The last morning of the Summer School started with a practical workshop, ‘The Write Way To Blog’. Advice and tips on blogging about climate services for a non-scientific audience were shared by journalist and science communicator Sally Stevens and environmental scientist and training manager Vicky Lucas, both from the Institute for Environmental Analytics, University of Reading, UK.
Having been prepared at the start of the week to look out for inspirational presentations and speakers to feature in their blogs, delegates were briefed on the value of blogging to engage wide-ranging audiences and users with climate services research and the importance of accessible, meaningful and effective communication outside of academia.
Delegates produced a range of fascinating, readable and informative blogs and a selection will be featured online so keep an eye on http://www.jpi-climate.eu/ERA4CS
Jennifer Joy West from CICERO discussed the ethical and institutional aspects of climate services, co-production efforts in multiagency, multi-stakeholder programmes and shared the learning, challenges and examples from Africa and European contexts identifying and engaging with users and their needs, as well as explaining the key Social Sciences and Humanities approaches, the challenges to engaging SSH research perspectives and the politics of co-production in climate services projects. She explained that there can be barriers to communication with users, including different understandings of what co-production entails and how to go about it; understanding of the user-chain is vital and that sometimes the facts stand in the way of people making a difference [for climate change] to their lives. She said that trust in the form or channel of communication is important to promoting change.
The impact of climate change on tourism was highlighted by Andrea Bigano, CMCC, who first talked about how research using Copernicus Climate Change Services can support the tourism industry (which needs precise information from climates services researches because of potential losses in revenue) and tourists in adapting to the significant changes they are facing - from the reliability of snow, to water quality, extreme weather and wildfire.
In a second presentation he went on to discuss the importance of research for users into changing energy demands – for example, the number of days people will want to cool down their home (CDD) and the number of days people will want to heat it up (HDD) – and how climate services research needs to provide better tailored, more efficient and accurate data to help plan for changes in energy supply and demand and improved resilience.
The central theme of Giorgi Mukhigulishvili, from the think tank World Experience For Georgia, was climate change impact and sustainable mitigation actions in Georgia. He began his presentation with an inspiring video profile of Georgia and gave insights into climate policies and disaster risk reduction measures in the face of the increasing frequency of natural disasters in Georgia, such as mudflows, floods, droughts, avalanches, strong winds and forest fires. Preserving the traditional ‘holy’ or ‘icon’ forests of Georgia is a priority and as the developing country seeks to establish itself following the 2008 war, climate mitigation and sustainable development are seen as an opportunity to support its energy, tourism and telecommunications industries, its infrastructure and economy.
The day closed with a lively group discussion over coffee and cake (and some rather lovely Georgian wine thanks to Giorgi) joined by Dr Mara Manente, Director of CISET, the International Center of Studies on Tourism Economics linked to the University Ca’ Foscari of Venice. Debate centred on the tourism industry with delegates relating the presentations to their research involving sea ice temperatures (cruise industry), conflict between the demands of tourists and respect for communities (Africa) and supporting tourists to have a better experience by providing personal alerts about weather conditions and health implications (ClimApp).
The ERA4CS Climates Services Summer School was hailed a success by the 22 delegates from universities across Europe and around the world – including Africa, Guatemala, Mexico and Sri Lanka and representing a broad range of climate services research - who were all presented with completion certificates.