While society has always had to deal with climate variability, the widespread effects of observed climate change (IPCC, 2014) are growing more pronounced and disruptive requiring people to adapt rapidly to these effects. Adaptation requires robust scientific knowledge on near- and long-term climate predictions and projections as well as expected impacts to support relevant policy- and decision-making (Article 7.7c, Paris Agreement).
The availability and use of sound and high-quality climate information and services tailored to meet specific user needs becomes therefore a pre-requisite for effective adaptation. (WMO-No. 1170). Improved climate information and services are essential for all countries to manage climatic risk in climate-sensitive sectors such as agriculture, water, health, disaster risk reduction etc., and take advantage of climate opportunities to increase productivity and reduce uncertainty that has limited decision-making in climate risk management and adaptation practice.
The Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS), an international initiative led by the World Meteorological Organization with partner UN and international organization and governments, is steering action to facilitate collective efforts to ensure effective and actionable climate services. The GFCS is working to bridge the gap between climate science, policy and practice. It aims to enable the production of timely high-quality climate information and services to ensure that people developing climate policies and strategies have access to the knowledge they need for effective planning and decision-making.
Today, climate services availability and application are weakest in the places that need them most – climate-vulnerable developing countries. Building on their expertise and mandates, partners are collaborating to provide climate services in specific climate-vulnerable countries such as Small Island States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs), who owing to their geographic and socio-economic circumstances represent, today, the most vulnerable and least capable of coping with climate-related extreme events such as droughts, floods, storms, heat/cold waves (UNISDR Poverty & Death: Disaster mortality 1996-2015 (2016).