A new Pan-Arctic Climate Outlook Forum (PARCOF) met for the first time in Ottawa, Canada, from 15 to 16 May to provide predictions for the forthcoming summer season. The Forum is part of an international drive to improve weather, climate and sea-ice forecasts in a region that is undergoing rapid environmental change.
The reality of climate change and its impacts have prompted the decision to initiate Pan-Arctic seasonal predictions, based on collaboration through the Regional Climate Outlook Forum that is already a well established mechanism in most parts of the world. Seasonal predictions support climate risk management, climate change adaptation and inform policy and decision-making in climate-sensitive sectors operating in the harsh Arctic environment. The Forum’s first Outlook predicts that average surface temperatures will continue to be above average for June, July and August, while the sea-ice conditions will be below normal for most of the Arctic.
The inaugural session, co-sponsored by WMO and hosted by Environment and Climate Change Canada, was attended by representatives from member countries of the Arctic Council. Designed as a two-way dialogue, the climate forum heard from representatives of Arctic Indigenous organizations who have, for generations, lived in the Arctic. They shared their knowledge about changing conditions and on the challenges they now face and discussed the type of forecasts and climate services they need.
PARCOF is the first step towards the establishment of an Arctic Regional Climate Centre Network, based on the WMO Regional Climate Centre concept. The Network will receive active contributions from all the Arctic Council member countries. PARCOF will be held on a regular basis and will continue to bring together the science community, key decision-makers and important partner organizations to discuss priority products for climate-sensitive users. All PARCOFs will include indigenous participation, as climate change impacts affect all aspects of their day-to-day life.