The Minister of Communications, Professor Mike Oquaye, has urged Ghanaians to pay more attention to issues relating to weather forecast since it had a lot of implications for livelihoods as well as survival on earth.
"Changes at higher latitudes can and do have significant impact on all ecosystems and on all human societies, regardless of the geographic latitudes,” he said.
This was contained in a speech read on his behalf at the opening of an exhibition by Ghana Meteorological Agency (GMA) to mark World Metrological Day, which fell on Friday, March 23.
"In Ghana, sea level rise could have serious impact on coastal resources and the attendant socio-economic consequences could be severe,” he said.
The Day is used to commemorate the coming into force on March 23, 1950 of the United Nations Convention establishing the World Meteorological Organisation, which has the mandate of monitoring global weather and climate.
The exhibition by the GMA was to showcase the tools and instruments used in the monitoring and forecasting of the weather and climate in Ghana, as well as highlight some of the activities of the Agency. It was also to give an insight to the public about how the meteorologist went about his work.
The global theme for the day, in line with focusing attention on the renewed interest in the climate and the environmental conditions in the Polar Regions is: "Polar Meteorology; Understanding Global Impacts". The local theme is "Polar Meteorology; Understanding Global Impacts and the Implications for Ghana."
The theme was also chosen in recognition of the importance of setting aside 2007 to 2008 as International Polar Year by the United Nations.
Prof. Oquaye said although the Polar Regions were generally distant from widely populated zones, there was a great need for reliable weather forecasts in these areas as forecasts were needed for the protection of indigenous communities and in support of maritime operations as well as for oil and gas explorations and production.
He said the effects of global warming in the two polar regions were linked to the rest of the earth's climate systems such as a decrease in the perennial sea ice, the melting ice caps in the poles which would lead to rising sea levels that could pose problems for many small Island States and all other low lying coastal areas of the world.
He urged Ghanaians to resolve to give the GMA the needed support and acknowledgement in its role of safeguarding the environment to enhance the economic and social wellbeing of society in areas such as food security, water resources and transport.
Prof. Oquaye pledged that government, on its part would continue to support the GMA to realise its full potentials in providing the right data, information and services.
The acting Director of GMA, Mr. Zenedeme Minia, said as a result of human interference with the climate system, there were clear indications that the earth and its atmosphere were getting warmer and that global climate was changing.
"There have been significant reductions in the size of Polar ice caps and the extent of sea ice in the polar regions of the world due to melting as a result of increasing temperatures. The consequences that the additional liquid water would lead to increase in the level of the sea and the socio-economic impact of sea level rise on coastal areas of the country could be enormous," he said.
Mr. Minia said the need for a continuous monitoring of the weather and the climate of the earth could not be over-emphasised as a long and reliable past record was necessary for determining future trends in the weather and climate.
Some of the tools on display included the meteorological balloon, used in measuring the vertical wind profile, wind vane, used in monitoring the direction of the wind, Stevenson's Screen Housing used in determining humidity and temperature, evaporation pan, rain gauge and rain recorder, sunshine recorder, and a combination anemometer.