Reaching Users with Climate Services

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing humankind. We have the means today to bring life-saving information to those who need it most, and a responsibility to make this a reality.

WMO has taken the lead in addressing this challenge. At the World Climate Conference-3, WMO was asked to convene a Taskforce to explore how climate knowledge could be put into action. The report of the Taskforce, Climate Knowledge for Action: A Global Framework for Climate Services – Empowering the most vulnerable, was launched in May 2011.

This issue of the WMO Bulletin contributes to the discussion on reaching users with climate services. We explore:

  • The case for a Global Framework for Climate Services
  • What users need (perspectives from various sectors)
  • Effective outreach for climate services.

Reaching the most vulnerable

Our opening articles make the case for providing climate services to a wide range of people in society. An interview with Jan Egeland, Co-Chair of the High-Level Taskforce for the Global Framework for Climate Services, notes that the Taskforce was unanimous in concluding that climate services can be made available rapidly to those who need them most.

To do so, we need to “connect the dots” by using what is available, and by bridging the gaps. An accompanying article answers frequently asked questions about how we can best deliver climate services through a global framework.

What users need

Climate services are needed by all parts of society. This issue of the Bulletin features voices from the sectors of health, financial services and media.

In the health sector, collaboration between health researchers and the Kenyan Meteorological Service has brought new insight to the debates linking malaria to a rise in temperatures in the East African highlands.

A companion article outlines collaborative trends in health early warning systems and includes a summary of climate-sensitive diseases. It shows the scope for partnership between the health and meteorological communities to protect human health through health early warning systems.
In the financial sector, banks, investors, insurers and reinsurers are important users of climate services. A survey of 60 financial institutions around the world shows how climate information is becoming more important in the decisions made by bankers and investors and outlines priorities by sector.

The growing demand for climate information from the financial sector is driving the development of operational climate forecasting, and a new supply chain linking scientists, financial markets and regulators is in the making. Two articles touch on this trend, with a history of climate modelling, and an interview about partnership between financial and scientific analysts.

A perspective from the media sector is offered by The New York Times Dot. Earth blog columnist, who asks for agility and responsiveness to new online media, as we tap opportunities presented by the rise in use of mobile phones and social media.

Effective outreach

Communicating climate information effectively is challenging, and takes many forms. It can range from broad sensitization through education and media, to reports for specific sectors, conferences bringing together various communities in new ways, targeted communication of specific warnings and more.

We include a few case examples as food for thought. In education, we feature the forthcoming Student Climate Research Campaign, and share views on how experience-based science education can contribute to a young generation that is informed about science issues. An interview with a volunteer observing network shows how people can learn about climate by being involved in data collection, and make a valuable contribution to science. Finally, a photo essay chronicles some of the changes around us, and suggests how photographers and meteorologists can work together to sensitize a broader public.

The next issue will feature more user needs from various sectors and effective outreach practices. Please contact us if you have valuable cases and insights which you would like to share with Bulletin readers.


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