Individuals, businesses, Government and other organisations need climate information to plan for the future. By working with information providers, timely, useful and usable climate services can be co-produced to aid decision-making, raise awareness and to support horizon-scanning.
A climate service aids the effective use of climate information by individuals, businesses, Government and other organisations. A climate service requires appropriate and usually repeated engagement to co-produce a timely output that is usable and useful. Such outputs are often used to aid decision-making, raise awareness or for horizon scanning. There may be many climate service providers in the space between generation of underpinning climate science and final end users. The SPF UKCR programme recognised that future risk assessment and resilience building in the UK is likely to involve climate services. Some of these may be provided by publicly funded research, others may be in the private sector. This programme offered a unique opportunity to stimulate the growth of the UK climate service sector to build resilience.
Climate service research
Being an emerging field, there is a need to examine issues such as the delivery model for climate services that best fits the UK. This includes considering the mix of public and private provision and funding, economic benefits resulting from climate services, consideration of the wide range of existing climate service providers and boundary organisations, and the development and regulation of the emerging climate service market. This theme aimed to perform research into the governance models and measures of quality of climate services in the UK, including ethical considerations.
Whilst there is a Global Framework for Climate Services and an EU climate services roadmap, there is not yet a roadmap for services in the UK. We lack a clear understanding of how a UK approach fits into the context of the European Roadmap for Climate Services, including the Copernicus Climate Change Service, and this theme will aim to provide some clarity.
Whilst some of the research can draw on experience from climate services outside of the programme, a major additional resource for the research in this theme was climate service prototype or demonstration projects, which involved different providers and users and served as learning labs for testing approaches and developing good practice examples. The prototypes/demonstrators involved real users and data, with particular risk assessment or adaptation needs. Typically, they were carried out at particular locations but lessons on how to upscale to a national level were also considered.
Assessment of the value of climate services was also within the scope of this theme.
Climate service applications
Climate services provide timely, tailored information and knowledge to decision makers (generally in the form of tools, products, websites, or bulletins) to improve their capacity to manage climate-related risk. This theme developed and piloted climate services to build resilience. It did this within co-produced climate services demonstration projects. This involved working with a range of domain expertise in the wider research and user communities to deliver ways of managing climate risks, including through resilience building and adaptation.
Applications were selected based on a real need, an opportunity to learn about applying new approaches from across the programme, and took account of potential users with different levels of sophistication and technical expertise. Appropriate attention was given to place-based assessments given their importance in adaptation. The learning from these projects contributed to the awareness within the programme of alternative adaptation options in different contexts, which can be applied on a national scale, for instance through improved guidance and standards.