Participants Responses to Question 2
Tools and methods that we have developed collaboratively among public and private agencies and organizations, both in the disaster management community and in the climate community, have focused on building recognition and awareness of climate variability, climate change, and extreme climate events and the impacts of these. The Pacific ENSO Applications Center (PEAC) distributed a newsletter with climate forecast information, conducted educational workshops and discussions, and provided radio teleconferences to respond to technical questions and concerns during the 1997-98 ENSO warm event. SSRI, in collaboration with SOPAC, conducted a national workshop in Fiji that looked at methods of understanding and evaluating the impacts of the drought event in 1998. A regional workshop in Fiji in 1999 furthered this effort to understand impacts, and to strengthen communication and collaboration in planning for future events among three communities---meteorologists/climatologists, disaster managers, and water resource managers. These impact assessment workshops were also conducted among the public health and climate communities to bridge communication and dialogue, and to build awareness. Workshops on the consequences of climate variability and change furthered this sense of collaboration and communication in assessing impacts and in planning to address these impacts in the future. Work in disaster management has also used principles of building public awareness and education (including a website with actions that homeowners and businesses can take) and participatory hazard mitigation planning in the process of developing mitigation plans.
The tools and activities developed to address issues of climate variability have dramatically improved public awareness and opened an increasingly sophisticated dialogue on climate change and variability. This dialogue benefits from the background and knowledge of diverse communities of scientists, technicians, decision makers and cultural practitioners. The ongoing dialogue and networking effort further establishes a foundation and a process for engaging in strategic, long-term planning related to climate change.
It will be important to improve tools and research for addressing climate change that blend knowledge from different sources. It will be important to establish the same trust and collaboration that exists among the communities engaged in the climate dialogue in the Pacific region.(top)
Development of institutional designs to generate, translate and communicate climate forecast information to manage inter-annual climate variability have been undertaken. The experiences and insights will be shared. This could also be made use of to manage climate variatibility of various time scales.
I have developed a water allocation model that takes ensemble forecasts to allocate water for different uses. Applying these tools in the context of climate change would help in developing a scenario analyses rather than any concrete decisions.
WALTER E. BAETHGEN
The main tool is the agricultural systems approach which includes: crop simulation models, expert systems, possible climate scenarios (based on probabilistic seasonal forecasts and on possible climate change scenarios. Given the multi-dimensionality of the problems that need to be addressed in agriculture, three discipline groups need to interact closely, namely (i) climate sciences, (ii) agricultural systems Science (including economics) and (iii) rural sociology.
Given the research premise mentioned above, and considering that climate change can be viewed as a “low frequency component” of climate variability, research can be established using the same quantitative tools and approaches.
Under NOAA support through ADPC, the Climatology Laboratory at Department of Geophysics and Meteorology, Bogor Agricultural University in collaboration with Bureau of Meteorology and Geophysics, Directorate Plant Protection, and Indramayu Agriculture Office has initiated climate field school program to capacitate farmers to use climate (forecast) information to support their farming activities. The challenge is how to institutionalize the process so that it can be sustainable.
Involve actively as many as possible in any National Task Force related to Climate in order to provide inputs to policy makers on addressing climate variability. This will strengthen the science-policy link and will accelerate the adoption of scientific findings for setting up strategic plans and policies for adapting to current and future climate variability (planning/policy horizon).
MOHAMMED SADECK BOULAHYA
<<<the most recent development has been the RURAL COMMUNICATION Program, RANET-Africa…then RANET-Global, which allowed the Farming Rural Communities the benefit from the scientific information available in the field of CLIMATE INFORMATION and Prediction>>>
<<capacity building within the climate communities to partner with the other socio-economic development communities and produce integrated information and services, like the one on HEALTH……….PARSAC.NET>>
There is a need to further develop the partnership between THE CLIMATE COMMUNITIES and all the Development Sectors, in order to make from Climate information a resource for the sustainable management of the environment. The research needs are in a more detailed knowledge of CLIMATE and the integration of all the earth sciences. FINALLY , publicizing through education and regular information about probable scenarios of climate change and potential impacts should help in a better preparation and prevention for the extremes .
NATHANIEL AGUSTIN CRUZ
In PAGASA, the Climate Information, Monitoring and Prediction Services was developed to provide various climate information e.g. short and long-range forecasts for the general public, policy and decision makers. Conduct of seminars/workshops, climate fora (initiated recently) have been effective in helping members of different socio-economic sectors to mitigate impacts of climate variability. Although the number of users of this information is still significantly low as compared to those who do not apply climate information in their decision-making.
The main insight is that adaptation is an exercise in risk management and that the theories and methods developed for risk management over the past 30 years can therefore be applied to the adaptation problem as well. It is important that work on adaptation be targeted towards solving specific climate-related problems such that there are immediate, tangible benefits from the interventions undertaken. This requires working closely with experts on all aspects of the problem to develop appropriate decision-support tools and techniques.
We have developed a state sponsored climate change and variability research program designed to inform the policy debate on how to adapt to climate variability and change in California. This research program is designed to complement the existing national and international research programs.
We have developed an integrated assessment system which is an iterative process of workshops for interacting with local populations, and modeling tools to look at the effects of climate variability on the ecological system and the human economic system. Both have the potential to continue to help in populations’ adaptation to climate change
Our work examines the potential utility of climate forecast information to guide operations in for the Panama Canal using actual retrospective forecast information, a simple model of the canal and canal operations, and decision analysis with appropriate uncertainty. The findings show that the canal well designed to meet its current shipping targets in all but years of severe El Niño associated drought. In those years, climate forecast information can be of substantial value – guiding operators to retain water (curtail electrical generation) during the early part of the wet season. In other years, forecast information is of some value, typically in suggesting increased hydroelectric generation when relatively high inflows are likely later in the year. Poor characterization of uncertainties reduces benefits substantially. We also examine how the value of forecast information might change if shipping targets were increased.
The primary tools
we have developed for water resources have been hydrologic forecasts
such as ENSO/PDO based long-range streamflow forecasts, and climate
change streamflow scenarios. We have also invested a lot of time in
creating ongoing partnerships with the potential user community in order
to provide concrete “road maps” for how to use these kinds
of climate information in water management and water planning. Ongoing
workshops for policy makers play a similar role at the upper levels
of decision making.
We have developed an online webtool for anyone to better understand seasonal forecasts and interannual variability (of climate and related factors such as water supplies). We are also developing tools for helping people manage the surfeit of information they confront as they try to stay up-to-date about climate variability or communicate it to others. Our experience in adapting our research agenda and our webtools provide concrete examples of typically abstract concepts, e.g., stakeholder-driven research, useable science, and the difference among data and information tools, knowledge development tools, and decision support systems. We have developed insights about the implications of the objectives of science funding for the ways stakeholders are engaged, the kinds of science products that are appropriate, and ultimately public perceptions about the public science enterprise and who should pay for it. We have also developed concepts about judging the success of research products, projects, and programs that attempt to be stakeholder-driven or reflect useable science.
We are working closely with the Extension Service in the SE USA to develop a decision support system that can be used by Extension Agents in their education programs for farmers and local businesses. We have held a number of training programs already, and have more in preparation, especially now that we are getting information into our first prototypes of the SE.AgClimate decision support site. We are working closely with Extension in the design and implementation of this system. The site is not yet open to the public.We have analyzed historical agricultural statistics to show that ENSO has a major impact on crop yields in our SE USA region. We have also published several papers in which crop models were used to study how climate forecasts could be used to optimize crop management and reduce risks. Our team has also developed weather generators to convert climate forecasts into daily weather realizations for operating crop models. We are using these tools to produce risk management information for three crops at the moment, and this information will be provided via our DSS web site.
As a researcher, my contribution has concerned the development of methods for studying vulnerability (defined by the potential to cope with and adapt to environmental stress) and case study analysis of coping and adaptation in Vietnam, based on the methodology we have developed. See: Adger, W. N. and Kelly, P. M. (2000) Social vulnerability to climate change and the architecture of entitlements. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies , 4, 253-266. Locke, C., Adger, W. N., Kelly, P. M. (2000) Changing places: migration's social and environmental consequences. Environment , 42(7), 24-35. Kelly, P. M. and Adger, W. N. (2000) Theory and practice in assessing vulnerability to climate change and facilitating adaptation. Climatic Change , 47, 325-352. Adger, W. N., Kelly, P. M. and Nguyen Huu Ninh (2001) Environment, society and precipitous change. In: Living with Environmental Change: Social Vulnerability, Adaptation and Resilience in Vietnam , eds. W. N. Adger, P. M. Kelly and Nguyen Huu Ninh, 3-18. Routledge, London. The aim of this work has been to operationalise an approach to present-day vulnerability assessment that can be applied to the question of adaptation to long-term climate change. For example, study of the storm warning system in Vietnam has indicated present-day problems that must be addressed as a first step in ensuring timely adaptation to future trends in storm occurrence. Capacity strengthening work in Indochina on seasonal climate forecasting, another current involvement of mine, contributes to improving the ability of these societies to resist the impact of longer-term climate trends.
Western Water Assessment essentially provides "assistance"
to the water management community in two distinct ways. First, through
the provision of short-term (seasonal), annual, and inter-annual forecasts
regarding expected levels (and timing) of snowpack and runoff, essential
to correctly managing reservoirs. Due to recent drought conditions,
this work has taken on greater urgency, and has included service on
committees such as the Colorado Drought Task Force. Secondly, the project
is developing a variety of scenarios that can test the impacts of extreme
events and/or long-term climate change on water delivery systems. This
data will be useful in illuminating planning options.
I am conducting research on issues in implementing seasonal climate forecasting for rainfed subsistence agriculture in the West Africa. Also, examining adaptation strategies to climate change in metropolitan Boston USA.
What possibilities do you foresee for applying these to the challenge of adapting to climate change, and what still needs to be developed?
The biggest challenges to adapting to climate change are probably political
will and the need to consider all the multiple costs and benefits.
PATRICK NKONO LUGANDA
We have developed radio programmes
in local languages to disseminate climate forecasts and enable dialogue
between local communities and the climate scientists on the changing
patterns in the climate as well as the extreme climate events that are
currently experienced at an increased frequency. Through our work we
have managed to learn that local communities have coping strategies
that they have developed to deal with climate variability and climate
change. Some of these include intercropping of various crops to ensure
that if one crop fails they can be able to at least harvest one of the
crops intercropped as it may have a shorter maturing period or have
stronger resistance to extreme weather pressures. The other example
is staggered planting of crops such that they are subjected to different
climate conditions over the growing period. That way at least one of
the crops can survive. It is also a strategy to enable weeding over
a longer period as the crops are at different maturity levels.By developing dissemination
radio programmes in local languages we are able to reach a large cross
section of rural people who are mostly not able to understand English
which is the national language in Uganda. However there is still a need
to widen the scope of languages that we are country working in to include
more language groups. Lack of sufficient funding is a hindrance to attaining
this vision but the potential is high for changing the rural livelihoods
of the people we are working with. This is because apart from disseminating
meteorological climate forecasts to them we are also lewarning how they
deal with climate variability locally.
The PACE-SD (USP) has been offering a regional training course (V&A course) in climate change impacts, vulnerability and adaptation assessment since 2002. The said course was a jointly developed by USP, IGCI (university of Waikato) and SPREP under the PICCAP. One of the critical issue in the Pacific Island Countries (PICs) especially those within the USP region is the lack of a critical mass of people within governments, NGOs and communities being aware of the issues relating to CV and CC. We believe that by mounting the V&A course, it will contribute to developing capacity within PICs in terms of awareness building targeting government policy makers/implementers to the ordinary citizens. Maintaining and enhancing partnership with other regional organizations and international organizations through networking and mutual use of information/data/expertise within the organizations to deal with CV and CC are currently undertaken by PACE-SD.One of the challenges in as far as capacity building relating to CV and CC is the communication of CV and CC related information (usually technical) to the larger population within countries. This is where; assistance from developing partners will be greatly appreciated. The prohibitive costs relating to the scattered nature of PICs and their generally limited financial base also limited the number of participants we could bring in for our V&A course. Furthermore, CV and CC issues need to be mainstreamed into Government policies so that a basic operational framework is available in country. In terms of climate variability through cyclones and ENSO, forecasting services within countries need improvement in terms of human resources and technological tools.
To capitalise on the ever increasing understanding of causes and consequences of CV and CC, agencies across Australia are engaging in participatory, cross-disciplinary research that brings together institutions (partnerships), disciplines (eg. climate science, agricultural systems science, sociology and many other disciplines) and people (scientists, policy makers and direct beneficiaries as equal partners to reap the benefits from agricultural systems and climate research. To be most effective, these partnerships should include the private sector, eg. consultants, banks and insurance companies. Climate science can provide insights into climatic processes, agricultural systems science can translate these insights into management options and social scientists can help to determine the options that are most feasible or desirable from a socio-economic perspective. Any scientific breakthroughs in climate forecasting capabilities are much more likely to have an immediate and positive impact if they are conducted and delivered within such a framework.Extreme events also require multidimensional risk analyses, because risks and stresses to which agricultural systems are exposed can arise from a wide variety of sources. It is important, for instance, to differentiate between buffered systems that can absorb certain climatic shocks and systems that exhibit well-defined sensitivity thresholds that, once exceeded, will lead to a catastrophic systems collapse.Many of the successful applications of climate information are based on our understanding of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation phenomenon (ENSO). Although ENSO explains a significant proportion of climate variability, knowledge of other climate drivers also has considerable potential to improve agricultural systems performance. More accurate and longer-lead forecasts remain a key research priorities. Statistically based climate forecasting has become an important component in managing climate variability risks in agriculture. However, such statistical methods might have reached their ‘limits of predictability’, making a major breakthrough in statistical forecasting unlikely. Furthermore, the increasing evidence for climate change raises questions about their validity. This means that any future breakthroughs are likely to be associated with GCMs. World-wide millions of dollars are spend on GCM development, but successful applications are still rare. Although GCM output is used to inform the policy process, GCM output needs to be ‘downscaled’ is some form before it can be used for operational risk management, particularly in conjunction with biological simulation models. There is still no agreed method how appropriate downscaling can be achieved. Hence, GCMs - in spite of their potential - do not contribute in any substantial way to operational CC/CV associated risk management
On the basis of
the CIG’s experience, we have found the following approach to
be most productive: create partnerships with major or potentially major
users of climate forecasts; use a series of regular workshops to learn
the nature and details of user needs and to teach them how to use probabilistic
climate forecasts; develop forecast products and teach their applications;
refine and continue the cycle. Use the same techniques relative to the
climate change problem. With respect to both variability and change,
remember that the problems have to be treated at all levels, from local
to regional and combining technical managers with policymakers.
We are developing several useful tools for helping reduce climate impacts: (a) a decision support tool that provides users with evaluations of the skill and accuracy of forecasts at scales relevant to their operations; (b) a monthly packet of regionally tailored climate and hydrology information and forecasts that provides an array of information important for decision making by different sectors in the Southwest; (c) work is underway, in collaboration with researchers elsewhere to develop historical and paleo climate information at finer scales; for the instrumental record, information delivered at a scale of one kilometer is the goal; and (d) work is underway to deliver better snowpack information for water resource management. Among the methods we have developed are (a) convening regular workshops to develop and/or disseminate important climate information and discuss issues important to participants; (b) publication of a quarterly newsletter that provides information about findings from CLIMAS project research; (c) maintenance of a web site that features substantial informational content, publications, a regionally tailored climate outlook package, and annotated links to other sources of information; (d) pilot projects, such as END Insight, that provide information about participants’ evaluation and use of different climate products over time and in different contexts; (e) detailed ethnographic studies of climate vulnerability and adaptation and development of a GIS vulnerability map product; (f) establishment of an ongoing dialogue involving residents of the Upper San Pedro River Basin, which encompasses parts of southeastern Arizona and northeastern Sonora, Mexico (with funding from NOAA and Dialogue on Water and Climate); (g) development of a model for predicting outbreaks of Valley Fever, a disease endemic to parts of the Southwest and adjacent areas of Mexico; (h) development of a model for assessing the degree of synergy between researchers and stakeholders in the co-production of science and policy; and (i) construction of an integrated, interactive, web-based GIS model for use by fire managers, community members, and others that combines fire-climate-and societal factors to produce fire risk maps for four study areas in the US Southwest (funded by EPA); this project also entails development of an interactive web site that provides access to the model and to supplemental information useful for strategic decision making. Given that monitoring changing conditions will be critical, all of the above can be applied to adaptation to climate change, though in some cases, such as the fire-climate-society model, more work would need to be done to cover other areas beyond the study sites; also needed would be the addition of dynamical capabilities to integrate real-time climate data and vegetation changes.One area needing development is research that looks at introducing a more sustainable way to conduct ongoing assessment of climate impacts and adaptation processes. Participative science, done at community and sectoral scales by community members, is one way that this could be accomplished. Aggregation of information at state, regional and higher levels would be required to minimize contradictions and chaotic outcomes. Also needed are innovative methods for evaluating the relative merits of different kinds of changes in institutions and organizational cultures for successfully coping with climate change and its differential impacts on various sectors of society.
1. The weather service is participating actively in development of Disaster Management by working with stakeholder institutions in policy formulation and strategic planning. 2. Diversified dissemination tools of weather and climate products, especially to rural communities who are most vulnerable to vagaries of weather, (case of RANET) 3. Adopted a multidisciplinary integrated approach to development of weather and climate products. 4. Strengthening data acquisition (eg. Doppler Radar network), strengthening forecasting accuracy in NWP Strengthening long-range prediction using dynamical models (eg. Regional Spectral Model) instead of purely statistical models. .(top)
In the last two decades the Zambia Meteorological Department has been working on the methods of communication that would enable it reach the people who produce food, the peasant farmers in remote rural areas of the country. The national communication infrastructure that has been in place could only cater for the urban and peri-urban areas. Both radio and TV broadcasts had reached the urban areas only, while newspapers reached the provincial centers only and rather belated. It is only in the last four years when something that is most effective has been tried and has proved to be very useful. Zambia is now putting in place a system that is reaching far flung areas. The department is assisting rural communities to acquire FM broadcasting equipment for use at community radio stations. The system is equipped with accessories to access satellite digital radio broadcasts in audio, text and video formats. It is through these broadcasting stations that the department is now able to reach the rural communities. There are now seven such radio stations and hope to equip a few more in the next couple of years as the project continues until the whole country is covered. Radio broadcasting is the fastest and most cost effective way of communicating with the people. Any organization, government, NGOs and private sector working with the rural people will be able to use this system to pass on information. Information on climate variability adaptation can now be disseminated to the rural areas quickly and clearly because it is presented in local language. Similarly climate change information can be disseminated in the same way. At present the system is a one-way communication system and researchers are now developing a system that will enable rural people to send information to the urban quickly and cheaply that way information exchange will become complete.
Data base, monitoring, prediction, and early warning; enhance regional climate modelling capacity; impacts/vulnerability/adaptation options assessments; education and awareness; capacity building; interfaces with users; use of media experts in education, training and communication, sector specific policy developments; factoring of climate information in disaster management policies; research, pilot application projects for cost benefit analysis and assessment of impacts of services deliveries.
My main contribution has been to illustrate the importance of taking fairly obvious steps to enhance the trustworthiness and comprehensibility of the information; taking these steps can make tie difference between people deciding to use the information (which carries a lot of risk), or not (which also carries a lot of risk, although it is a risk of a different subjective character). What steps they take, I argue, are on the one hand fairly simple, and on the other hand something that they themselves must discover and decide upon. One of the most difficult challenges I see is helping people to understand the probabilistic character of information, and thus to view their adaptation as a portfolio of measures, that if done wisely, can decrease overall risk. For climate change, this is crucial, and something often ignored. What I offer is insights into how well-described uncertainty about climate can become one among many pieces of information that people use to decide the best course of action, and indeed how to help people to decide that it is worthwhile even to think in terms of the best of course of action.
JENNIFER G. PHILLIPS
Building confidence among those impacted (in our case, rural farmers, but more generally, it means everyone), with respect to managing for climate variability seems key. There is a very strong link between climate change and climate variability in that rural people perceive an increasing trend in the “unpredictability“ of climate. One often hears people say – “we used to expect the season to be this way or that based on these signs, but these days it seems unpredictable”. The increase in unpredictability is generally associated with long term climate change among populations studied. Indeed, as the system shifts in response to greenhouse gases, it may be that traditional methods break down. But there is a general expectation (I think) among the climate community that current prediction capacity will remain robust even as climate changes. Building confidence of people that, in spite of all the uncertainty in the long term trends, we do have some degree of skill in seasonal prediction and people can respond in ways that protect them. Part of this is building resilience and making contingency plans – so even if we aren’t sure, we are planning for that uncertainty, rather than throwing our hands up in despair.
We have developed linked
modeling approaches for risk analysis and risk management purposes.
We have argued that there is a need to provide a distribution of expected
outcomes when acting upon climate information. We have emphasized the
need to understand the broader context in which climate may be one of
many sources of risk (and usually, not the major one).
In Central America CRRH/SICA
had developed an approach based in:
WILLIAM K. REISEN
What possibilities do
you foresee for applying these to the challenge of adapting to climate
change, and what still needs to be developed? Our current research
focuses on using climate forecasts to predict mosquito abundance
change and hopefully encephalitis virus activity seasons in advance.
This information will be included in a risk assessment model used
as a decision support system by local and state health agencies in
California and then perhaps the US. Our predictions are based on
model training using an extensive historical data set [>50 y from
50 agencies] to assess our forecasting skill.
We have developed a series of simple software tools to calculate water availability, risk of irrigation water shortfalls, effects on key crops' yields, farm profits, and regional economy. We also have predicted effects of climate change on unmanaged flows and have calculated the impacts of weather and irrigation water availability on these same crops. We have examined some crop adaptation regimes with current cultivars and have looked at the consequences of additional water storage but have not developed new management rule curves for reservoirs or examined the effects of new crops or short-season cultivars.
I’ll address some of the key insights (“lessons learned”) from the Pacific in my background paper but I’d like to use this question to highlight the importance of a sustained, interactive dialogue between the providers of information on changing climate conditions and the users of that information in the public and private sectors. A highly-simplified picture of this dialogue emerged from both a recent Pacific Islands regional assessment and the experience of the Pacific ENSO Applications Center (PEAC) and is attached as Figure 1. The participants in the Pacific Assessment highlighted the need to maintain this process of shared learning (co-learning) and joint problem-solving as one of the highest priorities for future assessment activities. A recent comparative study of PEAC and an ENSO forecasting system in Africa also highlights the importance of such “collaborative participation” in galvanizing “an iterative process that fostered periodic evaluation of the needs of the users of forecasts and the capabilities of climate scientists and forecasters” (Cash, et al, in press). A March 2003 Symposium on Climate and Extreme Events in the Asia-Pacific also highlighted the need to “utilize a team or network approach with partners – including decision makers – engaged in an iterative, participatory process” (Shea, in press). Building and sustaining this kind of collaborative climate partnership in the Pacific represents the foundation of the emerging Pacific RISA program with an eye toward the ultimate development of a Pacific climate information system that will in assist Pacific Island communities in meeting today’s needs while planning for the future.Focusing on these partnerships represent a recognition of the importance of addressing what Mickey Glantz referred to as an integrated “climate-society system” (Glantz, 2003 Opening Keynote at Symposium on Climate and Extreme Events in Asia-Pacific). If we are, in fact, interested in improving the effectiveness and efficiency of this integrated system, then we are compelled to undertake a collaborative program that is as interested in societal context, decision-making frameworks and information needs as it is interested in enhancing the ability to monitor, understand and anticipate changes in the physical climate system. Creating and sustaining these partnerships is both a grand challenge and an unprecedented opportunity for the multi-disciplinary community of scientists interested in climate adaptation as well as the governments, resource managers and businesses for whom adaptation to changes in climate represents a matter of survival and sustainable development.
Tools: Translation of climate forecasts into regionally-specific natural resource forecasts.Methods: Needs assessment and decision analysis to support the development of the tools listed above.Capacity: Long-term cultivation of relationships with regional stakeholders, sponsorship of regular capacity building/technology transfer workshops. Development and maintenance of partnerships through these planning and policy workshops and via consultancies.Climate Change: Requires translation of global/regional climate change scenarios to climate impact scenarios at the local scale. Also, many planners still require some sort of risk assessment or probability distribution to make
In a multi-country project in SE Asia we are developing locally-appropriate climate information tools, and institutional capacity to use them in real-time. The project employs a two level approach: 1) carrying out targeted demonstration projects to explore and refine methods across sectors and levels, and 2) identifying and stimulating national capacities to scale up the application of the methods so that they can be applied elsewhere in the region. In a second research project we are demonstrating improvements in livelihoods subject to high climate variability (in India and Indonesia) by developing (1) a livelihood framework that captures the impacts of climate variability, (2) decision support tools showing measurable improvements in the performance of climate sensitive livelihoods, and (3) policies and capabilities required to operationalize at national scales. In another project, in the context of SE Asia, we are exploring the utility of long term trend information for evolving strategies to cope with adaptation to climate change, in the context of institutional mechanisms that are developed to manage climate variability.
Our research focus has been to understand the land tenure and land use processes in place to anticipate the impacts of climate variability on agricultural systems. Because we work in a very economically depressed region, our main outreach from this research is the development of workshops targeted at rural communities and the smallholder households within them. During the summer 2003 we held three such workshops with representatives of various communities to present our results about socio-economic variation within the region and the impacts of drought and ENSO. We handed out a pamphlet on the impacts of drought and increased fire hazard, and supplied all participants with rain gauges to begin monitoring weather conditions on their own. While these tools may seem rudimentary, there is no access to climate and weather information at a scale that is useful for smallholder farmers and minimal federal resources are allocated to rural development. These workshops empower smallholders by providing a space for them to come together, become better informed, discuss concerns and begin to organize, as well as, give them basic tools to observe, record and utilize climate variability information in their region. I think before we can address the challenges of adapting to climate change we have to be able to translate mesoscale climate processes to local scale climate outcomes. In the region we work in, we can not begin to develop the sets of information necessary for farmers to understand the way in which their agricultural systems will need to adapt until we know better what climate changes are likely to unfold.
Insight : Information about expected climatic conditions (from seasonal forecasts to climate change predictions) can be used as a vehicle to address the root causes of vulnerability at the community level. The key issue that remains to be addressed is how to effectively communicate this information to the most vulnerable sectors of the population -and how to increase their ability to use scientific knowledge for adaptation. In other words, how to help them make use of our knowledge in a way that allows them to acquire more control over their lives. In Zimbabwe, the process of communicating seasonal climate forecasts to subsistence farmers could be coupled with a participatory process aimed at exploring ways to take advantage of the new climatic information in ways that increase their bundle of entitlements. Options include not only the distribution of information, but also its use for identifying and nurturing processes that countervail what could be described as a socially-differentiated access to resources. Options may include reducing the price of farming inputs through collective democratic action, risk-sharing through market- or community-based mechanisms, strengthening the role of subsistence farmers associations in the definition of regional agricultural policies, and incorporating the concerns of marginal sectors of the population in the development of the research agenda of the natural and social sciences involving climate.
Seasonal climate forecasts although still experimental can provide valuable insights into climate variability and change.
In agriculture in the eastern Caribbean, water available in the field has often been a problem in the drier years. In recent years I have stressed the need for greater precision of crop irrigation scheduling and timing so as not to waste a resource that is very precious in this part of the world but particularly so in islands like Barbados and Antigua. Harvesting of rainwater for domestic and small scale crop irrigation projects is also becoming increasing important. With plantation agriculture increasingly becoming a thing of the past and with much debushing on steep slopes, intense rains cause much soil loss. There are many well known soil conservation methods that can be employed if recognized as a priority. Serious consideration of forecasts, particularly the seasonal forecasts, can help the agricultural community to better plan their activities with the foresight of the kind of season expected. If, for example, there is a projected decrease in rainfall by the end of the century, the best examples of what will happen then is what has happened in the past when rainfall was below normal. What worked? What did not work? This can be the first step in determining adaptation measures for future change of climate.
Our main activities have been with farmers, researchers and institutions linked to development and local forecasting institutions. The livelihoods framework and research we conducted is providing insights into how technology and new information can improve the capabilities of rural people, and institutions working in research and development, as well as the government institutions. Our research shows the diversity of livelihood strategies, and what is the capacity of different groups to cope, and which are the sources of stress and shock. The International Potato Center is embracing the rural livelihoods perspective to develop information technology for decisions at the local level. The government institution in Peru working on Climate and the Environment is now developing climatology information in collaboration with CIP (fostered through our project) so there is information available for regions that traditionally have been excluded. We still need to work with people in rural areas to develop the information tools that are local, so they can improve their capacity to negotiate climate variability and change.
Through partners implemented RANET project, in the rural communities of Uganda. RANET is a USAID/NOAA initiative, using new information technologies, to enable rural communities timely access scientific climate information. The information helps farmers make the right choices to cope with the expected rainfall season. There are possibilities of empowering farmers own and operate the new information technologies of the RANET system by themselves to access climate information to ensure food security, and disaster preparedness.
The crop growth models have
been run with long-term weather data and various options to construct
cumulative distribution functions of the predicted yields and gross
margins. These can then be used in decision making for risk adverse
and risk susceptible clients.
LARA C. WHITELY BINDER
Tools, methods , etc: The Climate Impacts Group is heavily vested
in outreach to the decision-making community. This includes presentations.,
workshops, briefings, and one-on-one discussions. We are also implementing
and developing numerous forecast tools and other decision-support aids
related to climate variability and change. Because the CIG has always
focused on climate variability and climate change, I see a full range
of possibilities for applying this work to climate change (we already
are!). Regarding what
needs to be developed … we need to be
able to answer questions about climate impacts at smaller watershed
scales so as to better support watershed-based planning, which is
increasingly the way fed and state agencies are going (stakeholder-based
watershed scale planning). Along these lines, we need to get a better
grip on cumulative impacts across resources (integrated assessment). (top)