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The creation of an informed stakeholders and users oriented researchers’ community: the role of the European Projects: CLIM-RUN and EUPORIAS

Paolo Michele Ruti - ENEA, Italy; Carlo Buontempo - METOFFICE, United Kingdom; Orietta Casali - ENEA, Italy

Both CLIM-RUN and EUPORIAS projects devote great attention to the role of stakeholders, and to their concrete needs in carrying out their activities in strategic economic sectors which are particularly affected by climate variability.

CLIM-RUN aims at developing a climate services network for the Mediterranean basin. It has focussed its attention on the energy and tourism sector and to wild fires as a factor of risk for both tourism and energy in many case studies (including Morocco, Tunisia, Savoie, Cyprus). In addition, CLIM-RUN has devoted its efforts to some integrated case studies, as policy makers are urged to adopt an integrated vision for sustainable development of a territory, specifically coastal areas. The main results of this interaction with stakeholders are reported also in this newsletter (see the articles in this newsletter reporting on the recent case-study workshops).

On the other hand, EUPORIAS’s project vision is that by developing end-to-end impact prediction services (from the analysis of vulnerabilities in the decision-making processes to the provision of tailored products), operating on Seasonal to Decadal (S2D) timescales, and clearly demonstrating their value (in terms of social and economic values and responsibilities) in informing decision–making, a market for these new tools will be stimulated, increasing the competitiveness of EU businesses, and the ability of EU regional and national authorities to make effective decisions in climate-sensitive sectors.

For this reason, the EUPORIAS project is addressed to a larger number of economic sectors, for instance, agriculture, health, water management, food security, insurance, and transportation.

CLIM-RUN and EUPORIAS projects can count, among others, on the contribution of researchers who work in both projects (ENEA, IC3, TEC, CNRM, and UC). This will contribute to the creation of a network of researchers and informed stakeholders in Europe to face the challenge of the economic crisis and climate risks, participating in this way in the important international process initiated by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) with the creation and implementation of the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS). The GFCS aims to create a supra-national organisation having the objectives to facilitate better management of climate vulnerability risks and to favour adaptation measures to climate variability and climate change, through the development and the inclusion in planning policies of appropriate scientific information at global, regional, national and sub-national scales.

The first EUPORIAS stakeholders’ meeting took place in January 2013 at ENEA, in Rome. The main findings of the workshop can be summarised as follows:

 Climate parameters:

• While the list of relevant parameters tend to be sector specific (e.g. number of land-falling tropical cyclones for insurance, or number of marginal nights for the transport sector) in general, two parameters emerged as being the most relevant for the majority of stakeholders: temperature and precipitation. This appears to be particularly true for the water, energy, health, and agriculture sectors. While this is certainly an interesting finding, it may also suggest that stakeholders ask for what they know climate models can provide.

 Users’ needs

Interaction and training. While seasonal predictions are interesting and potentially useful and while many sectors use them, there is still a huge need for education and training. This was one of the priorities identified by the users. Direct access to experts, for instance sector specific workshops or seminars, is seen as a vital way of providing this education and training. This was also reflected by the fact that some of the model development the users required could be addressed by technology that is already available.

 • Decision making calendar. With the exclusion of the agricultural sector which would benefit from seasonal predictions throughout the year, and the insurance sector for which the 1st of January and the 1st of April are crucial dates, the requirements of the other sectors tend to cluster in spring (for the summer outlook) and autumn (for the winter outlook).

 • Decision relevant scale. Contrary to the initial expectation, downscaling was not necessarily perceived as being the most important need for all sectors. A number of stakeholders would prioritise the improvement of the large-scale drivers over increasing the resolution of model output.

 • Bidirectional communication. A significant language barrier exists between the different communities (users and producers of climate information) and even common concepts such as ‘confidence’ or ‘level of certainty’ appear to have different meaning.

 • Consideration of additional climate variables of interest. Some gaps indicated by stakeholders can be easily taken into account within the EUPORIAS project (e.g. tailored products and parameters at important stages of crop development, statistical dynamical downscaling, and integration with existing decision support systems). The EUPORIAS project plan will need to be adapted to account for these needs.

 The stakeholders’ activity in EUPORIAS project will continue with interviews to identify how climate information is currently used by the stakeholders in their organisation and sector. Further consultation will be held via mail about the development of the next generation of climate services. The stakeholders will be engaged once or twice a year and kept informed of the development of the impact model to shape the climate service prototypes. In the third year of the project, decision labs and decision support system will be held.

Through few, targeted interviews how climate information is best delivered to feed into the stakeholders’ decision practices and support system will be assessed. A final workshop and prototype evaluation will be organized, giving the stakeholders the opportunity to learn about the climate service prototypes, and evaluate to what extent they address stakeholder needs.

Foto 1.1 EuporiasWorkshop, Rome, January 2013