Seasonal Climate forecasting: who can use it and how should it be disseminated?

Briefing papers
November 1999
Roger Blench

Recent technical progress in seasonal climate forecasting, particularly in relation to the El Niño Southern Oscillation, has stimulated considerable interest from potential users such as large-scale farmers, utilities, and the insurance and banking industries. Multi-lateral agencies such as the World Bank are urging that forecasts be made available to small-scale farmers, to increase food security. Disaster-preparedness strategies have begun to take account of such forecasts, and there is considerable interest in assigning them an economic value. However, field studies of the impact of recent forecasts in southern Africa suggests that there is a considerable gap between the information needed by small-scale farmers and that provided by the meteorological services. This paper suggests how the profiles of users can be enriched so that forecasters can generate output likely to be useful to them.

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