Long-term observation of the atmosphere, land and ocean is particularly vital as a foundation for monitoring climate variability and climate change. It is necessary for evaluating the effectiveness of policies implemented to mitigate climate change and for improving climate prediction models and tools.
On the other hand observations are also essential for managing climate variability, including for assessing social and economic vulnerabilities and for developing climate services needed for adaptation.
The High level Task Force of the Global Framework for Climate Services (HLTF-GFCS) pointed out (http://www.wmo.int/hlt-gfcs/downloads/HLT_book_full.pdf) that the areas of greatest need for data to support climate services have to be identified and given priority for implementation. All countries should give high priority to the need for sufficiently resourced observation networks as an essential ingredient for climate change adaptation planning and where applicable should identify this need in national adaptation strategies, including National Adaptation Programmes of Action.
On the other hand HLTF recognized that observation of social and economic variables is vital for understanding climate impacts and vulnerabilities as well as for making predictions concerning anthropogenic climate change. The social and economic fields are complex and diverse, with data requirements that are very context-specific as well as many gaps in information and few simple options for technical recommendations on data gathering.
On this aspect the HLT pointed out that the problem is not so much lack of data but lack of engagement with users and a lack of standardised approaches to data and its analysis that can be used with confidence by climate service providers. This would be addressed best through collaboration on data issues by scientists in socio-economic fields and through the work of international research programmes concerned with the human dimensions of climate variability and change. Issues of data access are also a concern in the field of socio-economic information.
There is a need for closer cooperation and coordination to ensure the availability and quality of the socio-economic information needed. One way of achieving this would be by developing databases on sector climate sensitivities and on methodologies for managing climate variability, as well as databases with information needed for systematic climate risk assessment.
The Meeting on sector applications and climate observation community dialogue focuses on observation and monitoring. It aims at engaging stake holders in key priority areas for the GFCS: Agriculture, Water, Health and Disaster Risk Reduction jointly with climate observation community to develop a common understanding towards bridging the observed gaps in observations and monitoring including observations on climate variables and observation of social and economic variables. The ultimate goal is to provide the required data in quality and quantity to support the generation of products and delivery of climate services to the key priority sectors.