EU-MACS Coordinator: Prof. Adriaan Perrels,
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Weather services are familiar to all of us, climate services perhaps less so. Climate represents average weather conditions over a period of a month to a year for a certain region, based on long-term (multi-decadal) observations. Climate statistics can be either observed or modeled. The statistical nature and the long future time scale, ranging from few months to decades, limits the attainable average accuracy of predictions. It also implies that there are limits to meaningful levels of spatially and temporal detail of climate predictions. A lot of useful information about the likelihoods and nature of different climatic conditions as well as about their technical, economic and societal impacts can, however, be produced.

Climate services are customized information products that utilize climate data. They can be for example projections, forecasts, information, trends, economic analysis, assessments, counseling on best practices, development and evaluation of solutions and any other service in relation to climate that may be of use for the society at large. Often these services are used to support climate change adaptation, mitigation and disaster risk management (DRM).

Climate services can come in many forms. They can be for example data oriented – such as tables and maps – or advisory – such as consultancy projects. Climate services can also be presented as education. Climate services can be delivered as a single event, like a project or a one-time acquisition, as well as take the form of a recurrent flow of information, e.g. by integration of climate data flow to an external database with quarterly or annual updates.