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The Mediterranean near future, a perspective for climate science and climate services.

Paolo Ruti, ENEA, Italy - CLIM-RUN Scientific Coordinator

The project “Climate Local Information in the Mediterranean Region: Responding to Users Needs” (CLIM-RUN) began in March 2011 and aims to provide climate services throughout the Mediterranean, with specific focus on energy, tourism, ecosystem protection (wild fires) and coastal regions.

Why do we need it?
Since much of the Mediterranean is in a transition zone between the temperate climate of central-northern Europe and the arid climate of Northern Africa, even relatively small changes in climate forcing can have important effects on the region’s ecosystems, human activities, and human security.

Risks management will become more and more important for the near future in a region where several anthropogenic forcing (climate change, land use change, population growth) will exacerbate existing stresses related to water resources and the widely varying cultures, levels of development, interests, and needs of the many nations.

There’s a need to provide a risk’s management strategy at regional level, coordinating national efforts and triggering new perspectives where national potential is not enough.

And why it could be so relevant for the Mediterranean region?
CLIM-RUN will serve as a preliminary step in the development of a Mediterranean-wide network of climate services that would eventually confluence into a pan-European network. This is now likely to happen within the context of the GFCS – thus CLIM-RUN partners are participating in relevant European and international meetings and initiatives, including the 2011 and 2012 International Conferences on Climate Services and the meeting on European Climate Services held in Hamburg in May 2012.

CLIM-RUN aims at establishing a network of research and meteorological services that collectively provide tailored products mainly for the energy and tourism sectors (but also for wildfire and integrated case studies). CLIM-RUN aims at developing a Mediterranean framework that goes beyond meteorological services. We believe that a strong interaction between data-providers, science institutions and the research community is fundamental for the development of tailored and attainable climate services. The CLIM-RUN project could be quite important for the Regional level of the Global Framework for Climate Services over the Mediterranean.

Are we ready to deliver climate services over the Mediterranean for specific sectors, such as energy, tourism?
For instance, tailored products for the energy sector can be delivered in terms of detailed climatological information to support planning phase of renewable plants, or short term prediction for electric grid demanding. However further research is needed in order to provide reliable seasonal-to-decadal information. CLIM-RUN, together with other EU-FP7 projects (ECLISE, SPECS, EUPORIAS), will be a relevant contribution of EU for supporting climate services in Europe and around-Europe.

The interaction with stakeholders will also pose new challenging scientific questions to climate researchers. For instance, wind farms need information at 100 m height. Are our Planetary Boundary Layer schemes suited to provide this kind of information?