Climate Futures is a collaboration to increase Norwegian society's adaptation to climate risk: risk associated with changes in weather and climate. Our work has shed light on significant knowledge gaps in the private and public sectors, and we have initiated a number of projects that have the potential to increase our partners' resilience. Our main focus is on climate predictions for the period from ten days to ten years into the future, and not least on integrating such predictions into decision-making processes.
Our activities are organized within the following four areas of innovation: sustainable food production (agriculture and aquaculture), renewable energy, resilient societies, and smart shipping. The partners are NORCE, the University of Bergen, the Norwegian School of Economics, SNF, the Nansen Centre, Statistics Norway, the Norwegian Computing Center, Agder Energi, Eviny, Statkraft, Småkraft, the Institute for Marine Research, all the country's State Administrators, Vestland, Rogaland and Viken county councils, G2Ocean, Western Bulk, Gartnerhallen, Graminor, Norsk landbruksådgiving, the Norwegian Farmers' Association, the Norwegian Environment Agency, Tryg forsikring, KLP, Safetec, StormGeo, Eide fjordbruk and Clarify by Searis.
For food producers, we are developing tools for the integration of climate and weather forecasting in agriculture and the farming industry. In agriculture, we have started studies to link production of different crops (such as potatoes and onions) with weather patterns to investigate the extent to which we can predict production. We also create targeted forecasts for food production, for example when the frost comes in the autumn in various parts of the country and the probability of droughts during the growing season. On longer time scales, climate forecasting is used together with genetics to develop the potato of the future based on expected changes in weather and climate conditions in Norway. Within aquaculture, we have carried out studies on predicting algae blooms and the evolution of ocean temperatures several weeks into the future. The latter forecast is now operationally available in the Clarify tool.
Within renewable energy, we have carried out studies to evaluate already available monthly, seasonal and decadal forecasts of temperature and precipitation in Norway and Northern Europe, as well as in South America. We have also just started with studies of how the production of offshore wind can vary from decade to decade due to changes in weather patterns.
In Resilient societies we ask important questions, such as: Can we use climate forecasts to price insurance in a better and more meaningful way than is the practice today? And can we improve damage prevention with regard to ongoing and expected climate change? How can (and should) information about climate be handled at different administrative levels of society? Our overall ambition is to strengthen society's ability to navigate a dynamic and complex climatic landscape.
Within smart shipping, we work to model and better understand the connection between the energy consumption of a ship and the weather conditions it sails in. This is important to be able to estimate the fuel consumption on a given journey as a function of time of year and sailing route. Another factor that affects energy consumption and emissions is fouling of the hull: the growth of shells, seaweed and other organic material. One of the purposes is to be able to predict which ships need follow-up and maintenance (for example hull cleaning) in order to reduce energy consumption and emissions. Furthermore, the transport of goods from ports depends on the weather. Among other things, we investigate the connection between rainfall in South America and water levels in the rivers where the ships sail, which in turn will have an impact on how much cargo can be taken on board.
In addition to projects within the specific areas of innovation, prediction models and methods are developed to improve forecasts, and not least to make the information in the forecasts understandable, accessible and adapted to users. Long-term work with focus groups in agriculture has given us invaluable information about how the forecasts are perceived, and how long it takes for a recipient to get used to understand long-term warnings versus regular weather warnings for a few days ahead. This information is used, among other things, in the planning of an early introduction of weekly summaries at Yr.
Our dissemination activity has increased considerably in 2022. On klimavarsling.no, where we disseminate warnings, we had around 50,000 page views. The forecasts have also attracted a lot of interest from the media, and have led to a number of interviews in the daily press.
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:
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.
We will address this critical challenge by working with a large group of partners to co-develop better methods and practices for climate risk management. The breadth and commitment of our consortium testify to an indisputable need for a large and cross-sectoral centre for addressing climate risks. It unites world-leading weather and climate scientists, economists and statisticians with industrial sectors – food production, energy, shipping, insurance, management consulting and risk management – and public authorities, including all the county governors in Norway. Together, we will expand established collaborations and ongoing initiatives to create an active industry-oriented research cluster.
The work in Climate Futures will be organized in user-driven projects, ranging from short pilots lasting a few weeks or months to long-term strategic programmes over several years. Such a project-based structure was chosen to ensure that each partner takes an active role in the implementation and performance of the centre’s activities, and to ensure cooperation between the partner organizations across sectors and disciplines. The partners in Climate Futures will benefit from extended networks, enhanced knowledge, and new opportunities for innovation, all strengthening their positions in a globalized economy that increasingly requires sophisticated climate risk management.