What are Climate Services?

Climate services are the provision and use of climate data, information and knowledge to assist decision-making. Climate services require appropriate engagement between the recipient of the service and its provider, along with an effective access mechanism to enable timely action. Example applications include: 

  • Should I plan a vaccination programme in my region based on likely impact of forecast seasonal rainfall?
  • Do I need to plant drought-resistant seeds next season based on the likely impact of forecast rainfall and temperature?
  • How much wind and solar resources can we expect to get in various areas in the coming months, seasons and years to establish new renewable power plants?
  • Is our city’s infrastructure resilient to projected changes in extreme rainfall under a changing climate?
  • How might sea level rise impact coastal communities and infrastructure in the coming decades and what investments are needed to adapt?
  • How can the atmospheric-based monitoring of greenhouse gases (GHGs) help measure GHG fluxes into and out of the atmosphere and monitor countries' efforts for achieving the Paris Agreement goal on mitigation?

Delivering climate services that can effectively inform decision-making requires multi-disciplinary and cross-sector collaboration, and an agreed upon framework within which such collaboration can take place.

The following five steps have been identified as good practice to achieve this: 

  1. understanding the demand side,
  2. bridging the gap between climate science and sector expertise,
  3. co-producing climate services to address end-user climate service needs,
  4. communicate to reach 'the last mile', and
  5. monitoring and evaluation.

Climate services are developed, delivered and used in many different ways, based on differing needs and capabilities. There is a huge wealth of data and information on key climate variables and indicators (including temperature, precipitation, wind, soil moisture, ocean conditions) available from national and international sources, as well as maps, risk and vulnerability analyses, assessments, and long-term projections and scenarios.

Socioeconomic variables and non-meteorological data (for example, agricultural production, health trends, water and air quality, human settlement in high-risk areas, road and infrastructure maps) may be integrated, depending on the needs of the decision-makers and the availability of such data.

Often the data and information are transformed into customized products for different user communities and use cases.

Climate services equip decision makers in climate-sensitive sectors with better information to help society understand and respond to/manage climate variability and change.

2022 State of Climate Services - Energy Report
State of Climate Services Report
WMO’s State of Climate Services annual report, which includes inputs from 26 different organizations, focuses on energy and climate change and, indeed, to the planet's health.
a person typing on a laptop with graphs on it.
Climate Services Dashboard
The Dashboard on Climate Services provides an up-to-date overview of the capacities of Members’ Met Services to deliver climate services for climate change adaptation and mitigation. Source: WMO Members' data collected through the Checklist for Climate Services Implementation (as of July 2022)
A person holding a globe over a body of water.
Climate Services Case Studies
Case studies provided by WMO and the State of Climate Services report partners highlight how climate information services and early warnings contribute to improved climate resilience. Each case study highlights successful approaches to achieving socioeconomic benefits through climate services at the national, regional or global level. Source: State of Climate Services reports