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Catherine Vaughan, Suraje Dessai, and Chris Hewitt

Abstract

Billed as the creation and provision of timely, tailored information for decision-making at all levels of society, climate services have garnered a great deal of attention in recent years. Despite this growing attention, strategies to design, diagnose, and evaluate climate services remain relatively ad hoc—and while a general sense of what constitutes “good practice” in climate service provision is developing in some areas, and with respect to certain aspects of service provision, a great deal about the effective implementation of such service remains unknown. This article reviews a sample of more than 100 climate service activities as a means to generate a snapshot of the state of the field in 2012. It is found that a “typical climate service” at this time was provided by a national meteorological service operating on a national scale to provide seasonal climate information to agricultural decision-makers online. The analysis shows that the field of climate services is still emerging—marked by contested definitions, an emphasis on capacity development, uneven progress toward coproduction, uncertain funding streams, and a lack of evaluation activities—and stands as a signpost against which the development of the field can be measured. The article also reflects on the relative contribution of this sort of sampling activity in informing “good practice” and offers suggestions for how both sampling and case study efforts can be better designed to increase the potential for learning. This article concludes with some observations on the relative contribution that broad-based analyses can play in informing this emerging field.

Open access
Chris D. Hewitt and Jason A. Lowe
Open access
Yujie Wang, Lianchun Song, Chris Hewitt, Nicola Golding, and Zili Huang

Abstract

The primary needs for climate services in China, in the form of climate information for decision-making, are to better prepare for and manage meteorological-related disasters, adaptation to climate change, and sustainable development. In this paper, the vision, structure, content, and governance of the China Framework for Climate Services, which is designed to respond to these primary needs, is described. This paper reflects on practice, lessons, and experience developing and delivering climate services in China for disaster risk reduction, agriculture, water, energy, urbanization, and major engineering projects. Four key aspects of successful climate services are highlighted: the transition of climate research to operational climate services; delivering relevant, tailored, and usable climate information; effective engagement between users and providers of climate services; and building interdisciplinary professional teams. Key challenges and opportunities for climate services are recognized in this paper: a growing gap between climate science and services capability and societal need, a lack of awareness in user communities of the climate service value for their activities, and the important need for closer and more meaningful interactions between users and providers of climate services. The delivery and uptake of high-quality, relevant, usable, and effective climate services will facilitate climate-smart decisions that will reduce climate risks and improve Chinese societal resilience.

Open access
Chris Hewitt, Carlo Buontempo, Paula Newton, Francisco Doblas-Reyes, Kerstin Jochumsen, and Detlef Quadfasel
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Philip E. Bett, Hazel E. Thornton, Julia F. Lockwood, Adam A. Scaife, Nicola Golding, Chris Hewitt, Rong Zhu, Peiqun Zhang, and Chaofan Li

Abstract

The skill and reliability of forecasts of winter and summer temperature, wind speed, and irradiance over China are assessed using the Met Office Global Seasonal Forecast System, version 5 (GloSea5). Skill in such forecasts is important for the future development of seasonal climate services for the energy sector, allowing better estimates of forthcoming demand and renewable electricity supply. It was found that, although overall the skill from the direct model output is patchy, some high-skill regions of interest to the energy sector can be identified. In particular, winter mean wind speed is skillfully forecast around the coast of the South China Sea, related to skillful forecasts of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation. Such information could improve seasonal estimates of offshore wind-power generation. In a similar way, forecasts of winter irradiance have good skill in eastern central China, with possible use for solar-power estimation. Skill in predicting summer temperatures, which derives from an upward trend, is shown over much of China. The region around Beijing, however, retains this skill even when detrended. This temperature skill could be helpful in managing summer energy demand. While both the strengths and limitations of the results presented here will need to be considered when developing seasonal climate services in the future, the outlook for such service development in China is promising.

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Alan J. Hewitt, Ben B. B. Booth, Chris D. Jones, Eddy S. Robertson, Andy J. Wiltshire, Philip G. Sansom, David B. Stephenson, and Stan Yip

Abstract

The inclusion of carbon cycle processes within CMIP5 Earth system models provides the opportunity to explore the relative importance of differences in scenario and climate model representation to future land and ocean carbon fluxes. A two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) approach was used to quantify the variability owing to differences between scenarios and between climate models at different lead times. For global ocean carbon fluxes, the variance attributed to differences between representative concentration pathway scenarios exceeds the variance attributed to differences between climate models by around 2025, completely dominating by 2100. This contrasts with global land carbon fluxes, where the variance attributed to differences between climate models continues to dominate beyond 2100. This suggests that modeled processes that determine ocean fluxes are currently better constrained than those of land fluxes; thus, one can be more confident in linking different future socioeconomic pathways to consequences of ocean carbon uptake than for land carbon uptake. The contribution of internal variance is negligible for ocean fluxes and small for land fluxes, indicating that there is little dependence on the initial conditions. The apparent agreement in atmosphere–ocean carbon fluxes, globally, masks strong climate model differences at a regional level. The North Atlantic and Southern Ocean are key regions, where differences in modeled processes represent an important source of variability in projected regional fluxes.

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Chris Hewitt, Erica Allis, Simon Mason, Meredith Muth, Roger Pulwarty, Joy Shumake-Guillemot, Ana E. Bucher, Manola Brunet, Andreas M. Fischer, Angela M. Hama, Rupa Kumar Kolli, Filipe Lucio, Ousmane Ndiaye, and Barbara Tapia
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Adam A. Scaife, Elizabeth Good, Ying Sun, Zhongwei Yan, Nick Dunstone, Hong-Li Ren, Chaofan Li, Riyu Lu, Peili Wu, Zongjian Ke, Zhuguo Ma, Kalli Furtado, Tongwen Wu, Tianjun Zhou, Tyrone Dunbar, Chris Hewitt, Nicola Golding, Peiqun Zhang, Rob Allan, Kirstine Dale, Fraser C. Lott, Peter A. Stott, Sean Milton, Lianchun Song, and Stephen Belcher

Abstract

We present results from the first 6 years of this major UK government funded project to accelerate and enhance collaborative research and development in climate science, forge a strong strategic partnership between UK and Chinese climate scientists and demonstrate new climate services developed in partnership. The development of novel climate services is described in the context of new modelling and prediction capability, enhanced understanding of climate variability and change, and improved observational datasets. Selected highlights are presented from over three hundred peer reviewed studies generated jointly by UK and Chinese scientists within this project. We illustrate new observational datasets for Asia and enhanced capability through training workshops on the attribution of climate extremes to anthropogenic forcing. Joint studies on the dynamics and predictability of climate have identified new opportunities for skilful predictions of important aspects of Chinese climate such as East Asian Summer Monsoon rainfall. In addition, the development of improved modelling capability has led to profound changes in model computer codes and climate model configurations, with demonstrable increases in performance. We also describe the successes and difficulties in bridging the gap between fundamental climate research and the development of novel real time climate services. Participation of dozens of institutes through sub-projects in this programme, which is governed by the Met Office Hadley Centre, the China Meteorological Administration and the Institute of Atmospheric Physics, is creating an important legacy for future collaboration in climate science and services.

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