Forecasting for our Communities with Climate Services


Have you ever thought about how climate services information plays a crucial role in how we plan our lives from our lives at home, crop production as well as preventing disease outbreaks such as dengue fever and malaria?

For example COSPPac, the Vector-Borne Disease Control Program and the Solomon Islands Meteorological Service have developed a malaria monitoring and early warning system based on rainfall, temperature and other environmental data. (see: The climate-based malaria risk index is intended to understand the relationship between climate and malaria in the Solomon Islands. The risk index is expected to show a direct link between climate variability and changes in malaria incidence. When combined with seasonal rainfall outlooks, the risk index combined should enable the Solomon Islands Meteorological Service to produce customised forecasts of malaria risk in suitable regions of the country.

And that is also why, with the assistance of the DFAT supported Australia Pacific Climate Partnership (APCP) the Shifting the Power Coalition will be rolling out the Pacific Young Women Responding to Climate Change to enable a core group of young women from across the Coalition to have increased skills, knowledge and confidence to access and use climate change science services and disaster management systems to engage in local and national disaster and climate change coordination mechanisms, including national cluster systems. The project builds on our current partnership with DFAT’s Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development Programme which is supporting women’s leadership in humanitarian action through research, advocacy and training activities by bringing by specifically supporting young women including young women with disabilities to build their knowledge, participation and collective action on climate change.

According to a SPREP update, Pacific island nations are using the Seasonal Climate Outlook for Pacific Island Countries (SCOPIC). This is a specific software that was developed by Australian Bureau of Meteorology to provide with an accessible, stand-alone seasonal climate prediction system. It is a decision support tool which generates seasonal outlooks for rainfall, temperature or other climate factors. It uses a statistical method to determine forecast probabilities based on historic data and for the Pacific it focusses specifically on rainfall. The software is used by 11 Pacific island Meteorological Services, to provide information such as rainfall forecasts that is then shared through a range of products such as the Climate Outlook Bulletin.

This is where the SCOPIC is of particular relevance to our Pacific island communities and people: “The National Meteorological Services take the information and data provided by SCOPIC to generate forecasts for the next three and six months to the climate outlook bulletin,” said Ms Azarel Maiai the Climate and Ocean Support Program in the Pacific (COSPPac) Capacity Development Officer at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP): “It helps to inform decisions, say for example the agriculture sector will use the climate bulletin to inform the local farmers of the likely climate in the coming three months. This will consequently lead to farmers to plan their harvesting or planting if they are expecting above normal rainfall or start preparing irrigation support if less rainfall is predicted. SPREP supports National Meteorological Services to tailor this information so that it is relevant and useful for different sectors and stakeholders.”