“In our experience, raw climate data cannot be used directly by decision-makers or on a local level; we need to convey and adapt the information to local conditions,” explains Berit Arheimer, head of the hydrological research unit at SMHI and coordinator of the project.
“By converting climate information into a number of climate impact indicators, we reduce the gap between research and data on the one hand and between water resource managers and decision-makers on the other. It becomes easier and cheaper to include climate impact in the planning, and this can provide major benefits to society when new climate adaptation requirements are tightened."
Summarising the impact of climate change
The climate service will make use of a number of climate impact indicators which summarise the impact of future climate change on a specific sector or activity in the form of trends and variability. The work to evaluate the effect of climate change or a plan for climate adaptation is facilitated by the use of these indicators. The climate service will also provide tips and methods for how to downscale data for local conditions, as well as a number of case studies which provide examples of the workflow from data to the basis for a decision in different sectors of society. The service also includes seasonal forecasts for water flows, which are updated once per month.
The project is based on a prototype for the climate service which SMHI previously developed in dialogue with European environmental consultants that help disseminate information and provide decision-makers with the data they need when an operation is subject to climate change adaptation.
The operational climate service is undergoing rapid development. All parts of the service will be functional in ECMWF’s production system from as early as the end of 2019, to then be refined during the remainder of the three-year project. Annual user meetings will be organised with participants from all EU countries.