Review of Regional Climate Outlook Forums

WMO has helped establish regional climate outlook forums (RCOFs) around the world to produce and disseminate a consensus-based regional assessment of the state of the regional climate for the upcoming season. As of 2017, the RCOF process has completed 20 successful years with 19 RCOFs operational around the world. To commemorate this important milestone, WMO has taken up a comprehensive review of the RCOFs in order to consolidate their strengths, identify gaps and propose improvements.

For this purpose, WMO organized an International Workshop on Global Review of RCOFs from 5 to 7 September in Guayaquil, Ecuador, hosted by the International Research Centre on El Niño (CIIFEN). The Review process was guided by the Commission for Climatology (CCl) Task Team on RCOFs (TT-RCOF) in close collaboration with experts from international institutions involved in RCOF processes, for example, International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI), Regional Climate Centres (RCCs), Global Production Centres for Long Range Forecasts (GPC-LRFs).

The more than 40 participants discussed different aspects of the RCOF process, identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for going forward, and priorities for addressing them. They were glad to observe the progress in promoting wider use and better interpretation of seasonal forecasts at the national levels. They agreed on the way forward for the RCOFs’ evolution, including, inter alia, the introduction of objective seasonal climate forecast schemes and new approaches such as expanding the product portfolio based on standardized operational practices identified during the workshop and the introduction of a new concept of “centralized” training workshops to better target capacity development efforts. A Synthesis Report of the review and a Roadmap with an Action plan for the Next Generation of RCOFs will be produced based on the workshop proceedings, recommendations and outcomes.

The 2017 Review was the third, the first took place in Pretoria (South Africa) in 2000 and the second in Arusha (Tanzania) in 2008. For more information on RCOFs, visit: https://public.wmo.int/en/our-mandate/climate/regional-climate-outlook-products

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