State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Third International Conference on Climate Services

The third International Conference on Climate Services, organized by the Climate Services Partnership, will be held in Montego Bay, Jamaica, from Dec. 4-6.

Just as weather services provides us with forecasts of short-term temperatures and rainfall, climate services provide users with timely information about a range of expected conditions that decision makers can use to help manage current climate risks and build resilience to future climate change. In addition to seasonal temperature and rainfall scenarios, the climate services information can include the timing of growing seasons, sea-level changes and glacier coverage, and how these may impact agriculture, infrastructure, public health and other sectors.

Visit the Climate Services Partnership site for daily conference updates and follow #ICCS3 on Twitter.

“Throughout the world, we’ve seen a significant interest and demand for climate services because of improved climate information and growing attention given to climate change adaptation,” says the director of the Climate Services Partnership secretariat, Steve Zebiak. “But currently, most climate services are provided through relatively small pilot efforts. Implementing them at a larger scale for greater societal benefit remains a challenge.”

The conference provides an opportunity for experts around the world to come together and share their experiences, while discussing challenges and opportunities in the transition from research and pilot activities to sustained services.

During the three-day conference, climate information users, providers, donors, and researchers will explore the use of climate information to improve decision making in order to help manage the impact of drought, improve coastal resilience, and mitigate the incidence of climate-sensitive disease.

Jacqueline Spence from Jamaica’s Meteorological Service and Cavell Francis-Rhiney from the Rural Agriculture Development Authority discuss the International Conference on Climate Services, which will be held in Montego Bay December 4-6, 2013. They also talk about what they see as the value of climate services to Jamaica.

Participants will include representatives from a wide range of organizations, including the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology, the Caribbean Meteorological Organization, the US National Center for Atmospheric Research, the UK Met Office, the German Climate Service Center, the World Meteorological Organization, and the International Research Institute for Climate & Society.

Development organizations such as the US Agency for International Development, UK Department for International Development, the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, the World Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank  will also be in attendance.

According to the director of the Meteorological Service of Jamaica, Jeffrey Spooner, “This conference represents an opportunity for Jamaica to showcase its activity on climate services and to discuss opportunities for advancement with a wide range of potential partners and collaborators.”

“The conference will identify priorities for action in the provision of climate services in the Caribbean and around the world,” says John Furlow, a climate change specialist at the USAID.

The conference will be hosted by the Meteorological Service of Jamaica and the Jamaican Ministry of Water, Land, Environment, and Climate Change; primary sponsors include USAID and NOAA.

For more information, visit the Climate Services Partnership web site,, which will publish daily updates from the conference, and follow #ICCS3 hashtag on Twitter.

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