When it comes to developing functional ideas for the climate, scientific networks are crucial for bringing cutting-edge science upfront
Through exchange they offer the possibility of bringing together a diversity of thinkers and think-schools around the topic of climate information and discover common and differentiated ways of responding to challenges related to climate change. User needs and stakeholder requirements are discussed, analysed and addressed in a coordinated and efficient effort.
In the following, examples of different kinds of networking are described together with the connection users of climate data and related information.
Networking with users
The networks established between researchers and other users communities are key for the development and advances of science and the enabling of innovation. Additionally, the participation of users from outside research in the network activities is key for supporting the uptake of the scientific results. Actually, this is the only way to increase the relatively limited uptake of climate and weather information in decision making processes for adaptation and mitigation.
Networking with users means more than just increasing the use of science. Networks with users are not only beneficial when it comes to the mentioned use of climate information but also additionally they bring extensive knowledge to science. The so-called “lay knowledge” inclusion into scientific efforts enables a full systems perspective appropriation for a broad spectrum of users (citizen, formal policy makers, and businesses) and gives the basis for acting towards a commonly defined resilient future. This way, science takes over the role of enabler for visioning the future and for supporting the election of adaptation options taking into fully consideration the wideband of plausible and/or possible futures.
One way of networking with users is involving them as partners in scientific projects and co-developing with them the scientific process. For doing so, several approaches from social science are being implemented that support participatory and transdisciplinary science. But most importantly, the close collaboration with users in networks ease the capture of the perception of the user, create innovative responses to those perceptions and trigger society to a diversity of enhancements and transformations that might support the transition to resilient societies.
Climateurope Festivals – Linking science and society
One of these scientific networks that has brought climate information further is the one created within the coordination and support action “Climateurope”.
Within the Climateurope project, www.climateurope.eu, the Europe-wide framework for Earth system modelling and climate service activities was successfully developed. The establishment of a managed network of activities and organisations from across Europe, and beyond was at the core of this framework.
This network involves actors from the scientific community, funders and user communities including public sector and private sector, representing a range of disciplines. The network is currently 350 members strong (as of 2020), with Europe-wide representation.
In recent years, a range of communication and dissemination activities were underway to bring the network together, showcase progress, produce stakeholder-oriented reports and increase awareness and maximise impacts. The approach was to engage with new and diverse audiences via modern communication methods, such as social media, whilst still reaching traditional audiences through more established mechanisms of scientific publications, conferences and workshops.
One of the main communication channels of Climateurope was a series of Festivals designed to connect people through a varied and interactive programme blending informal and formal talks, round table and panel discussions, networking sessions, with the potential to incorporate the arts, social media and other innovative approaches. The Festivals were hosted under the broad topic “Climate information at your service“.
Two Climateurope face-to-face Festivals were organised in Valencia in April 2017 and in Belgrade in October 2018. The third Festival should have taken place in Riga, Latvia in June 2020. Due to the situation with COVID-19 and associated lockdowns and travel restrictions, the option of a physical event was ruled out. The Climateurope Festival in 2020 was held virtually as a series of smaller events, as we like to call them Webstivals (web – festivals) or ‘mini Webstivals’, each lasting 3-4 hours on a single day, over the course of several months.
The aims of the webstivals were to:
- Actively facilitate dialogue and knowledge exchange between suppliers, users and funders of climate services in order to enable capacity building.
- Share best practice, showcase success stories, identify gaps and recommendations for Climate Services and Earth System Modelling within Europe.
- Publicise the state-of-the-art of climate services, and recommendations from experts as to the focus of future funding for research needs.
- Showcase key outcomes from Climateurope, which could be sustained through project legacy.
- Use a variety of innovative, engaging programme sessions to ensure attractiveness to different communities.
More information about the Festivals can be found at: https://www.climateurope.eu/events-climateurope/festival/
EURO-CORDEX – A scientific community enabling climate services
The EURO-CORDEX community joins the European regional climate modellers in a close scientific network on a voluntary basis to advance regional and Earth system science in Europe and to make regional climate simulations ready for use in application. It is part of the international CORDEX initiative, which is a program endorsed by the World Climate Research Program (WRCP) to organise an internationally coordinated framework to produce improved regional climate change projections for all land regions world-wide.
The EURO-CORDEX community has been active since 2009 and presently includes 33 modelling groups and more than 100 participants at the last general assembly in January 2021. It is coordinated by Daniela Jacob from the Climate Service Center Germany, GERICS together with Eleni Katragkou from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and Stefan Sobolowski from the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research in Norway.
The enthusiasm of the EURO-CORDEX community members to join this unfunded effort is based on the aim to improve climate projections, in order to enable the European society to better adapt to unavoidable climate change and to design more efficient mitigation strategies.
Creating and providing regional climate simulations as community effort has the advantage that the simulations are released as ensemble together with best-practices and guidelines, which makes it easier for users to apply the simulations to their applications in a scientifically solid way.
More information about EURO-CORDEX can be found at: https://www.euro-cordex.net/
The three examples of scientific networking show that cooperation is the key to advance science, to bring scientific findings into practice and make use of climate simulations in the best and scientific solid way. They also show that this is not a one-way street and that it is equally important to know about the application and use of simulation data and scientific outcome in order to shape the scientific research agenda for the coming years. Experiences of co-design of climate services are shared within the communities and lead to a better preparedness and adaptation of society to present and future climate change.
Authors and contact persons (in alphabetic order)
Dr Lola Kotova (email@example.com)
Dr María Máñez (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dr Claas Teichmann (email@example.com)
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