Pacific Climate Services Primer

By Norman Barth

The United States is a world leader in climate services - from their original development, to the satellite data and observations necessary to make operational forecasts that lead to climate service products.

Climate services reduce vulnerabilities from innumerable Pacific challenges such as drought, crop failure, storm surge, food security, health, water management, tropical cyclone forecasts and tracks, fluctuations in fossil fuel price, and much more.

Climate services are not the same as climate change adaptation.  Even if there was no climate change, there would be a need for climate services in the here and now.

Climate services must be an integral part of the Pacific islands adaptation to climate change in the long term.

Examples of where climate services have applications are: 

·         If your drinking water comes from rainwater harvesting;

·         If you are fisherman, dependent on coral reefs or the ocean, and want to plan your fishing;

·         If you are a farmer wondering when or what crop to plant;

·         If you are a health practitioner, thinking about malaria, or dengue fever;

·         If you are living in a coastal community, and worry about storm surges or coastal erosion;

·         If you live near a flood zone or a tropical cyclone track and worry about when to secure your home or business;

·         If you are a community leader planning for water use, waste disposal and your community’s future;

·         If you are a disaster risk manager;

·         If you are using fossil fuels to generate electricity for air conditioning;

Climate services are of interest to you.  All of these are vulnerabilities in the Pacific.

Climate services already have a decades long history in the rest of the world where they are actively being used, including in the United States, and Europe, as well as Africa, Latin America, and Asia.

Climate services are not a research project in development.  They are here now, available now in the Pacific.

Although awareness of climate services within the region’s meteorological community is high, awareness outside of this community is low, leading to low/little use of climate services in the Pacific.Compiled by Ashmita AliGood Practices - Final Report - PACE - August 2012 V2 (2).pdf


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