Odda elv klimarisiko
After the severe flooding in 2014, workers from The Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) restore and reinforce the river running through the town Odda. The picture was taken by Erik Kolstad in March 2017.

Climate Futures

What we do

Climate Futures is a new and ambitious action to generate long-term cooperation between companies, public organizations and research groups across sectors and disciplines to tackle one of the most urgent challenges of our time, namely:

The changing nature of weather and climate poses a severe threat to the prosperity and well-being of our economy and society as a whole, but climate risk is inadequately managed due to knowledge gaps and deficiencies in the decision-making processes of businesses and public authorities.

Our consortium consists of seven research partners and nearly 30 user partners from the business sector, representing aquaculture, agriculture, renewable energy, disaster preparedness, shipping, insurance, finance, risk management services, as well as public organizations.

On 25 September 2019, we submitted the proposal for a new Centre for Research-Based Innovation. The centre will launch in late 2020, provided it receives a grant from the Research Council of Norway.

Why is this important?

Society is increasingly vulnerable to high-impact weather and climate extremes, with human life, major infrastructure, food security, transport and many other socio-economic sectors at risk to these hazards. Enhancing societal resilience and reducing the exposure of our economy to climate risk is becoming more and more urgent.

However, a lack of dynamic engagement and knowledge exchange between companies, practitioners and scientists is impeding our ability to successfully manage these risks. A wealth of information that would have been useful to decision-makers is neglected.

Short-range weather forecasts are already invaluable tools for planning ahead, but there is a clear need for climate information beyond the next 10 days and up to decades into the future – the subseasonal-to-decadal (‘S2D’ hereafter) time horizon.

For instance, hydropower companies make crucial decisions based on assumptions about future rainfall, snow accumulation and heating demand. Insurance companies would save large sums if they could prepare for cold spells, floods, tropical cyclones and droughts. And farmers need to know when the growing season starts, how much it will rain and how warm or cold it will be, and when to harvest.

Goals

Our main objective is to co-produce new and innovative solutions for predicting and managing climate risks from 10 days to 10 years into the future, working with a cluster of partners in climate- and weather-sensitive sectors.

We propose to pursue this objective by making use of advanced statistics and machine learning to create algorithms that improve the skill of forecasts. The key will be to learn how different climate variables interact and then to use that knowledge to make better use of the physical models.

Another crucial and novel aspect of Climate Futures is the use of climate forecasts in decision-making processes, spearheaded by the team at the Norwegian School of Economics.