Seasonal Forecasts in Decision Making
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A new and developing vibrant science has been born capable of providing significant benefits to humankind, from development work aimed at sustaining and enhancing the quality of life to increasing the profits of commercial activities. At the heart of this science lies an improved understanding of the climate system, of its predictability, and of its links with natural and social systems. An overview of the integrated structures of these non-independent systems within the context of the new capabilities in seasonal to interannual prediction is provided in this chapter, including the fundamental interactions between the various systems, their natural complexity, the confusion that often arises between the terms ‘climate variability’ and ‘climate change’, and the essential role climate information, including predictions, plays in the management of risks associated with climate variability and change. There follows an introduction to decision making in which climate information is involved, including discussions on decision processes and communication, a brief history of relevant climate science, and an overview of political and social issues directly linked to climate. Finally, two perspectives are provided of activities that might benefit from decision making that takes advantage of climate information: first, a predominantly end-to-end perspective in which climate information is delivered directly to a particular application; second, a perspective where the challenge is to integrate climate information into the broader context of sustainable development. These two positions, direct delivery into specific decisions for ‘private’ benefit and information provision for the ‘public good’, perhaps represent the two ends of the broad spectrum within which this new science can contribute.
KeywordsClimate Variability Seasonal Forecast Climate Information Climate Forecast Seasonal Prediction
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