Climate information needs in Southern Africa: a review


This paper, from the UMFULA programme, reviews the current availability of climate information in Southern Africa and assesses the requirements of a variety of end users in the region, using empirical findings from an innovative regional survey. The paper identifies the challenges facing users of current weather and climate information products, and highlights the importance of creating user-tailored climate services in order for successful integration of climate issues into planning and policy development.

Reliable and accessible climate information is a key need when managing current risks from adverse climatic conditions and adapting to anticipated future changes. Current challenges to generating climate services relate both to the supply of climate science and its application in particular environments and decision-making contexts. Understanding the information requirements of different sectors is important both to inform climate research, and to produce tailored, useful and useable products.

Key conclusions

The authors conclude that climate services should include the following:

  • Consolidation of knowledge about past, present and future state of the climate system
  • Engagement with users of climate information and the development of partnerships to facilitate the co-production of knowledge
  • Identification of climate information needs within specific sectors
  • Risk assessments that highlight sector and regions that are particularly vulnerable to climate variability and change
  • Development and delivery of a range of products driven by user needs
  • Development of communication strategies to ensure a continuous two-way learning process that will enhance monitoring, data processing and its presentation
  • Continuous efforts, such as training programmes, for building capacities for the effective uptake and use of climate information.

This report has been produced as part of the Future Climate for Africa UMFULA programme.