The following cases were selected for discussion at the workshop with a view toward capturing the range of experiences alluded to in the introduction:
1. Queensland Australia
The system of climate research, forecasting, and applications is well developed and highly institutionalized in Australia, especially compared to many other climate forecasting systems throughout the world. This has been achieved through the use of existing institutions such as the national Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, the Bureau of Meteorology, the state-level Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, and the Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines. Gaps in institutional capacity have been met by the formation of new collaborative institutions such as the National Climate Center within the Bureau of Meteorology, designed to disseminate forecasts, and formal joint ventures—such as (1) the Agricultural Production Systems Research Unit, which is a joint venture of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (federal), the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (state), the Department of Natural Resources, Mines, and Energy (state), and the University of Queensland; and (2) the Queensland Center for Climate Applications, a joint venture of the Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries and the Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines. Despite some early difficulties to overcome, such as an initially somewhat hesitant relationship among the partners, the collaboration has managed over time to relatively effectively link science and decision making. This collaboration has resulted in an allocation of responsibilities that cuts across scales, from large-scale climate modeling through local-scale decision-making tools that incorporate climate as one factor in management or decision scenarios. The organizations’ “end-to-end” system employs iterated multidirectional communication among the Bureau of Meteorology, the Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, the Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines state agencies other institutional partners and collaborators, and decision makers such as the farm sector, rural industries, government policy makers and regulators in the Queensland Environmental Protection Agency, the National Agriculture and Fisheries Department, the National Australian Greenhouse Office, and others. Joint ventures like the Agricultural Production Systems Research Unit and emerging partnerships with private sector institutions or businesses (e.g., private consultants, private agricultural extension services) serve critical intermediary functions. The outputs of these collaborative activities span a range of products, services and outcomes including, flexible, user-friendly risk management models, forecasts, individual consultations, formal written reports and assessments.
2. Pacific ENSO Applications Center (PEAC)
In the early 1990s, the Office of Global Programs (OGP) at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) began to explore the utility of new forecasts for resource managers on Hawai’i and the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands.3 With OGP funding, a partnership between OGP, the Social Science Research Institute at the University of Hawai’i, and the Pacific Basin Development Council
(a regional association of the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands governments), held a scoping meeting in early 1992. Organized and driven by actors representing the continuum from climate research, social science research, and potential users of climate forecasts, the meeting brought together a range of perspectives to describe the current state of the science, but more importantly, to ask the question: How could forecasts be produced so that they might be useful to managers in the region? This scoping work led to the birth, in 1994, of the Pacific ENSO Applications Center (PEAC).4 In addition to the original partners, PEAC included the participation of the NOAA National Weather Service/Pacific Region, the University of Hawai’i/School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, and the University of Guam/Water and Energy Research Institute. PEAC’s mission is to conduct research and provide seasonal to interannual climate forecasts and climate information products for the benefit of the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands and the islands’ various emergency management economic, environmental, and human services sectors.
3. The U.S. Pacific Northwest
In the Pacific Northwest, the system of weather research, forecasting, and applications is strong, whereas the system for climate is at a much earlier level of development. In the early to mid-1990s, prior to the establishment of the Climate Impacts Group at the University of Washington, the region’s climate forecast system was relatively decentralized. The National Weather Service’s River Forecast Center issued water supply volume forecasts for several points in the Columbia and Snake River basins. These forecasts were coordinated with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Bureau of Reclamation. These forecasts were then and still are the most commonly used in the Columbia River Basin management system, and the River Forecast Center remains the dominant forecast provider. However, these forecasts are primarily resource forecasts. Whereas the forecast providers do use the forecasts issued by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center/National Center for Environmental Prediction, most stakeholders who could benefit from these climate forecasts are still not using them in 2004, even though their awareness of these forecasts is now much greater. Barriers to forecast use include perceptions of low forecast ability, a predilection for deterministic rather than probabilistic forecasts, and a wide variety of institutional hurdles.
In July 1995, OGP established a pilot program at the University of Washington—the Climate Impacts Group—which became the precursor of what is now known as the Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessment (RISA) program. The role of the Climate Impacts Group was to conduct research on the impacts of climate variability and the projected impacts of climate change on the Pacific Northwest across four sectors: hydrology/water resources, forest ecosystems, aquatic ecosystems, and coastal zones; to disseminate the results of this research widely; to work in partnership with a wide range of stakeholders; and particularly to focus on the applications of seasonal to interannual climate forecasts. It was also expected that, over time, the Climate Impact Group would produce a steady stream of decision support tools for stakeholders. As a result of the Climate Impact Group’s efforts, there is now greater awareness among natural resource managers in the region about the natural climate variations that underlie variations in regional resources and how this knowledge can be used to improve management. Subtle changes in management approaches are now beginning to surface relative to water resources, forest fire, salmonids, and coastal emergency preparedness.
4. Integrated Climate Prediction in Northeast Brazil
Ceará is an economically stressed, semiarid state on the northeastern coast of Brazil. According to the 2000 census, about 49 percent of its 7.42 million inhabitants live in extreme poverty, making less than US$30 per month per capita. This includes 76 percent of rural inhabitants and 58 percent of urban inhabitants. The interior of the state, or the sertão, normally gets approximately 600 millimeters of rain
See <http://lumahai.soest.hawaii.edu/Enso/> for more information.
during the February to May “rainy season,” but it periodically faces droughts, often associated with ENSO. Citizens who live off of low-scale, rain-fed agriculture and cattle ranching face hunger, unemployment, and dislocation during drought episodes.
The program to develop a decision support system for drought mitigation builds on nearly a decade of collaboration. It has three primary thrusts: (1) Seasonal to interannual water forecasting and management, (2) drought mitigation and relief, and (3) long-term water management and infrastructure development. The International Research Institute for Climate Prediction (IRI), based in Columbia University in the United States, collaborates with state agencies and local institutions to develop improved capabilities and integrate them into a framework for use by government and stakeholders. For example, the State Foundation for Meteorology and Hydrology [Fundação Cearense de Meteorologia e Recursos Hídricos (FUNCEME)] oversees forecasting and management of meteorological and hydrological data, the Water Resource Management Company (Companhia de Gestão dos Recursos Hídricos) is responsible for reservoir simulations and analysis, and a commission involving many state-level departments oversees analyses of water and drought management options. Besides the IRI, other research collaborators in the program include the University of Illinois; the Federal University of Ceará and its Center for the Improvement of Northeastern Economics (Centro de Aperfeiçoamento de Economistas do Nordeste); and the University of Arizona to provide analyses of its system and components. The Ceará state government, through its secretariats of agriculture, rural development, and water resources, has key management roles within its respective mandates.
5. Climate Forecasting and Malaria in Colombia
More than 5 million people in Colombia live in endemic malaria regions. The geographical distribution of malaria in Colombia is associated with prevalent climatic conditions. Mean annual temperature and precipitation are related to diverse factors such as elevation over the Andes, the distance to the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, and the influence of the circulation, vegetation, and land-surface feedbacks of the Amazon basin and the tropical Andes, which vary at annual and interannual timescales. Since the 1990s, public health officials in the Colombian Ministry of Health (through the National Public Health Surveillance System), and research scientists associated with Colombian universities (e.g., Universidad Nacional de Colombia), the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research, the IRI and the Climate and Health Information Exchange have attempted to make seasonal and interannual climate forecasting useful in predicting and addressing malaria outbreaks.