The Climate Knowledge Brokers (CKB) Group

Access to reliable climate information is important for all stages of adaptation to climate change. In the past years, there has been a flourishing of online climate information services. New initiatives are being launched almost every week, such that keeping track of what is available and finding the best source of information for a specific case is becoming a challenge.

The Climate Knowledge Brokers Group was set up in 2011 to improve access to climate information and avoid duplication of efforts. At the moment, about 50 of the leading global and regional climate change information websites are members of the CKB Group. Not only do they try to bring existing information together, they also work to initiate joint projects and learn from each other to provide users with what they are looking for.

At the 19th Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC in Warsaw, GIZ, IDS and REEEP organised the side event Climate Knowledge Brokers Group: Transforming information into knowledge and climate action. Martin Hiller and Florian Bauer of REEEP, Geoff Barnard of CDKN, Anne Hammill of IISD and Jane Ebinger of the World Bank discussed ways of turning the emerging flood of disparate climate information into useful knowledge, identifying user needs, and connecting information users and suppliers. Speakers touched upon general as well as technical issues such as linked open data frameworks. Watch the video here.

Find out more about the CKB on their website and fact sheet.

Climate Impacts: Global & Regional Adaptation Support Platform 2.0

The Climate Impacts: Global & Regional Adaptation Support Platform, or ci:grasp 2.0 in short, is a Web-based climate information service that provides decision-makers and adaptation practitioners with knowledge about climate change and its impacts. ci:grasp breaks climate change down into three layers of information and provides different tools for each:

A comparative view of precipitation projections for the Caribbean.

Physical changes to climate in temperature, precipitation, and other factors can be explored in world maps which also allow for the comparison of different climate models and scenarios.

Socio-economic impacts of climate change are made clear by climate impact chains. They link physical changes to the socio-economic impacts they might entail, such as losses in agricultural GDP or damages to infrastructure. There are also special sections for issues such as forest fires or urban areas, which have specific needs in adaptation.

Example of an adaptation project in agriculture in South America.

Experiences from on-going adaptation projects are found in the project database. Project outlines found here show how adaptation has taken different impacts into account in the past, and what the experiences have been. Users can browse descriptions and evaluations, as well as make contact with fellow experts, and share their own experiences in the database.

In addition to these basic tools, there is a growing collection of PIK’s more generic research available at the ci:grasp website, relating to the bigger picture of development and climate change. Examples here include statistics on the climatic impact of dietary patterns as well as rural CO2 emissions.

South Africa: Risk and Vulnerability Atlas

Download Method Brief
The tool

The South African Risk and Vulnerability Atlas (SARVA) is a platform for global change information transfer from research to policy- and decision-makers. The SARVA program provides a centralised repository for global change research ( as well as a collection of integration and awareness tools aimed at improving evidence-based decision-making concerning global change. The current focus of the Atlas is on the country, regions and localities of South Africa. However investigations are being carried out to assess expansion opportunities into other parts of the region.

Scope and entry points

Based on a broad stakeholder engagement exercise, SARVA was identified as a necessary resource to address the grand knowledge challenges facing South Africa over the next decade (see DST, 2009). In particular, the Atlas was identified as a tool to facilitate access to the best available knowledge on global change risks and vulnerabilities in South Africa to those that need it most, including local authorities, practitioners, students, businesses and others. As such, SARVA has been identified as a key resource under the National Climate Change Response Strategy as both an input and dissemination tool for relevant assessment and response exercises. Research housed by the portal reflects multiple scales of analysis, from local to national and regional, depending on data origin and availability.

SARVA’s open access electronic spatial portal provides internet users with access to spatial and non-spatial data sets and resources, as well as various search, upload/download and data manipulation and presentation capabilities. The portal is organised according to a variety of relevant themes including socio-economics, human settlements, climate and weather, biodiversity, forestry, ground and surface water, disaster management, agriculture, emissions and air quality, coastal and marine and environmental health.

In addition to the electronic spatial portal, the platform also has a number of synthesised, targeted and offline products to suit various user needs including a summarised hardcopy compendium of global change research and case studies as well as analysis and awareness tools. Stakeholder outreach and training is a key part of the program, including to officials seeking to integrate global change information into local planning and development processes and others.

How it works

Electronic Spatial Portal users are able to search for datasets and research according to theme, keywords or geographic area. In addition to downloadable data and research, geographic information available for mapping can be manipulated according the user needs using the portal mapping and analysis functions (see Figures 1). The soon to be launched South African Risk and Vulnerability Atlas Geospatial Analysis Platform (SARV-GAP) provides users with pre-defined maps and interpretations of key risk and vulnerability issues for global change in South Africa (see Figure 2).

Figure 1: Example map: Conservation, Active Fires, and Population


Figure 2. Risk and Vulnerability information, maps and narratives available on the offline SARV-GAP tool

Specifics of application

  • Stakeholders and institutional set up

Multiple stakeholders were involved in identifying the need for SARVA and the key themes it should include. The program also works extensively with key partners at multiple levels such as the National Departments of Environmental Affairs and Cooperative Governance, the South African Local Government Association, municipalities, businesses, academic and research institutions to identify on going needs, build capacity and address integrated research challenges. These include universities, government departments, businesses, municipalities and others. The electronic spatial portal is curated by a number of experts in their respective fields that work to curate the information available on the Atlas and keep up with emerging knowledge and developments in the field. The project management and working group teams for the Atlas are housed at the Natural Resources and Environment Unit at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the infrastructure for the portal is provided by the South African Earth Observation Network.

  • Capacity required and Ease of Use

Although general search functions and research outputs such as case studies are available for non-technical audiences, a basic level of GIS training is required for advanced manipulation and interpretation of geospatial data available on the portal. To bridge the gap between technical GIS users and non-technical users interested in gaining a better understanding of global change, the new SARV-GAP tool has been developed to introduce key concepts with no prior technical knowledge or internet connection required.

  • Resources (personnel, expertise, data demand, funds, time)

Implementation of the Atlas is currently coordinated by two managers and one project officer based at CSIR NRE. These include a manager leading the electronic spatial portal and theme convenors (~80%), a manager focused on the coordination of partnerships and outreach (<50%) and shared program management functions and; a candidate researcher involved in stakeholder engagement, capacity building and monitoring and evaluation (<50%). All aspects of implementation however are balanced across this team based on available expertise and resource and according to specific plans. The work of the coordination team is supported by a working group devoted to Atlas data integration, product development and outreach activities. Here the coordination team is joined by others with expertise in Geospatial analysis and Geoinformatics, Urban and Regional Planning and other sectors (e.g. Disaster Management, Risk Analysis; Information Architecture) as needed. Another key aspect of the Atlas involves the data and coordination efforts of the theme convenors on the electronic spatial portal. Theme convenors are a group of recognised experts in their respective fields (see above list of themes) who are tasked with leading the acquisition and availability of relevant Atlas data and supplementary support to research and outreach activities. Finally, the South African Earth Observation Network (SAEON) is responsible for the technical development, maintenance and functioning of the electronic spatial portal infrastructure as well as data cataloguing and related functions, while communications support is provided for the overarching Atlas website (which links to the electronic spatial portal) newsletters and other communications. The annual budget for the Atlas is between approximately 4-6 million South African Rand (ZAR) per annum (approximately half a million USD).

Conclusions for future application

SARVA products including the hardcopy Atlas, the electronic spatial portal and others have been well received by local and international audiences, in particular for bringing the multiple stressors and vulnerabilities of global change to local and international audiences of all kinds. The Atlas has been used by South African parliamentary members and policy makers around global change, by scientists and analysts assessing risk and vulnerability and by officials and others planning responses to the multiple stressors and vulnerabilities facing the country today and into the future. The Atlas has also been targeted for possible expansion at a regional level.


Reference persons for further information

  • Kristy Faccer Research Group Leader: Sustainable Social-ecological Systems, CSIR Natural Resources and the Environment,
  • Dr Julia Mambo Senior Scientist: Climate Studies, Modeling & Environmental Health, CSIR,

South Africa: Climate Information Portal

Download Method Brief

The Climate Information Portal – providing climate information to users

The Tool

The Climate Information Portal (CIP) is a web interface operated by the Climate System Analysis Group (CSAG), at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. The portal, which currently provides climate information for Africa and Asia, integrates climate information into a user-friendly map and graph-based interface. The information comes from a climate database that stores a large suite of observed climate data as well as projections of future climate. There is also an extensive collection of guidance documentation that facilitates the best use of the climate data, its interpretation and, importantly, resultant actions. CIP’s web address is:

Scope and Entry Points

CIP emerged out of an earlier project aimed to enable users to easily and effectively access climate change projection information, specifically by exploring a range of scenarios generated by various climate models. This concept was developed out of the growing number of requests received by CSAG for data to support climate-smart decision making.  The CIP tool allows users to search and retrieve the data and then explore it visually through a client side application.

CIP is available freely via its website – users are requested to create an account so that they may be contacted with regards to changes, improvements and new developments. The majority of the users are from within the NGO and government agency communities of Africa. The target audience includes Local, Provincial and National Government (decision makers), African researchers and students (including non-climate researchers), African agriculturists and the mitigation and adaptation communities in Africa, Asia and around the world.

How it works

The foundational climate data sets within CIP are the observed climate records and the downscaled GCM projections.  The observed climate data sets are sourced from the Global Historical Climate Network (GHCN), the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) as well as local country meteorological offices.  All observed data is freely available to the public through the institutions concerned though local meteorology office data is generally made available through private contacts.

The downscaled climate projections are based on the CMIP3 GCM model archive which is also freely available to the public for non-commercial purposes.  The downscaled projections are produced locally, through a statistical downscaling method (SOMD) (Hewitson & Crane, 2006) which was developed at CSAG, and the monthly statistics are made freely available through CIP.  Daily time scale projections are also available but are generally provided on a contract basis due to the additional data volumes, complexity, and need for interaction with the end user around appropriate application.

The table below summarizes the observed and projected climate information provided by CIP. Information is available through easily accessible and interpretable maps and graphs, though users are also able to access the raw data. Importantly all information is provided with accompanying guidance text so that the information can be interpreted in an effective manner. The guidance text guides interpretation and encourages the user to ask questions of the data and explore further information.

Observed information Projected information
African, Asian, and South African station maps and observed climate records African, Asian, and South African downscaled climate projections
Observed climate statistics(plots and Excel data downloads) for all station sites including:

  • Rainfall climatology and variability
  • Minimum and maximum temperature climatology and variability
  • Heavy and extreme rainfall day statistics
  • Dry spell duration statistics
Station scale downscaled CMIP3 projections(plots and Excel downloads) for all station sites including:

  • Monthly rainfall projections
  • Monthly mean temperature (minimum and maximum) projections
  • Extreme rainfall projections
  • Dry spell duration projections
CMIP3 based multi-model (10 GCMs) summary statistics maps

Table: Observed and projected climate information provided by CIP.

Specifics of Application

  • Stakeholders and institutional set-up

CIP is developed, hosted, and maintained solely and entirely by CSAG. CIP is managed by a small team that influences the design, structure, data and information that is organically evolving, based on user needs and feedback, as well as learning through stakeholder involvement.  A number of close partnerships have been formed during its development primary with the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), UK Climate Impacts Program (UKCIP) and NASA-JPL.

Through interaction with a range of stakeholders, the portal has undergone new developments and changes and the continued engagement with user groups and stakeholders will ensure the portal will grow and change as needed.

  • Resources (personnel, expertise, data demand, funds, time)

CSAG is a specialized climate research unit with core disciplinary depth in atmospheric science, climate modelling, and applied climate analysis. The statistical downscaling method (SOMD) was developed at CSAG and was applied for projections in both Africa and Asia. These projections form the basis of the data provided through CIP. CSAG also has technical expertise, in-house, for the development and maintenance of the CIP interface which requires advanced computer programming and website development skills.

The CIP portal development has been partly funded by a number of different funding agencies. The major funder for the initial development of CIP was the European Union through the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) 3D+ programme, but additional funding has been required to add additional features to CIP. For example, the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) have funded the addition of NASA-JPL information into CIP to provide satellite information as part of the ‘observed information’ component.

  • Output

CIP provides output in graphical and raw data format as described above.

  • Capacity required and Ease of use

CIP has been created to be very user friendly and easy to navigate.  The level of user expertise across Africa is varied.  For some the guidance text is sufficient. The guidance text allows for effective interpretation of the data and encourages users to ask relevant questions of the data, facilitating the best use of the climate data, its interpretation and resultant actions. For others, further capacity building and interactions are needed to more robustly interpret and apply the information taken from CIP.  CSAG offers capacity building training in the form of its Winter School course and can also tailor make short courses for interested groups and organisations. CSAG has also launched its e-learning platform that will also help users understand some key concepts and use the CIP information.

Conclusions for future Application

A key goal in CIP development is to ensure that the portal is available to users and compatible with emerging data sources so as to maximize its value among end-users.

The CIP has a strong partnership with the weAdapt knowledge portal, which was developed by the Stockholm Environment Institute and publishes practical examples of adaptation projects. The partnership with weAdapt is only one of many potentially valuable partnerships. To this end the CIP developers have already begun exploring server-side inter-linkages with the South Africa Risk and Vulnerability Atlas and the NASA-JPL satellite data tool.

CIP could also as serve as an access portal for the World Climate Research Programme’s (WCRP) new Coordinate Regional Downscaling Experiment (CORDEX) whose primary intent is producing a comprehensive collection of standardized regional downscaling datasets for 12 domains around the world. Both dynamic and statistical downscaling will be performed by a large collection of global modeling groups. Africa has been identified as the priority region and CSAG–University of Cape Town is mandated as the coordinating institution for the African component of the project.

While the technical developments are important, the greater challenges lie in the end-users’ engagement with the information provided. The confluence of both statistical and dynamical downscaled data as well as the latest GCM projections from the CMIP5 increases the complexity and potentially the uncertainties presented to the end-user community. This demands keeping in touch with the evolving and increasing requirements of the users across many different user communities. The challenge involves the development of modes of engagement, innovative analysis methods, and rich guidance on best practice usage of the available information.

Meanwhile, CORDEX seeks to ensure the utility of the downscaled projections, not only within the modeling community but also in the larger stakeholder communities of policy-making, adaptation, planning, and decision-making.


To view the CIP website please visit

Information on the statistical downscaling method (SOMD):

Hewitson, B. C. and R. G. Crane. (2006).Consensus between GCM climate change projections with empirical downscaling: precipitation downscaling over South Africa. International Journal of Climatology, 26, 1315-1337.

Reference person for technical details:

Mr Chris Jack, Climate System Analysis Group (CSAG), University of Cape Town, South Africa, Email:, Phone: +27 216502684

Tunisia: Metadata Cataloguing on Climate Change

Download Method Brief

The tool

In Tunisia, as part of the cooperation framework between the Ministry of Environment (ME) and the projects ‘Support for the Implementation of the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change’ (CCC/GIZ) and ‘Inventory of Methods of Adaptation to Climate Change’ (IMACC), the first steps towards setting up a cataloguing tool for the metadata required for climate change adaptation (CCA) have been taken. This tool enables the indexing, structuring and description of resources so that they can easily be found and consulted. The listing of metadata (the grouping of mainly geographical information which describes physical or digital resources) enables information sharing and interoperability, while integrating the rights and conditions of utilisation.

Scope and entry points

The starting point is the conclusion drawn at national level based on vulnerability analyses, and/or the application of other CCA methods which showed the need for a variety of data – mainly climatic – and the constraints of localisation and access to these data. The Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Agriculture and the National Meteorology Institute have already expressed their interest in setting up a catalogue of metadata.

Operation and process

The vulnerability analysis carried out on the olive oil sector in the region of Médenine served as a case study to identify needs in terms of data (format, localisation, access). The process was carried out in close consultation with the data providers concerned.

Stages of implementation of the data catalog

Phase 2 of the discussions with the actors was carried out at a workshop presenting the outcome of the study and allowing for exchanges on the advantages, requirements (mainly standards) and constraints involved in setting up data cataloguing tools. Bilateral contacts took place with the institutions that wished to enlist their data/information. The choice was made of a cataloguing portal ‘géocatalogueG3CTN’, that operates with the open source software ‘Geonetwork’ (for technical details see references).

At present five institutions are at the stage of installing the tool (stage 3). Other institutions are likely to join the experience, particularly within the Ministry of Agriculture. In this transition phase, there will be one common database on the same server (of the Ministry of Environment, hosted at the Tunisian Internet agency – ATI) but each institution will have its own application and shall be responsible for the management of its geographic metadata as well as any additional descriptive documents that it wishes to share.

Each institution is given coaching in order to master the tool, make the required adaptations on the basis of information that it will put online, choose the adequate standards, and organise its catalogue management.

Specifics of application

  • Stakeholders and institutional set-up
    The initiative leader is the ME. The current participating institutions are the ME itself (with its management structures), three organisations under its umbrella (the Tunisian Observatory for Environment and Sustainable Development, the National Agency for the Protection of the Environment and the Agency for Coastline Protection and Planning), the Forestry Directorate General (Ministry of Agriculture) and the National Meteorological Institute. The catalogue could be used by the actors in charge of drafting development projects (public sector and NGOs) and integrating CC and research institutions. The CCC/GIZ project plays a mobilising role for data providers and acts as a catalyst.
  • Inputs
    A Tunisian design firm has been hired to manage the installation and coaching for the adaptation and management of the cataloguing tool. The selected software meets international standards and has been widely adopted, particularly by United Nations organisations such as the FAO. In addition, it has the advantage of being ‘open source’. The software is easy to manipulate (with user-friendly and intuitive interfaces) and its technical control conditions come at a reasonable cost.
  • Outputs
    At present, the programme is limited to the installation of the cataloguing tool in five institutions. The final product expected in the medium term would be a national catalogue, which would collect data from all organisations providing relevant information on CC.
  • Required capacities and ease of use
    The installation of the tool and its use require expertise that is available in firms specialised in computer science and information systems, as well as a brief training of its managers. The main factor in operationalizing such an initiative is the adoption of an approach involving regular and progressive consultation among the actors, in addition to the sharing of data among institutions, which is often a delicate issue.
    The challenge also remains institutional and organisational (i.e. human resources). The institution will have to designate a person in charge of updating and managing the catalogue and the information that should be regularly collected and documented.

Conclusions for future applications

  • Outcome and added value
    The process is still underway but initial results demonstrate the benefit of such an approach in facilitating access to the required data for the analysis/diagnosis of vulnerability and the identification of CCA measures. In addition to the installation of the tool, in the short term, a pool of ‘web managers’ will be created, qualified to manage this type of catalogue. In this respect, the added value is substantial in terms of identifying existing provision in the field of information, data localisation and reduction of data dispersion.
  • Cost-benefit ratio
    The setting up of the tool requires reasonable national expertise costs. The software is open source and around four months would be required to set up the catalogues. The efforts involved in standardising the catalogues are however more time-consuming.
  • Potential for replication
    This potential is primarily based on the fact that the need for data identification and localisation is largely felt by those actors who are involved in the CC study and in the resulting adaptation measures.
    Other institutions have also expressed an interest in being part of this cataloguing initiative (particularly within the Ministry of Agriculture).
    Resorting to metadata bases and catalogues has become increasingly necessary, and is evolving at various levels. In Tunisia, the Prime Minister’s Office has launched a portal for open source initiatives and would be interested in setting up such a cataloguing tool.

Nevertheless, certain constraints need to be taken into account:

  • It is vital to clarify that metadata cataloguing be transparent regarding the nature, localisation (who holds the data and under what form) and conditions of acquisition. There can be no direct access to the data (unless approved by the institution).
  • Access conditions are currently subject to the goodwill of institutions, which can sometimes be a limiting factor.



  • Metadata geocatalogue on climate changes in Tunisia- Concept note – December 2012- Geomatix International (Tunis)

Reference persons (currently)

  • Ghazi Gader, Technical Advisor, CCC/GIZ project– Tunis (
  • Moez Essafi, Geomatix International Expert (
  • At a later stage, officers from the institutions in charge of catalogue management might be added.

WEBINAR Improving access to climate information – local and regional perspectives

Dear colleagues, dear friends,

We are pleased to invite you to the webinar “Improving access to climate information – local and regional perspectives”. It is the opening webinar to the discussion series on Climate Information & Services (see attached schedule). The webinar will have two sessions:

Webinar Session ONE will present the following country experiences:

  • The Philippines – working towards better access to climate information: experiences on access to and sharing of climate information
  • Tunisia – using metadata catalogues to provide  better access to climate information and encourage collaboration amongst providers and users

While Webinar Session TWO will provide the opportunity to learn about the following cases:

  • Colombia – experiences on climate data collection and vulnerability assessments
  • Caribbean – experiences with building a regional clearinghouse for the CARICOM

To participate, please click Webinar ONE 9:00 am (CEST) or Webinar TWO 4:00 pm (CEST), enter your email-address, choose “attend in browser” and access the webinar.

The respective times in different time zones are:

  Webinar Session ONE   Webinar Session TWO
Germany (CEST): 09:00 am 10:30 am


04:00 pm 05:30 pm
Mexico DF: 02:00 am 03:30 am


09:00 am 10:30 am
South Africa: 09:00 am 10:30 am


04:00 pm 05:30 pm
Tunisia: 08:00 am 09:30 am


03:00 pm 04:30 pm
Manila/Philippines: 03:00 pm 04:30 pm


10:00 pm 11:30 am
Jakarta/Indonesia: 02:00 pm 03:30 pm


09:00 pm 10:30 am
India 12:30 pm 02:00 pm


07:30 pm 09:00 pm
Grenada 03:00 am 04:30 am


10:00 am 11:30 pm

Technical requirements: Please use a headset and enable Java in your browser. To make sure, that your system matches all requirements, conduct a system check. For technical support click here.

This discussion series forms part of the knowledge exchange on The previous series was Adaptation Monitoring & Evaluation (a report will be available soon in the members’ space! Click here for webinar recordings). Forthcoming topics are Mainstreaming Adaptation and Training for Climate Change Adaptation.

We are looking forward to welcoming you soon!

Tools and training material

Name Type Size
Introducing the Climate Knowledge Brokers Group
Author: CDKN 2013
105.5 KB
Metadata Standards, Data Catalogues and Data Requirements for the Identification of Climate Impacts
Metadata Catalogues – Data Management for Climate Change Impact Analyses and Adaptation Measures. Desk study and prototype. Author: GIZ (2011)
Tools891.1 KB

Further links

There are several web-based climate information portals that provide climate data and information as well as tools for analysis. Below are some links:

The Climate Knowledge Brokers (CKB), formed in 2011 as an informal network, has the objective to forge closer collaborative links between climate knowledge brokers working in the climate and development area. The ultimate aim is to improve access to reliable information and robust methods for those working in these sectors, particularly in developing countries, and to enhance their ability to share lessons and experience. For further information please follow:

For resources related dealing with the issue of climate services, please follow the links below:

Further reading

Guides, manuals and reports from adaptation experiences

Name Type Size
Climate Change Information For Effective Adaptation. A Practitioner's Manual
Climate Change Information for Effective Adaptation Author: GTZ (2009)
Manual932.4 KB
Climate Services for Climate-Smart Development: A Preliminary Guide for Investment
International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI, 2012): Climate Services for Climate-Smart Development: A Preliminary Guide for Investment Author: International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI, 2012)
Guide214.5 KB
Draft Checklist for Climate Information Services
A checklist helping adaptation planners prepare climate information for adaptation planning, implementation, and monitoring. Author: GIZ (2013)
Guide60.5 KB

Workshop reports

Name Type Size
Climate Information Training LGA Jun.19-20.2012
Documentation of the Training on ‘Understanding Climate Information & Managing Uncertainty’. 19-20 June 2012 in Pasig City, Local Government Academy, Republic of the Philippines, Author: GIZ (2012) Author: GIZ (2012)
Workshop Report2.2 MB
Documentation of the Workshop ‘Adaptation to climate change: putting knowledge into action’
Documentation of the Workshop ‘Adaptation to climate change: putting knowledge into action’. 24-25 November 2011 in Durban, Republic of South Africa Author: GIZ (2012)
Workshop Report4.3 MB
International Workshop on Mainstreaming Adaptation to Climate Change
International Workshop on Mainstreaming Adaptation to Climate Change. Guidance and Tools GTZ House Berlin, Potsdam Square 28-30 May 2009 organised by DFID, GTZ, USAID, World Bank. Author: GTZ (2009)
Workshop Report2.4 MB
Mainstreaming Adaptation Delhi Workshop Report 2010
Second International Workshop on Mainstreaming Adaptation to Climate Change. Managing Adaptation Processes, 10–12 November 2010, New Delhi, organised by ADB, DFID, GTZ, USAID, World Bank Author: GTZ (2010)
Workshop Report413.3 KB



Climate Information & Services

View document
"A closer look"

Climate Information & Services “at a glance” 

Why climate information and services?

‘Adapt to what exactly?’ is the first question a decision-maker may ask when faced with the need to prepare for the consequences of climate change. Without knowing the expected changes in climatic conditions, proactive and anticipatory adaptation approaches are difficult. We might identify no-regret/low-regret measures that are suitable to different climate change scenarios, but the more we know, the better our responses can be. In a changing climate, we therefore need usable climate information and services to support adaptive management and decision-making.

What are climate information products and services?

Tangible climate information products range from global emission scenarios and climate model outputs to local impact and vulnerability assessment results. Generating these products requires data and information from various fields of research. Climate information products can describe historical, current and future climate conditions. They can entail future predictions and projections on monthly, seasonal or decadal timescales and their impact on natural and human systems. Climate services can be understood as those activities that deal with generating and providing this information to a wide range of users in order to support climate resilient development. As we are dealing with a rather new field of activity, the concept of climate services still needs to be defined more clearly in close collaboration with users.

Who provides climate information and services?

With regards to providing climate change information and services, there is no long-standing, well-established tradition. Taking future climate developments into account is a rather new and fast-growing field of activities and actors. As there are various types of climate information, there are various sources for support, ranging from national research institutes to National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) to global and regional information platforms. Recently, a growing number of governments are starting to customise climate information and target it to specific users based on their experience in weather forecasting. The formal UN-wide framework that supports the development of climate services is the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) led by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

What makes climate information usable?

In order to make a well-informed adaptation decision, decision-makers and their advisors have to make use of climate information. The information provider-user relationship is crucial here. Due to different perspectives, there is often a gap between what providers understand as useful information and what users recognise as usable. Information providers may not completely know potential users’ decision-making processes and contexts, so sometimes the information that is produced remains unused. Or given their limited understanding of the matter, decision-makers might misinterpret climate information and make the wrong decisions. Explaining the level of uncertainty associated with a particular product is also vital, and therefore the exchange and dialogue between the user and the provider side is of utmost importance.

What are lessons from effective use of climate information?

There are several challenges with regards to effective use of climate information and services by decision- makers. The following table mentions some of these and showcases approaches on how to deal with them. It can be used to continuously capture experiences with the provision and use of climate information both from within the members of AdaptationCommunity and beyond.