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C. D. Hewitt, E. Allis, S. J. Mason, M. Muth, R. Pulwarty, J. Shumake-Guillemot, A. Bucher, M. Brunet, A. M. Fischer, A. M. Hama, R. K. Kolli, F. Lucio, O. Ndiaye, and B. Tapia


There is growing awareness among governments, businesses, and the general public of risks arising from changes to our climate on time scales from months through to decades. Some climatic changes could be unprecedented in their harmful socioeconomic impacts, while others with adequate forewarning and planning could offer benefits. There is therefore a pressing need for decision-makers, including policy-makers, to have access to and to use high-quality, accessible, relevant, and credible climate information about the past, present, and future to help make better-informed decisions and policies. We refer to the provision and use of such information as climate services. Established programs of research and operational activities are improving observations and climate monitoring, our understanding of climate processes, climate variability and change, and predictions and projections of the future climate. Delivering climate information (including data and knowledge) in a way that is usable and useful for decision-makers has had less attention, and society has yet to optimally benefit from the available information. While weather services routinely help weather-sensitive decision-making, similar services for decisions on longer time scales are less well established. Many organizations are now actively developing climate services, and a growing number of decision-makers are keen to benefit from such services. This article describes progress made over the past decade developing, delivering, and using climate services, in particular from the worldwide effort galvanizing around the Global Framework for Climate Services under the coordination of UN agencies. The article highlights challenges in making further progress and proposes potential new directions to address such challenges.

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Gerald A. Meehl, Thomas Karl, David R. Easterling, Stanley Changnon, Roger Pielke Jr., David Changnon, Jenni Evans, Pavel Ya. Groisman, Thomas R. Knutson, Kenneth E. Kunkel, Linda O. Mearns, Camille Parmesan, Roger Pulwarty, Terry Root, Richard T. Sylves, Peter Whetton, and Francis Zwiers

Weather and climatic extremes can have serious and damaging effects on human society and infrastructure as well as on ecosystems and wildlife. Thus, they are usually the main focus of attention of the news media in reports on climate. There are some indications from observations concerning how climatic extremes may have changed in the past. Climate models show how they could change in the future either due to natural climate fluctuations or under conditions of greenhouse gas-induced warming. These observed and modeled changes relate directly to the understanding of socioeconomic and ecological impacts related to extremes.

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Will Pozzi, Justin Sheffield, Robert Stefanski, Douglas Cripe, Roger Pulwarty, Jürgen V. Vogt, Richard R. Heim Jr., Michael J. Brewer, Mark Svoboda, Rogier Westerhoff, Albert I. J. M. van Dijk, Benjamin Lloyd-Hughes, Florian Pappenberger, Micha Werner, Emanuel Dutra, Fredrik Wetterhall, Wolfgang Wagner, Siegfried Schubert, Kingtse Mo, Margaret Nicholson, Lynette Bettio, Liliana Nunez, Rens van Beek, Marc Bierkens, Luis Gustavo Goncalves de Goncalves, João Gerd Zell de Mattos, and Richard Lawford

Drought is a global problem that has far-reaching impacts, especially on vulnerable populations in developing regions. This paper highlights the need for a Global Drought Early Warning System (GDEWS), the elements that constitute its underlying framework (GDEWF), and the recent progress made toward its development. Many countries lack drought monitoring systems, as well as the capacity to respond via appropriate political, institutional, and technological frameworks, and these have inhibited the development of integrated drought management plans or early warning systems. The GDEWS will provide a source of drought tools and products via the GDEWF for countries and regions to develop tailored drought early warning systems for their own users. A key goal of a GDEWS is to maximize the lead time for early warning, allowing drought managers and disaster coordinators more time to put mitigation measures in place to reduce the vulnerability to drought. To address this, the GDEWF will take both a top-down approach to provide global realtime drought monitoring and seasonal forecasting, and a bottom-up approach that builds upon existing national and regional systems to provide continental-to-global coverage. A number of challenges must be overcome, however, before a GDEWS can become a reality, including the lack of in situ measurement networks and modest seasonal forecast skill in many regions, and the lack of infrastructure to translate data into useable information. A set of international partners, through a series of recent workshops and evolving collaborations, has made progress toward meeting these challenges and developing a global system.

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