Participants at last week’s World Climate Conference in Geneva, Switzerland agreed that a global framework should be created in order to share on-demand climate predictions as ‘climate services.’ The aim will be to supply these details to governments, businesses and individuals, and is said to help developing nations the most as they lack access to weather and climate observations needed to plan their adaptation strategies to global warming.
An independent task force was set up by the World Meteorological Association to work toward making the vision a reality. Before the end of the year, this group will pull together the framework, which will be followed by 12 months of consultation and fine tuning.
The global data collection and sharing framework will likely face many political and economic hurdles. These global data exchange plans follow a growing trend of individual country climate-services centers. Germany opened such a center in July in Hamburg, and the United States is contemplating such a center.
The Global Framework for Climate Services aims to enhance climate observations and monitoring, transform that information into sector-specific products and applications, and disseminate those products widely. The proposed framework contains five essential elements:
- The Global Climate Observing System and all its components, encouraging exchange and access to climate data
- The World Climate Research Programme, underpinned by adequate computing resources and increased interaction with other global climate research initiatives
- Climate services information systems taking advantage of existing national and international arrangements
- Climate user interface mechanisms focussed on building linkages and integrating information between the providers and users of climate services
- Efficient and enduring capacity building through education, training and strengthened outreach and communication.