We all care about how future changes to the weather might affect us. This might be in our professional lives, where we think about risk from extreme weather to one industry, or this might be because we are all affected by disruption to energy supply, to transport and to food supply.
Decisions on a range of timescales
We don’t just care about the weather tomorrow, but we care about the weather next season, and the weather further into the future. We know climate change will bring hotter drier summers, and warmer wetter winters, and more extreme summer hot dry days, longer periods of drought, and more frequent and intense flash flooding.
When we make decisions we think on a range of timescales – what do we need to do this week? What do we need to do this month, or this financial year? Forward thinkers in government and businesses will often think longer term, and for sectors likely to be affected in a big way by the future changes to weather that we will see under climate change, this is an imperative.
With more extreme weather events, we are going to need change the way we do or build things, to adapt to the changing climate. We are going to need to protect our homes and schools from hazards like sea level rise and flash flooding or prevent them from damage from overheating. In the hottest and most vulnerable countries of the world, people will be forced to move away from their homelands, when nothing can grow there anymore.
Useful climate information to inform decision making
Until recently, different groups of scientists have thought about these impacts at different times in the future using different tools and producing different data products for seasonal and climate timescales. This has meant that information to help inform decision making can be complex for users from different parts of society to understand, making it hard to use this information in their decision making around adaptation.
To help make things more straightforward for decision making, seamless climate products will be produced by a Horizon Europe project involving the Met Office. Scientists working on the Adaptation orientated Seamless Predictions of European Climate project, known as the ASPECT project, will blend the best information from seasonal predictions with decadal climate predictions and beyond. This is a complex scientific task. However, making this information easier for people to use is a key part of climate services, where we develop our state-of-the-art science into something that you can use and incorporate into your decisions.
Embedding adaptation into decision making
Being able to consider climate change in the future consistently at different time horizons. For example, looking at one year, five years and 15 years ahead at the same time (in a seamless way) is really important for climate adaptation. Climate adaptation is a continual process, and one which we need to keep returning to, to ensure that we keep investing adequately to mitigate against the risks we face from climate change. We might want to make some changes now, and some changes in five or 10 years, and so having useful climate information to inform decision making helps people make the right decisions for their business and helps them plan and budget around future climate adaptation.
Climate change is also a ‘threat multiplier’ which means that it is likely to make worse other risks that we face in our lives, and this is why it is important that climate adaptation is embedded into other decision making. This could be at government policy level as recommended by the Climate Change Committee, in regional planning, or into risk assessments for businesses, hospitals and schools. By weaving climate adaptation through all the other decision making in our lives, we will be able to better prepare for the changes and challenges that more extreme weather from climate change will bring.
Become an ASPECT Super User
The Horizon Europe ASPECT project is working closely with organisations in the agriculture, finance and governance sectors, to help them incorporate climate adaptation in their wider decision making.
The ASPECT project recently launched an opportunity for two more organisations operating in societally important sectors in Europe to engage with the ASPECT project and become “Super Users”. Becoming an ASPECT Super User is a unique opportunity to become an integral part of the project over the next three years. The two Super Users will be selected in an open competition, giving them the chance to test and access the novel services developed in ASPECT. Among other benefits, becoming a Super User will enable you to:
- Make better informed decisions for resilience to climate change and extreme weather;
- Develop your understanding on extreme weather and climate risks, working directly with world-leading experts from the Barcelona Supercomputing Center and the Met Office;
- Help co-produce useful and usable state-of-the-art climate services that will benefit many other organisations.
Any organisation can get involved with ASPECT by signing up to the ASPECT mailing list which will also enable you to join our annual multi-sector User Forum events. You can also get in touch with the ASPECT project via emailing the project at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any further questions.