Humanity must be able to anticipate future climate with some reasonable degree of confidence in order to innovate and adapt successfully. The proposed Global Framework for Climate Services promises to meet the challenge of providing effective climate services for decision-making in four initial priority areas – agriculture and food security, disaster risk reduction, health and water – before expanding to provide such services to a broader spectrum of users. The first Extraordinary Session of the World Meteorological Congress, meeting in Geneva from 29 – 31 October, will decide on the implementation plan and governance model for the Global Framework for Climate Services, thus, this issue of Bulletin is dedicated to highlighting some of its principal aspects.
The lead article summarizes the Implementation Plan for the Global Framework for Climate Services – how it will bring existing initiatives together, fill gaps in observation, hone capacity in National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and open dialogue between the providers and users of climate services. In the articles that follow, we hear from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) then the World Economic Forum (WEF), both participants in the two-day Global Framework for Climate Services User Dialogue that will immediately precede Extraordinary Session. MIT introduces its model for Projecting Global and Regional Climate Impacts, Risks and Policy Implications while WEF discusses the economic global impacts associated with the risk of climate change.
Partnerships for Success – The WMO Fellowship Programme offers a glimpse at some of the more recent partnership success stories and demonstrates the potential of the WMO Fellowship Programme to contribute to the capacity development and training that will be required to implement the Global Framework for Climate Services. From ship to shore: Bringing real-time weather into the classroom highlights a recent Deutscher Wetterdienst initiative that offers students a unique opportunity to gain experience in forecasting and research.
A key issue to the success of the Global Framework for Climate Services is the provision of predictions in the sub-seasonal to seasonal time range where many management decisions in agriculture and food security, water, disaster risk reduction and health fall. However, this time scale has long been considered a “predictability desert”. This is the topic of Sub-seasonal to Seasonal Prediction Project: bridging the gap between weather and climate.
WMO through the co-sponsored World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) established the Coordinated Regional Downscaling Experiment (CORDEX) to facilitate coordination for regional climate downscaling. One important requirement of CORDEX is to improve access to existing long-term climate quality observations for the evaluation of regional climate projections in order to meet the high priority regional need of the Global Framework for Climate Services. Building Model Evaluation And Decision Support Capacity For CORDEX discusses the work currently underway in this area and the way forward.
Effective implementation of the Global Framework for Climate Services will require effective communication and outreach. Philately may be considered outmoded by some, but it remains an important means for outreach. Drought and Desertification in Postage Stamps examines how these life-threatening climate-related areas are portrayed on postage stamps and how those stamps have served to educate people on the issues and on the responses of international institutions.
Record high temperatures and drought affected large parts of the United States of America this summer, and headline and articles repeatedly pointed to climate change – global warming – as the cause. Though the Global Framework for Climate Services aims to provide sound scientific information to help users adapt to the effects of climate, can we now say that specific extreme weather events are caused, or at least exacerbated, by global warming? This is the question that Leo Hickman of The Guardian posed to several scientists in the article – Is it now possible to blame extreme weather on global warming?