Market focus

26 March 2014

A climate services project funded by the European Commission is focussing on understanding different markets and developing a select handful of prototype climate services, addressing the needs of specific users.

The project, European Provision Of Regional Impacts Assessments on Seasonal and decadal timescales, known as EUPORIAS, is a partnership of 24 different organisations, businesses and national weather services co-ordinated by the Met Office.

It aims to bridge the gaps between users and provides of climate services. The project reached the end of its first year in November 2013 and is now entering a challenging and exciting phase.

To find out where and how climate information is used, and where there are gaps that need to be filled, the first phase established a stakeholder board of 75 public and private companies of various sizes. This involved carrying out and recording and translating lots of interviews.

The second exciting stage of the project has already begun researching and improving downscaling of climate models, evaluating climate impacts as well as examining how best to communicate uncertainty.

The final stage of the project which started in February this year is looking at how useful the information provided is to the end users. This will be achieved by developing a few prototypes of different ways in which seasonal and decadal information can be used.

The prototypes will be targeted at specific audiences, determined from the interviews conducted in the first phase of the project. The prototypes could be designed for any of the sectors that were involved in the interviews but will be made useful for specific users and decision makers.

EUPORIAS is an example of research which is a shift away from the research of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is a review of all the peer-reviewed climate science literature. Instead, EUPORIAS seeks to address the needs of the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) which aims to enable "better management of the risks of climate variability and change and adaptation to climate change, through the development and incorporation of science-based climate information and prediction into planning, policy and practice on the global, regional and national scale."

By focussing on product development and understanding different markets, EUPORIAS is making sure that climate services are really relevant to users' needs. As described on the EUPORIAS website, it is only relatively recently that we have been able to predict future environmental conditions. Now EUPORIAS intends to maximise the societal benefit of these new technologies.

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