in the south, was at its lowest level since 1926. Affected by drought, Malaysia's vegetable exports have fallen, causing prices to soar in its neighboring economies.
The Asia-Pacific region usually bears the brunt of the effects of a changing climate, which is why climate predictions resulting from collaboration between APEC economies are an important breakthrough, especially for vulnerable economies.
Called the Multi-Model Ensemble (MME), this tool forecasts temperature and rainfall patterns for up to three months. This advance notice will allow governments, industries, and communities to plan for and mitigate the effects of extreme weather and climate events.
"The forecasts proved extremely important as we experienced the 2015-2016 El Nino event," said Neil Plummer from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. "The forecasts provide the international community with a highly valuable resource for climate adaptation and risk management," he added.
The APEC Climate Center (APCC) develops these forecasts using data gathered from 17 agencies and research organizations.
A decade of collaboration
Led by the APCC, the tool is a product of a 10-year collaboration between meteorologists and climate change scientists from the APEC member-economies. The center draws expertise from many of the region’s most technically advanced weather and climate organizations, including the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, the Japan Meteorological Administration, the Meteorological Service of Canada, and the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
According to Dr Jin Ho Yoo, APCC Climate Prediction Team leader, the center facilitated an exchange of seasonal climate information and prediction technologies with the overall goal of reducing the impact of climate-related disasters.
"The Asia-Pacific region includes many economies that are highly vulnerable to climate change," said Dr Yoo.
"Responding to climate change is not simply a matter of building new infrastructure. It is more important to make society more resilient to the effects of short-term climate fluctuations, such as drought and flooding," he added.
According the official, climate prediction, and seasonal forecasting can act as an early warning system of these fluctuations and prepare economies for climate events that could impact their populations.
"It’s vital that the Asia-Pacific has a proper mechanism for producing and sharing long-range forecasting information and techniques," he said.
Besides this tool’s forecasting, "the climate center undertakes multiple research projects that aim to improve the quality of climate information and make that data more usable to multiple government agencies."
"Through the platform provided by the center, we maximize the utility of our collective knowledge on climate systems," he added.
As is known, Peru holds the 2016 APEC Presidency.