ERA4CS definition of climate services

According to the ERA4CS call, there are different definitions of climate services, which is a consequence of the wide variety of stakeholders and needs, as well differing functions of the organisations that deliver climate services.

Climate services are...

  • easily accessible, timely, and decision-relevant scientific information about climate change mitigation, adaptation and disaster risk management.
  • in a broad sense: user driven development, translation and transfer of climate knowledge, including knowledge for understanding the climate, climate change and its impacts, as well as guidance in its use to researchers and to decision-makers in policy and business.
  • a response to the increasing demand from stakeholders for usable information and solutions about climate change impacts, vulnerability, risks and opportunities, their uncertainties and probabilities and options for actions.

...which could address wide timescales, i.e. month to century time-scale, going beyond current operational weather services.

Climate services are used to...

  • help society to cope with current and future climate variability and change in order to limit climate-related economic, social and ecological impacts and damages.
  • take advantage of transformation opportunities, to build resilience to climate change, to support a sustainable development and to contribute to a climate-resilient and climate-friendly society.

Potential users of climate services

  • Decision‐makers in enterprises
  • NGOs
  • Policy makers from various levels (transnational, national, regional and local)
  • Scientists
  • Citizens
  • Consumers

Definition of climate services from other organisations

American Meteorological Society

Climate services (CS) may be defined as scientifically based information and products that enhance users’ knowledge and understanding about the impacts of climate on their decisions and actions. These services are made most effective through collaboration between providers and users.

World Meteorological Organization

A climate service is a decision aide derived from climate information that assists individuals and organizations in society to make improved ex-ante decision-making. A climate service requires appropriate and iterative engagement to produce a timely advisory that end-users can comprehend and which can aid their decision-making and enable early action and preparedness. Climate services need to be provided to users in a seamless manner and, most of all, need to respond to user requirements.

Climate Europe

A Climate Service is the provision of climate information to assist decision-making. The service must respond to user needs, must be based on scientifically credible information and expertise, and requires appropriate engagement between the users and providers.

Climate Services and society
Policy makers can use climate services to access decision-relevant scientific information in order to make the best decisions for society as a whole. This can help society to cope with current climate variability and limit the economic and social damage caused by climate-related disasters.

The multisectoral dimension
Climate Services ensure that the best available climate science is effectively communicated with agriculture, water, health, and other sectors, to develop and evaluate adaptation strategies.