Regional workshop discusses application of future climate projections in South Asia

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What are the challenges and opportunities associated with provisioning and applying future climate projections in South Asia? 

This was the primary premise for discussion at a three-day workshop held in Kathmandu, Nepal, from 29 to 31 January 2019. Participants included climate scientists and sector experts from national meteorological and hydrological institutions, research organizations, and academia in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and the UK. 

Participants of the “Regional Workshop on Future Climate Projections and Their Applications in South Asia”, 29–31 January 2019 (Photo: Jitendra Bajracharya/ICIMOD)

The regional workshop, organized by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and the Met Office, the UK’s national meteorological service, is part of the UK Aid-funded Asia Regional Resilience to a Changing Climate (ARRCC) programme – a partnership between the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), the Met Office, and the World Bank. This programme aims to deliver new technologies and innovative approaches that help vulnerable communities use weather warnings and forecasts to better prepare for climate-related shocks. The workshop is a key activity of the Climate Analysis for Risk Information and Services in South Asia (CARISSA) work package, one of four Met Office work packages under the ARRCC programme, focused on improving understanding of user needs for climate projections and developing climate change information services to meet these needs.

A remote presentation and discussion with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) on the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) (Photo: Jitendra Bajracharya/ICIMOD)

The three-day workshop began with a review of the existing climate projections for the region, before moving on to understanding the current and potential application of climate projections in key sectors such as agriculture, biodiversity, health, hydropower, and water resources. Through a mixture of plenary discussions, presentations, and interactive group exercises, participants listened to providers, intermediaries, and users of climate services in the region. The workshop also included a remote presentation and discussion with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) on the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) to align regional activities with global efforts towards improving climate services. The third day’s activities focused on recommendations for the CARISSA project, with discussions on the need for enhanced regional collaboration and integration of activities.

Participants discuss what ideal climate projections would look like for four key sectors: 1) agriculture and biodiversity, 2) water and energy, 3) disaster risk reduction, and 4) tourism and health (Photo: Jitendra Bajracharya/ICIMOD)

The workshop provided valuable insights into the vast and varied requirements for the provision of, access to, and improved application of future climate projections in South Asia. A list of recommendations created at the workshop will now be prioritized and will help form plans for ongoing work under the ARRCC programme, including the co-production of pilot climate services targeted at key sectors with specific decision-making needs. 

The workshop was organized under ICIMOD’s Climate Services Initiative, a part of the Regional Programme on Mountain Environment Regional Information System, which will work towards strengthening short- and long-term forecasts in the Hindu Kush Himalaya. The MET office and ICIMOD will be organizing a number of stakeholder workshops in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan in 2019 to streamline the work plan, and set priorities and activities for the ARRCC programme for the next four years.