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How climate services can help decision taking in a changing climate: Stories from Horizon 2020 projects

Climate services turn scientific knowledge on climate variability and change into actionable information that can be exploited by a wide range of users, including public authorities, businesses and the public. The information allows the users to account for the effects of climate change into their decision making, thereby minimising risks and seizing available opportunities to achieve a more resilient society and economy. This CORDIS Results Pack focuses on 10 EU-funded projects that have developed vital tools and expertise to help mitigate the impacts of a changing climate through the application of climate services.

Climate Change and Environment

Global warming, together with exacerbating climate variability and extremes, threatens the well-being of European citizens and is already damaging our economy and natural capital. Despite mitigation efforts, climate change will continue to create significant stress across Europe and the need to adapt to its impacts will not cease. The EU is taking on these challenges with European Green Deal and is transforming its growth strategy and the way in which decisions are taken. Climate services are capable of integrating climate information to support policymaking, planning and management on timescales that extend from months to decades. They are tailored to users’ needs and provide additional information on concerns such as crop pests and disease, water management, insurance decisions, urban planning, maintenance and resilience of infrastructure and related investments, and healthcare management.

The importance of EU-funded research

Climate services have been a key research and innovation priority under Horizon 2020 with several call topics dedicated to advancing this area and further supporting the implementation of the Paris Agreement and EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change. This funding leverages on the wealth of data provided by the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S). It has been instrumental in the emergence of a climate services market through activities that generate economic value from available climate information, provide demonstrable benefits and solutions to society, make efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change more cost-effectively and, in turn, render the European economy more competitive. This CORDIS Results Pack aims to raise awareness of climate services among decision-makers by show casing 10 EU-funded projects and the help they can provide. An added value is the presentation of results through the eyes of actual users who were involved in the development and testing of the tools to give first-hand experience of their benefits and caveats.

Forecasting climate change and extreme events for better preparedness and management

The application of climate services can be very broad. CLARA built upon advances in climate modelling to create a set of leading-edge climate services based on near-term forecasts providing sectoral online applications in the area of disaster risk reduction, water resource management, agriculture and food security, renewable energy, and public health. Climateurope identified gaps, new challenges and emerging needs to enable better management of climate-related risks and opportunities for creating greater social and economic value. H2020_Insurance created a standardised risk assessment model that can evaluate potential losses and areas at most risk and quantify financial losses of modelled scenarios. To help energy sector become more climate-resilient, S2S4E developed an online climate service that gives more reliable and usable forecasts for weather-dependent hydropower, solar and wind energy production. Blue-Action developed several climate services including a web-map analysing weather conditions in the Arctic to improve ship pathways. IMPREX improved the forecasting of meteorological and hydrological extremes across Europe and their impacts, supporting risk management and adaptation planning at European and national levels. PROSNOW developed a tool to help ski resorts make better decisions by predicting the snow conditions from the next few days to a whole season. To increase urban resilience, CLARITY provided a climate services platform to include the effects of climate change hazards and design adaptation strategies in planning and implementation of urban infrastructure development projects. Climate-fit.City developed tools demonstrating the added value of urban climate services in six cases across Europe to overcome local challenges. In the agricultural sector, VISCA designed and demonstrated a decision-support system (VISCA DSS) to improve the resilience of wine grape farms to increasing climate-related challenges.