NASA will share climate data with Thailand
The United States’ space agency NASA said last week it will make its data on climate change available to Thailand and other Lower Mekong countries to help them cope with natural disasters, as the United Nations announced it will open a Regional Collaboration Center in Bangkok to help promote and fund carbon offset programs in the region.
Charles Bolden Jr., chief administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) made the announcement during a visit to Bangkok. NASA is working with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to expand its program called SERVIR, an acronym standing for the Spanish words meaning Mesoamerican Regional Visualization and Monitoring System. Originally launched in Central America, SERVIR takes data from satellites and processes them through advanced ground-based computing systems to provide information to policymakers.
In Thailand, NASA and USAID will work with the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center to provide information to the Kingdom and its neighbors. Called the SERVIR-Mekong project and slated to continue for five years, its offices will be housed at the Center’s headquarters near Bangkok. The partnership illustrates how the Thai-U.S. relationship spans a wide range of areas beyond defense, security and commerce.
The United Nations has said Thailand is one of the countries that is already most affected by climate change. The NASA chief told Voice of America news service that he believes without a doubt that significant climate change has occurred since he had lived in Bangkok in 1972-1973, while he was a fighter pilot in the Vietnam War.
“I’ve already noticed it’s not the same Thailand from a climate standpoint,” recalling downpours that would drench Bangkok like clockwork between 3 and 4 p.m. “The weather patterns have changed, the climate has changed,” he said.
The project will make use of daily, real-time satellite information coupled with over 30 years of archival earth science data. It will give policy makers and farmers in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam ways to mitigate climate change effects. In addition, it can be useful in disaster planning and relief and in preparedness for floods and droughts.
Also last week, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) launch a new Regional Collaboration Center to promote the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) carbon offset program in Bangkok, Thailand, the fifth such center in the world.
The new center will help nations in the Asia-Pacific region identify and design successful carbon offset projects, while also reducing transaction costs across the program.
Thailand Focus September 8, 2015
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