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Compendium on methods and tools to evaluate impacts of, and vulnerability and adaptation to, climate change

Climate Information and Prediction Services (CLIPS) Project and Regional Climate Outlook Forums (RCOFs)

Climate Information and Prediction Services (CLIPS) is a project of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) designed to assist in the provision of climate information and predictions for improved economic and social decision making, and thereby support sustainable development. CLIPS builds on the rapidly developing atmospheric and oceanographic research (e.g. atmospheric predictability beyond weather prediction, ocean predictability, regional circulation indices such as ENSO and NAO, ocean-atmosphere interactions, etc.) as well as the wealth of climate data, experience and expertise within the National Meteorological Hydrological Services (NMHSs) and related entities and provides a framework to deliver operational user-targeted climate services. The CLIPS project is an effective framework within which regional climate variability and change information and the associated adaptation issues can be integrated. Development of training curricula, training workshops and regional showcase projects are key components of CLIPS.

The Regional Climate Outlook Forums (RCOFs), promoted by WMO along with other international agencies, constitute an important vehicle in developing countries for providing advanced information on the future climate information for the next season and beyond, and for developing a consensus product from amongst the multiple individual predictions (based on ensembles of different dynamical climate model outputs, statistical relationships between surface ocean and continental anomalies, validated by some human expertise) . RCOFs stimulate the development of climate capacity in the NMHSs and facilitate end-user liaison to generate decisions and activities that mitigate the adverse impacts of climate variability and change and help communities to build appropriate adaptation strategies.

There is a great potential for the regional climate activities that currently take place under RCOFs and through CLIPS training to expand, through the actions of the WMO regional associations and the NMHSs, the use of currently available downscaling tools to more countries and to include information on climate change scenarios assembled by the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), such as climate projections created for the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4). This would enable NMHSs to contribute to their national communications to the UNFCCC and to develop or enhance their dialogue with users of climate information on climate risks and vulnerability (especially their governments), and would also support improved regional coordination on climate matters, standardization of tools and increased evaluation (feedback) on model outputs.

While there is a range of climate modeling and downscaling tools is available today, there is as yet no global framework to train and apply these tools to meet the user needs. CLIPS/RCOFs provide this framework and bring value to the model applications and their data and facilitate their access to the users.

Appropriate Use

It is important that appropriate partnerships with the application sectors are put in place to understand the user needs. It is most appropriate to develop RCOFs for groups of nations having common climate information needs.

Effective networking of the representatives of climate information providers and user sectors from the participating countries is also essential for successful operation of RCOFs. It is important for producers of climate predictions at seasonal to inter-annual scales to demonstrate the potential benefit that users can draw for their application by using the forecasts. This can easily be done using hindcasts.

Scope CLIPS framework is applicable at the local, national, regional and global level. RCOFs operate at sub-continental scale.
Key Output Training workshops, CLIPS curriculum, tailored climate products, regional climate outlooks, guidance on best practices in CLIPS operations, verification and user liaison, consensus-based climate products (e.g., WMO El Niño/La Niña Updates and seasonal climate outlooks issued by the RCOFs), downscaled climate prediction products for national/regional levels, etc.
Key Input National/regional/global climate data, climate prediction products from WMO Global Producing Centres (GPCs) for long range forecasts and WMO Regional Climate Centres (RCCs)/RCC Networks, data on climate-sensitive sectors for impact assessment.
Ease of Use Requires expertise in climate processes, analysis and modeling, and knowledge of climate-related risk management aspects.
Training Required Training required in downscaling of climate prediction/projections to appropriate regional/national scales, verification, and development of user liaison. Training is also required for the generation of tailored climate products.
Training Available WMO supports limited CLIPS training through its global series of workshops. Training is also an integral component of the RCOF process. In addition, there are other international agencies providing training on CLIPS- and RCOF-related topics.
Computer Requirements High-performance computing facilities are required to run regional climate models. However, for statistical downscaling and development of regional/national climate products, a personal computer with the latest technology with relatively high processing, memory and storage capacities will be adequate. A high-speed internet connectivity will be most essential to access global/regional climate products.

CLIPS Brochures and related guidance documents and meeting reports.


CLIPS has been promoted worldwide, and a number of CLIPS Focal Points exist in many countries. RCOFs are active in Africa, South America, Central America, Asia and Pacific Islands. For more information, please visit

Contacts for Framework, Documentation, Technical Assistance

World Climate Applications & CLIPS Division

World Climate Programme Department, World Meteorological Organization,7bis, Avenue de la Paix, Case Postale No. 2300, 1211, Geneva 2, Switzerland; Tel: +41.22.730.8377; Fax: +41.22.730.8042; e-mail:

Cost WMO facilitates free access to some specialized climate prediction software as well as climate prediction/projection products, through its Members and partnering agencies. Resources will be required to organize training sessions and RCOF operations.

CLIPS brochures and RCOF links available at WMO World Climate Applications and Services Programme and CLIPS web pages:

Coping with the Climate: A Way Forward, A multi-stakeholder review of RCOFs. 2000. pdf-icon

Palmer, T.N., A. Alessandri, U. Andersen, P. Cantelaube, M. Davey, P. Délécluse, M. Déqué, E. Díez, F.J. Doblas-Reyes, H. Feddersen, R. Graham, S. Gualdi, J.-F. Guérémy, R. Hagedorn, M. Hoshen, N. Keenlyside, M. Latif, A. Lazar, E. Maisonnave, V. Marletto, A. P. Morse, B. Orfila, P. Rogel, J.-M. Terres and M. C. Thomson. 2004. Development of a European multi-model ensemble system for seasonal to inter-annual prediction (DEMETER). Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 85: 853-872.

Patt, A.G. and J. Winkler. 2007. Applying Climate Information in Africa: An Assessment of Current Knowledge. Written in support of NOAA, Boston University and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). pdf-icon