Accra, March 23, GNA - A 60,000 - Euro modern observation and communication equipment, which could be used in flood forecasting and monitoring of landslide risk was commissioned in Accra on Wednesday. The equipment known as the Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) satellite would also be used to provide better and timely information in the field of water development and management, food security, flood damage assessment and agriculture management.
The equipment donated by the European Union could also be used in assessing forest fire risk, land cover changes, pest monitoring and provide information for the aviation sector.
The installation of the MSG satellite would save the Ghana Meteorological Agency (formerly Meteorological Services, Ghana) 100 million cedis annually to plot maps, print as well as circulate information to other stations in the country.
Launching the equipment, Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah, Minister of Communication, challenged the Ghana Meteorological Agency (GMA) to take advantage of the emerging commercial opportunities to expand and generate income.
Mr Kan-Dapaah also urged the GMA to motivate its staff with incentives in order to maintain them and improve on its operational duties.
The occasion coincided with the celebration of this year's World Meteorological Day being observed under theme: "Weather, Climate, Water and Sustainable Development."
The Day has been set aside by the United Nations Convention to commemorate the setting up of the World Meteorological Organisation since 1950.
Mr Kan-Dapaah said the Government was intensely concerned about the impact of climatic conditions on the economic growth and attainment of poverty reduction targets.
"That is why over the past years government has systematically set in motion a process aimed at transforming the Ghana Meteorological Service.
"Consistent to this, Government's policy initiatives are geared towards the provision of weather and climate information for the protection of life and property, mitigation of disasters, support of agricultural production, management of water resources as well as well as application to wide range of socio-economic activities including navigation."
He, therefore, urged all to guard jealously against activities that would result in changes in the weather and climatic patterns that would lead to land degradation and desertification.
He said with the passage of Ghana Meteorological Agency (GMA) Bill by Parliament last year behoved GMA to meet the challenges ahead. Mr Kan-Dapaah paid tribute to the Management and Staff for contributing to improving on the image of the Agency and them to adopt a business-like approach in their duties.
He said the Ministry would support the GMA to stand firm on its feet so that it could realise its full potential and play its roles as an important partner in the nation's agenda for sustainable development. Professor Ofori Sarpong, Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana and a Climatologist, who chaired the function, said world economies were becoming sensitive to weather and climate as they influenced every human endeavour.
"It behoves on World Meteorological Organisation and National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHS) to help avert and minimize the impacts of extreme events such as climate change, ozone depletion desertification and droughts, among other things," he said. Professor Sarpong pointed out that global warming caused by greenhouse effect, climate change, depletion of ozone layer, decreasing fresh water resources, atmospheric and water pollution were new challenges facing the world.
He, therefore, called for more research to find out the relationship between weather, climate and human health, "as the depletion of the ozone layer could have serious consequence on human health".
The Pro-Vice Chancellor called on the Government to assist the Agency in the training and retaining of staff and provide a library to enhance productivity.
He urged the Agency to compile summaries of climatic elements for publication and research.
Mr Franklin P. Mote, Director-General of GMA, announced that the University of Ghana would from next academic year establish a Department of Meteorology to run programmes.
"It is my hope that these new developments would help to solve some of the problems and enable the Agency to improve and expand its services to meet challenges."
He thanked the Dutch government for providing funds to rehabilitate the Agency's 307 stations nationwide.