Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Periodic Report Summary 2 - EUPORIAS (EUropean Provision Of Regional Impact Assessment on a Seasonal-to-decadal timescale)

Project Context and Objectives:
The European Commission is funding a four year project – EUropean Provision Of Regional Impacts Assessment on Seasonal and decadal timescales (EUPORIAS) - through its Framework Programme 7 (Grant Agreement number 308291). The main aim of the project is to demonstrate that the development of a suitable interface between users and providers of climate information can increase its societal usefulness, and ultimately strengthen the resilience of European society to climate variability and change. Whilst similar concepts would be applicable on a variety of time-scales, EUPORIAS focuses explicitly on developing climate services based on climate predictions from one month to five years into the future.
The lack of the emergence of a climate change signal, and the large, unforced variability of the climate system in European latitudes, makes this one of the most challenging time-scales and regions to work on. However the seasonal to decadal time-scale is also one of the most interesting from a decision-making point of view, as the effects, and hopefully benefits, of these decisions are realised relatively quickly by all involved.
This project began on 1 November 2012, coordinated by the UK’s Met Office, in conjunction with a consortium of 23 other organisations representing world class European climate research and climate service centres; expertise in impact assessments and seasonal predictions; two United Nations agencies; specialists in new media (such as Twitter, Facebook, smartphones, and YouTube); and commercial companies in climate-vulnerable sectors such as energy, water, and tourism. In addition, the consortium has strong links with end user organisations, many of which are involved in the project’s activities through a stakeholder group and stakeholder activities.

Project Results:
In order to achieve its aims the project has been designed around the users of climate information and their needs. A Stakeholder Board was formed at the very beginning of the project. This comprises some 60 public and private organisations, which operate in Europe in a variety of sectors, including health, energy, water, forestry, agriculture and tourism.
A series of in-depth interviews, dedicated workshops and online surveys were used to determine common users’ needs and consequentially inform the development of the research agenda especially in relation to impact modelling and downscaling. One research theme in the project was specifically designed to reduce the known gap that exists between the ways in which climate information is provided and the formats that users require this information to be presented. Making the information useful in this way is very important.
Three main strategies were formulated to assist with making model outputs more usable by stakeholders. These were;
1. Address the gap in resolution between the users' required resolution and that available from the climate model by developing suitable downscaling mechanisms (statistical and/or dynamical). Implicit in this is addressing the bias with respect to observations, which is an inevitable component of any model simulations;
2. Use climate indices as simple impact models to increase the usability of seasonal predictions; and
3. Develop, and couple with climate prediction systems, complex process-based models able to address specific user-relevant impacts.
Prominent among the recent activities of the project has been the development of a set of climate service prototypes. These prototypes have been selected and developed in close collaboration with the specific users they will serve and, in that respect, they represent the antithesis of the one-size-fits all approach of a climate information portal.
EUPORIAS was based on the assumption that in order to be useful, climate information needs to be adapted to the specific context of the users it aims to inform. In developing these prototypes, the focus has been on the transformation of the data, its post-processing and its graphical representation so that it can best serve the needs of the users around which the service was designed for. Some preliminary work on the interaction of the climate prediction information, with the decision support systems, and assessing the marketability of the climate services developed has also begun
EUPORIAS identified a cross-cutting theme on confidence and its effective communication. This is required in order to address the difficulties that arise when combining different sources of uncertainty and presenting them to decision makers. So far EUPORIAS has made progress in the understanding of the model skill; understanding of the impact model uncertainty; and in the assessment of the appetite that users have for different representations of the level of certainty associated with the impact predictions.
In collaboration with a group of some 30 international experts in climate service development, EUPORIAS has identified seven key principles that should be considered when developing new climate services. These key principles are depicted and described through a series of cartoons.

Potential Impact:
It may be useful here to distinguish the results and their potential impacts in terms of, acquisition of new knowledge, and technical improvements and achievements of direct relevance for the project.
1. Acquisition of new knowledge:
EUPORIAS provided one of the first comprehensive descriptions of the users’ landscape for climate services in Europe. Whilst other analyses have been conducted at both national and international level, to our knowledge nothing equates to the depth or breadth of the analysis conducted within EUPORIAS. The two general workshops conducted with users and providers of climate information, the 80 in-depth interviews and the results of the online surveys, will provide the scientific community in Europe with fresh data to better understand who the users of climate predictions are, and what kind of information they would like to obtain.
From a climate model perspective, improvements have been made in our understanding of the current level of bias, skill and drift that seasonal predictions in Europe have. In particular an analysis of the skill of seasonal prediction for climate indices is being conducted. An analysis of the spatial and temporal structure of the model drift will be conducted for different variables. The results so far, suggest that model drift depends strongly on lead-time, start day, location and variable. Whilst bias-correction (drift removal) should still be considered as the natural way to analyse model output, the results suggest that in some very specific circumstances the analysis of direct model output can potentially be conducted.
2. Technical improvements and achievements:
From a technical point of view there will be a number of major improvements achieved by EUPORIAS. The development of the ECOMS User-Data Gateway and the R-functions that sit on it, define a new way of interaction between users and climate prediction data. Technical achievements of this nature can often be mis-evaluated, but they probably represent one of the most important long-term legacies of the project so far.
Another technical improvement has been the definition of a glossary of terms dynamically allocated on the EUPORIAS web-pages. Rather than develop yet another technical glossary; something that would duplicate the effort of other organisations such as IPCC, CORDEX, COST-Action VALUE, etc.; the emphasis here has been on the minimum set of terms that needs to be defined in order to minimise the misunderstanding between users and providers of climate information. The glossary, which is directly linked to other existing glossaries and which has been implemented as a Drupal Module, can be easily updated to reflect the feedback provided by the user community.
Significant improvements will also be obtained in the field of impact model and regional model initialisation for climate predictions. One of the challenges the project faced was related to the need to account for model drift. Defining a common protocol for impact model simulations, as well as a standard set of data to be used as a benchmark, will give EUPORIAS partners and others, a well-defined basis for inter-comparison of impact predictions. This can be used beyond the lifetime of the project. For dynamical downscaling; significant effort is being put into the definition of a suitable procedure for downscaling seasonal predictions.

List of Websites:


Paula Newton, (Climate Business Manager)
Tel.: +44 1392 884834
Fax: +44 1392 885681
Record Number: 184089 / Last updated on: 2016-06-08
Information source: SESAM