INFOGRAPHIC: What are Climate Services?

As climate services emerge as a new field of research and practice, what the field encompasses depends on who you ask.

The American Meteorological Association defines climate services as “providing scientifically based information and products that enhance users’ knowledge and understanding about the impacts of climate on their decisions and actions.”

The World Meteorological Organization says that, “climate services provide climate information in a way that assists decision making by individuals and organizations.”

The Climate Services Partnership states that climate services, “involve the production, translation, transfer, and use of climate knowledge and information in climate-informed decision making and climate-smart policy and planning.”

While these definitions are useful, knowing how climate services work in practice requires a deeper look. Our new infographic will hopefully help improve understanding of this emerging field.

We use the example of agriculture to show how climate information might be produced and used. As you can see in the bottom portion of the graphic, it isn’t a one-way flow of information. Communication among groups is key to informing decisions across the board — from the kinds of research climate scientists pursue to the development of financial products to the timing of planting and harvesting in a given season. A PDF version of the infographic is available here.

Infographic by IRI & Carrie Osgood. Production of this infographic was made possible by the US Agency for International Development’s Global Climate Change Office.