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Roan D. Plotz
Lynda E. Chambers
, and
Charlotte K. Finn


In most countries, national meteorological services either generate or have access to seasonal climate forecasts. However, in a number of regions, the uptake of these forecasts by local communities can be limited, with the locals instead relying on traditional knowledge to make their climate forecasts. Both approaches to seasonal climate forecasting have benefits, and the incorporation of traditional forecast methods into contemporary forecast systems can lead to forecasts that are locally relevant and better trusted by the users. This in turn could significantly improve the communication and application of climate information, especially to remote communities. A number of different methodologies have been proposed for combining these forecasts. Through considering the benefits and limitations of each approach, practical recommendations are provided on selecting a method, in the form of a decision framework, that takes into consideration both user and provider needs. The framework comprises four main decision points: 1) consideration of the level of involvement of traditional-knowledge experts or the community that is required, 2) existing levels of traditional knowledge of climate forecasting and its level of cultural sensitivity, 3) the availability of long-term data—both traditional-knowledge and contemporary-forecast components, and 4) the level of resourcing available. No one method is suitable for everyone and every situation; however, the decision framework helps to select the most appropriate method for a given situation.

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