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disproportionately to a privileged few—large producers, better-educated individuals, and actors with good access to credit and insurance markets—and disadvantage may come to many. However, little is known from direct observation about the distribution of the benefits from climate forecasts.


Meta-data are nonexistent describing the availability, quality, resolution, and other essential traits of data relevant for measuring the effects of climate variability and the value of climate forecasts. Governments and other organizations around the world collect data that are relevant to these purposes. In addition to climatological data, these include data on agricultural production, insured and uninsured losses from extreme climatic events, human morbidity and mortality, soil moisture, streamflows, and so forth. The data are collected for many purposes, but analysis of the effects of climate variability and its prediction are rarely, if ever, among them. Potentially useful data are also collected through various environmental monitoring systems (e.g., data from Long-Term Ecological Research sites, Large Marine Ecosystem Monitoring, and the Global Ocean and Terrestrial Observing Systems). Again, because the data were collected for unrelated purposes, their usefulness for addressing research questions about the consequences of climatic variations and forecasts needs to be investigated. It remains unknown to what extent existing relevant data are available in appropriate form and adequate resolution to address such research questions.

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