As part of MiKlip II Module D, the Climate Service Center Germany (GERICS) will focus on bringing the decadal prediction system into operational practice by developing prototype products for selected users from the private sector. In close interaction with users and scientists the usability of the decadal prediction system will be analysed and eventually improved. Ultimately, we aim to support the users in their decision-making processes with tailor-made prototype products, and thus to provide them with solutions for climate related problems on a decadal time scale.
The structure of the work package is visualised in a time line sketch (figure 1). The figure illustrates the two-way interactive processes, tasks and workflows of the three different actors (i.e., users from the private sector, GERICS, developers of the decadal prediction system) as well as the aims and additional benefits of the work package (see also next paragraph).
In order to develop and select first case studies users' needs will be identified in close cooperation with the users in first workshops. The selected case studies should preferably cover different combinations of industries, topics, and regions. In this first phase, an evaluation method for the first case studies and a product development process for the future prototype products will be established. Furthermore, criteria of usefulness for the decadal prediction system will be identified that will be fed back to the developers of the system. At the end of MiKlip II's second year all case studies will be selected by using the established evaluation method. Based on this selection, the tailor-made prototype products will be co-developed with selected users. At the end of the project the gained knowledge and experiences from the iterative improvement process of the interaction between the users, GERICS, and the decadal prediction system will be analysed and summerised.
GERICS will provide a pilot study on the usefulness of decadal predictions for the private sector. (On the way to the final pilot study, case studies and prototype products will be co-developed with selected users. Additionally, studies on the criteria of usefulness and on the iterative improvement process for the decadal prediction system will be compiled.)
Building on already known user needs, four business sectors were selected for the contacting process of potential users of decadal predictions: tourism, agriculture, renewable energy, and insurances. In order to get the specific information from the users that is needed for user-oriented evaluation of decadal predictions, a list of interview questions to the following key topics were composed:
(1) Impact and consequences of climate variability,
(2) Climate variable, time period, and region,
(3) Experience with climate information or climate data, and
(4) Uncertainty and reliability of climate information.
To establish contacts which are already familiar with climate data, associations were asked for recommendations and on this basis about 450 companies were scanned. Ultimately, 36 suitable companies were contacted and 15 interviews were conducted. The interviews were evaluated and by means of a criteria check list the 6 most suitable companies were selected for the co-development of a climate information product based on decadal predictions. For one of these case studies a data product for an insurance company concerning gust speeds was developed in cooperation with Module C. The data format of the product has been proven to be usable, but the
hindcast data still needs to be recalibrated and applied to different test periods. For all selected case studies, data analyses for the basic user interests (e.g. the predictability of frost days, consecutive dry
days or days with a specific temperature range) were started. The data analyses include the established evaluation methods (MSESS, CRPSS), as well as a user-orientated evaluation method that was developed as a plug-in for MiKlip's Central Evaluation System.
Prototype product: GERICS defines a prototypical method or service as novel, innovative, and research-based information, processes or methods that integrate climate knowledge into decision-making processes. In this case novel means that the product provides an additional value that has not been covered before. A prototype product is co-developed with users and scientists to satisfy specific needs of a region, a topic or a sector. After the development process the prototype products can be operationalised (Juliane Petersen, personal communication, 2015).