Science informs policy through climate services

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Salient, credible and usable climate information. This is what policy makers need in order to inform decisions on climate change adaptation. What are climate services and how they enable science to support decision-making processes in a talk by Jaroslav Mysiak, Fondazione CMCC and Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, at the EU Conference on modelling for policy support.

The 2nd biennial EU Conference on modelling for policy support, organised by the European Commission Competence Centre on Modelling, took place during the week of 22 – 26 November 2021.

The Conference gathered online more than 900 scientists and policymakers from EU, national and international organisations as well as academia and the private sector to identify common challenges and solutions when using models to support policy making across all policy domains.

The session “Climate change adaptation modelling as a key support tool for evidence-based policies in a time of planetary crisis” discussed the role of climate change adaptation modelling as a key tool for decision-makers at a time of accelerating impacts of global warming.

Two Horizon 2020 funded projects coordinated by the CMCC Foundation, COACCH (CO-designing the Assessment of Climate CHange costs) and CLARA (Climate forecast enabled knowledge services), drove the discussion about the main lessons learnt and modelling challenges, together with the PESETA IV study performed by European Commission’s Joint Research Center in view of improving the adaptation modelling tool-kit. The session also shared the experiences from the application of modelling in the preparation of the new EU Adaptation Strategy together with the main findings of the Study on Adaptation Modelling performed by DG CLIMA.

Jaroslav Mysiak, from the CMCC Foundation and Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, summarized insights from the CLARA (Climate forecast enabled knowledge services) project and other Horizon 2020 innovation actions set to develop a range of advanced climate services that build upon the Copernicus Climate Change Service platform for seasonal forecasts and sectoral information systems.

Through three application cases in the fields of disaster risk reduction, energy generation and water resource management, Dr. Mysiak explained how climate risk models respond to knowledge requirements by local and regional decision and policy makers. In particular, he focussed on the interactions between modellers and users of model-derived knowledge which make climate-science information salient (i.e., responsive to user context and demand), credible (i.e., of high quality and rigor) and legitimate (i.e., rooted in relationships of trust and respect).

“Climate services born out of the recognition that climate information and knowledge is not or not sufficiently used for and relied on in tactic and operative decision making” explained Mysiak. “They are knowledge-intensive business services that employ a range of advanced physically-based models and model simulations. They transform climate-related data – together with other relevant information – into customised products such as projections, forecasts, information, trends, economic analysis, assessments, counselling on best practices, development, and evaluation on solutions. This is challenging because users may find it difficult to judge their quality or potential, appreciate the uncertainties pertaining to climate simulations, and identify the type of information and data which is best suited to inform their decisions. Further difficulties arise from the mismatch of spatial and temporal scales between knowledge that is provided by climate services and knowledge that is needed for (local and regional) decisions and adaptation choices. Therefore, what characterises climate services is that both users and purveyors play a vital role in co-designing and co-producing the service solutions, ideally in a genuine and mutually beneficial partnership inspiring trust and users’ satisfaction”.

The video of Dr. Mysiak’s talk is available at this link (from h. 15:24).


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