According to The Asahi Shimbun today, Japan has been exporting the results of one of its most advanced technologies for free, giving dozens of countries information that could save millions of lives.
The Japan Meteorological Agency’s numerical weather prediction technology is now used in more than 40 countries, mainly in Asia, where increasing instances of abnormal weather phenomena are posing threats to farming industries and communities.
The JMA on 17 Nov opened its eighth training session on how to use the huge volumes of observation data collected from around the world. The agency uses supercomputers to process the information for simulations of future weather conditions at certain locations.
Weather forecasters from 14 countries and one region in Asia including Pakistan and Myanmar, joined this year’s training session ends on 20 Nov.
In predicting weather patterns one month in advance, JMA meteorologists offered such advice as first finding data showing signs that low- and high-atmospheric pressure systems are developing.
“I hope we can utilize highly accurate forecasts like Japan’s for agriculture,” said Le Ha, a participant from the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting in Vietnam.
The JMA uses software to analyse the data to predict changes in pressure and the movements of the front. Countries receive the data from a 20-kilometer-square-grid model to make various types of weather forecasts, such as one-month predictions.
Accuracy depends on the amount of observation data available and the capacity of a supercomputer. Japan is now competing with the United States and Britain, which are also providing data to various countries.
The JMA started providing data to overseas countries around 2007.
Designated as a regional climate centre by the World Meteorological Organization in 2009, the JMA has been playing a leadership role for Asian climate services.
The seminars and workshops for Asian weather forecasters are part of the effort.
The data are also provided to Kenya, Libya and Fiji.
“If the Japanese model is used around the world, it will increase our chances of correcting defects, which will eventually improve the accuracy of forecasting on the part of Japan,” said Kazutoshi Onogi, director of the JMA’s Tokyo Climate Centre.
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