A new Mediterranean Climate Outlook Forum (MedCOF) has been established to generate consensus seasonal forecasts for the Mediterranean region and northern African region as part of WMO’s drive to increase the availability of user-friendly climate services.An initial scoping meeting was held at the headquarters of the State Meteorological Agency of Spain (AEMET) in Madrid (Spain), from 12 to 14 June 2013. The meeting was co-sponsored by WMO and AEMET and its main objective was to establish and outline the stakeholders, their responsibilities and the scope of this forum. More than 20 representatives from Europe and Africa attended.
MedCOF will cover all countries in the Mediterranean region, including countries covered by two existing sub-regional climate outlook forums in South East Europe and North Africa, which will co-ordinate their activities with those of MedCOF.
WMO is promoting Regional Climate Outlook Forums in many parts of the world to build on scientific advances in seasonal forecasting and provide climate outlooks which can be used by agricultural, water, health and disaster management communities, among others. This is in line with the objectives of the Global Framework for Climate Services.
Due to the difficulty of seasonal forecasts, it is important that National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and other service providers agree their forecasts by consensus, thus avoiding diverse and potentially conflicting messages which would cause confusion and lack of confidence among user.
Seasonal predictability is low in the Mediterranean region. The Madrid meeting therefore discussed ways to overcome this problem, as well as the outputs to be generated, forum coordination mechanisms and target user communities.
MedCOF will have three main components: operational generation of seasonal forecasts for the Mediterranean region (in a first stage for winter and summer); capacity development among participating NMHSs; and strengthening of communications with users and media.