Developing climate services with user value

SMHI is involved in two European research projects that aim to develop climate services together with users. This aims to make the climate services more user-friendly and appropriate, so that they meet the needs that exist in society.

As knowledge of ongoing climate change increases and more actors are working to adapt society to the changing climate, demand is growing for user-friendly climate services.

A climate service is where climate-related information is processed and presented in a user-friendly way. Climate services thus make it easier for individuals, organisations and decision-makers to plan and make decisions on measures or adaptation to a changed climate. When society has to be adapted to a changed climate, the importance of climate services increases, as agencies, companies and consultants need easily accessible and relevant information.

Close collaboration with users

In both projects, researchers are to work together with users so that they can design services that meet the users’ needs. Researchers will also investigate how users process new or modified information.

The CoCLIME project is aimed at climate services relating to changes in the sea, for example toxic algal blooms that can affect tourism, mussel farming and other commercial activities relating to the sea and the possibility of achieving environmental goals. The project is being coordinated by the Marine Institute in Ireland.

The AQUACLEW project aims to improve the quality of climate services for fresh water in Europe based on existing climate portals (e.g. the Copernicus portal with water indicators for climate adaptation). This project is being coordinated by SMHI.

“We’ll be studying how users can interact more directly with web portals and how uncertainties can be assessed throughout the whole production chain for different data sets. We’ll also be producing examples of how you can use climate data to climate-adapt different sectors, such as agriculture, nature conservation, hydro power, tourism, cities and coastal areas. This is to be tested in seven European user cases in order to study how the decision-making process changes when users have access to information,” explains Berit Arheimer, coordinator of the AQUACLEW project and researcher at SMHI.

European research

The two projects are being run within the Joint Programme Initiative (JPI), which is a form of collaboration between European research councils for which half the money comes from the EU and half at national level from the countries involved. Swedish co-financing comes from the FORMAS research council.

The European Research Area for Climate Services (ERA4CS) is a new initiative within JPI. The two projects were awarded funds in the first call for “Researching and Advancing Climate Service Development by Advanced co-development with users”.