IFRC/IRI map room

The urgent need to incorporate climate information into risk reduction and decision-making is being evidenced by the frequency and intensity of climatic disasters around the world.

In 2013, for example, the World Meteorological Organization said rising sea levels were already making coastal communities like the ones devastated by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines more vulnerable.

The IFRC and Climate Centre began a partnership with the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) at Columbia University in New York in 2007 to develop and supply tailored forecasting and monitoring products to help Red Cross Red Crescent disaster managers worldwide predict, prepare for and respond to disasters.

This digital IFRC “map room”, as it’s called, includes forecasts in context as well as information on possible early action.

On the shortest timescale, six-day forecasts show where and how much heavy rainfall is expected in that period; likewise three-month forecasts, which also include expected light rainfall.

Maps of past conditions show rainfall patterns that can be expected for El Niño, La Niña and average years.

Other maps show what rainfall has been like for the past century, as well as population density and child mortality to suggest regions most vulnerable to heavy rain or its opposite, drought.