Weather and Society Conference: The value of weather-related information and services

The Societal and Economic Research Applications (SERA) Working Group of the WMO World Weather Research Programme (WWRP) held the first Weather and Society Conference from 28 February to 11 March. The online event focused on the science for services approach adopted by the WMO to understand, analyse and enhance the value of weather and climate services in society.

Extreme hydrometeorological events are affecting societies, economies and the environment as never before in human history. Governments, scientific agencies, the humanitarian sector, emergency managers and decision-makers face an unprecedented challenge to reduce the risks for citizens and society. To contribute to overcoming these obstacles, SERA aims to advance social and economic application sciences for weather-related information and services and to review and assist in the development and promotion of societal and economic related demonstration projects.

The Conference, held in collaboration with the German Weather Service (DWD), the Free University Berlin, and the Hans-Retell-Centre for Weather Research (HErZ), had three main objectives:

  • To discuss and promote the multiple aspects of social and economic research applications along the weather forecast value chain
  • To bring people together from operational meteorological and hydrological services, research, forecasting and user communities
  • To identify gaps, needs and challenges toward reducing risks for citizens and society.

The nine sessions of the Conference covered various topics, ranging from citizen science and observations, the use of weather information for civil protection and humanitarian aid to the application of indigenous and local weather knowledge. The event attracted 700 registered participants from 104 countries. Authors from over 40 countries took part in the talks, discussions and poster sessions throughout the two weeks. A future publication will present the outcomes of the Conference, which brought to light the research gaps and opportunities in the application of weather-related information and services. SERA aims to organize the Conference on a biannual basis to maintain momentum on the topic and to bring the stakeholder and user communities closer together to build a more sustainable future.

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