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Climate information requirements for community-level risk management and adaptation

Climate information is an important prerequisite for informed decision-making in risk management and adaptation to help prevent climate extremes from becoming disasters.

This paper asserts that in order for climate information to inform risk management and adaptation effectively, it is helpful to have it embedded within an institutional system that starts with monitoring of weather and climate events and ends with a community level response.

With examples from Asia, the authors highlight the limitations in current modes of dissemination of climate information. These include:

  • spatial and temporal scales mismatch between forecasts and decision-making
  • absence of user involvement in identifying information needs
  • lack of training and experience in communicating probabilistic information
  • weak forecast of producer-user communication channels
  • lack of mechanisms for processing climate information.

The paper recommends the development of climate forums as platforms which facilitate an interface between producers and users of climate information, including forecasters, disaster management agencies, government authorities and communities.

It is concluded that for climate services to make a difference to communities, they have to provide customised solutions and not generic products. The meteorological services have been founded and evolved on the bedrock of observations and science, a focus that needs to be maintained to bring much-needed progress in climate science and technology, the authors assert. However, there is also a need to connect with societies; it is urgent to develop mechanisms for delivery of climate services at community levels in a bottom-up manner so that the process remains user-driven.