International Experts Address Climate Change and Related Societal Demands at WMO Conference

25 February 2010: The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), jointly with the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and the Turkish State Meteorological Service, convened a Technical Conference on Changing Climate and Demands for Climate Services for Sustainable Development from 16-18 February 2010, in Antalya, Turkey. More than 150 scientists from over 80 countries discussed the potential of current and future climate services in supporting governments, communities and businesses to cope with climate variability and change, and reduce related societal vulnerabilities. The event concluded with a special one-day joint session of the WMO's Commission for Climatology with the Joint Scientific Committee for the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP).

Conference participants discussed the demands for climate services for sustainable development under a changing climate and recognized the need for an integrated climate-society system approach, including an early, close and sustained understanding and collaboration amongst all partners by efficiently exploiting their knowledge.

Recommendations for the activities of the WMO Commission for Climatology included strong support for: an International Conference on Climate Data within the ‘UN Delivering as One' initiative to be brought to the attention of the UN General Assembly; strengthening a climate-related WMO infrastructure and a related mechanism, including its global (Global Producing Centres), regional (Regional Climate Centres and Regional Climate Outlook Forums) and national (National Climate Centres, National Climate Outlook Forums and National Climate Services) production and services components; and capacity building to assist developing countries in the provision of up-to-date climate services in support of climate risk management and adaptation to climate change.

The Technical Conference's key recommendations went directly into the discussions and resolutions of the 15th session of the WMO Commission for Climatology, which was held back-to-back with the Conference, at the same venue from 19-24 February. Discussions at the Conference reiterated the importance of a close interface of the climate service providers with the user communities. Participants discussed several examples of how an improved user dialogue can help users integrate more efficiently climate information in management decisions. Participants recognized that further efforts are needed to improve the skills and reliability of climate predictions, but also called for a stronger emphasis on how to communicate climate variability and change issues, its products and the underlying science. Amongst the topics that need to be communicated more clearly to enable users to efficiently apply existing and future climate services, participants identified: the nature of uncertainties and probabilities; the design of user-friendly evaluation tools; and the provision of additional information on the robustness of climate information. Conference participants further recommended involving communication specialists in these activities.

Extended abstracts of the Conference's talks together with a summary report on the respective discussion outcomes will be published as a special issue of Climate Research. [IISD-RS Sources] [Technical Conference Website] [Climate Change Policy & Practice Story on the Meeting of the WMO Commission on Climatology[Climate Change Policy & Practice Story on Joint Meeting of WMO and WCRP]