Peter Webster receives International Water Prize
Peter Webster has been awarded the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Creativity Prize for Water. Peter Webster is Chief Scientist and co-Founder of Climate Forecast Applications Network (CFAN).
The prize is awarded to Dr. Webster for his work on ocean-atmosphere interactions and their effect on monsoon strength, which is used to provide one to two-week lead time forecasts of monsoonal floods that often provoke catastrophic inundations in highly populated coastal regions.
Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water (PSIPW) is a leading, global scientific award focusing on cutting-edge innovation in water research. It gives recognition to scientists, researchers and inventors around the world for pioneering work that addresses the problem of water scarcity in creative and effective ways.
Peter Webster received the prize in an awards ceremony at the United Nations headquarters in New York on November 2, presided over by the U.N. General Secretary H.E. Mr. Ban Ki Moon, and by PSIPW Chairman H.R.H. Prince Khaled Bin Sultan Bin Abdulaziz.
Webster’s acceptance speech included the following comments:
"It is a great honor to receive the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Creativity Prize for Water jointly with Drs. Rita Colwell and Shafiqul Islam whose important work I have followed and admired for many years.
Flooding remains the greatest cause of death and destruction in the developing world, leading to catastrophic loss of life and property. While almost every government in Asia has made substantial progress over the past two decades in saving the lives of victims of slow-onset flood disasters, such events remain relentlessly impoverishing. The loss of crops and the purchased agricultural inputs typically place a farming family in debt for several years, by which time the cycle is generally repeated, condemning successive generations to the treadmill of poverty.
Our model successfully forecast (in hindcast mode) the Pakistan floods of 2010, 2011 and 2012. If Pakistan had ECMWF data available, they could have forecast these devastating floods themselves using our methodology as any small nation could do. This is a relatively cheap endeavor and would offer the building of resilience and the attainment sustainability for the poor of the world and allow them to anticipate risk and take action and chart their own destiny."