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My colleague, Ashley Curtis has written a nice story on a recent workshop held in China by the IRI and WMO...

Seasonal forecasts can be effective tools for agricultural planners, water resources managers and other decision makers. For example, after torrential rains and floods wreaked havoc in the West African nation of Ghana in 2007, displacing some 400,000 people there, the regional office of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies started using seasonal rainfall forecasts as part of its planning operations. When similar flooding occurred in 2008, the office was well-prepared and was able to save lives and livelihoods, as well as reduce the costs of providing relief to those affected.

Despite major advances in seasonal forecasting capabilities, the use of these forecasts is still fairly limited, especially in developing countries, where climate scientists often lack the resources or expertise to customize forecasts for specific needs. To address this issue, the IRI and its partners have led training workshops for professionals around the world for the last eight years. One recently
took place in Beijing, China.

Twenty five experts from meteorological and climate agencies in 17 countries took part in the two-week workshop, which was sponsored by the IRI and the World Meteorological Organization and hosted by the Beijing Climate Center. The participants learned how to use statistical approaches to seasonal forecasting and how to "downscale"-- which is the process of teasing out regional and local details from the coarse resolution of global climate models. Just as importantly, the participants learned how to more effectively communicate forecasts and forecast quality to users such as health and agriculture planners back home.

The rest of the story can be found on the IRI home page.

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