Interrogating vulnerability in the Global Framework for Climate Services

  • Andrea K. GerlakEmail author
  • Christina Greene


Over the past decade, the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) has emerged as a major influence on the practice of and discourse about climate services, which aim to reduce the vulnerability of society to climate-related hazards through better provision of climate information and engagement of users of climate services. Yet, there is little research into the relations, practices, and discourses produced and institutionalized through the GFCS. The treatment of vulnerability in climate services, and by the GFCS in particular, remains understudied. To address this gap, we conduct a document analysis of key GFCS reports to interrogate framings of vulnerability and examine their implications for the development and practice of climate services for adaptation. Although we see attention to vulnerability in official GFCS discourse, we find that, with a few exceptions, identifying climate vulnerabilities is largely a cursory exercise that does not meaningfully engage in the complex social processes that contribute to differential vulnerabilities. To meet its own objectives, and the larger vision of climate services, we propose that the GFCS draw upon a rich literature on vulnerability and promote the global development of climate services that considers the coupled physical and social dimensions of vulnerability and prioritizes climate services for the most vulnerable.


Climate services Vulnerability Adaptation Climate change WMO Global Framework for Climate Services GFCS 


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Geography and Development, Udall Center for Studies in Public PolicyUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  2. 2.School of Geography and DevelopmentUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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