ASPECT announces two new Super Users

The British Red Cross and Save the Children International join ASPECT as users.

We are pleased to announce that climate services scientists at the Met Office and Barcelona Supercomputing Center will be working with another two organisations over the next three years as Super Users of the ASPECT project.

The organisations British Red Cross and Save the Children International join the existing Super Users in the agriculture (wine), finance (pensions) and governance sectors. This extends the ASPECT case studies to the disaster response and humanitarian sectors.

The consortium would like to thank everyone who has applied to the Super User competition. All other organisations are encouraged to engage with the ASPECT project through the User Forum, which provides a platform to develop relationships with climate scientists working on climate risk and adaptation and for potentially expanding prototype services to a wider range of sectors and users.

The next User Forum will take place in January 2024, with more information available shortly.

Disaster response following extreme events in Europe

The British Red Cross is the first new Super User to be selected by the ASPECT project. Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies around the world help people prepare for, respond to and recover from extreme weather-related disasters such as droughts, heatwaves, wildfires and floods. The British Red Cross is keen to move to proactive modelling of their future operations, as the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events caused by climate change challenges their capacity to respond.

To date, Red Cross societies have employed weather and climate information in short term decision-making, seasonal planning, and are increasingly looking at how to use such insight in longer term adaptation planning and decision-making. You can read more about the experience of British Red Cross emergency response officer, David Taylor, on the importance of why forecasts and warnings are crucial to planning and preparedness here. Working with the British Red Cross is therefore an excellent fit for the seasonal to decadal timescales that are the focus of ASPECT.

The Red Cross movement is committed to producing advice, activities and plans to support individuals and communities to become climate ready. Together we will work toward climate service prototypes tailored to local needs that can inform the British Red Cross strategy around climate risk. The British Red Cross will also use the evidence and insight gained locally to advocate for changes to policy and practice nationally, and share this learning with partners in Europe and internationally.

ASPECT plans to engage with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies Technical Reference Group for Climate Action – Europe Region, chaired by the Spanish Red Cross and co-chaired by the British Red Cross. This engagement will support input from European Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies into the ASPECT case study. Through these links ASPECT scientists plan to co-produce climate service prototypes which will be useful to the British Red Cross domestically in the UK as well as Red Cross societies across Europe and beyond.

Health of children and climate change

Our second case study will be Save the Children International. We will co-develop prototype climate services around the provision of appropriate water, nutrition, sanitation and hygiene, to support Save the Children to protect maternal and child health around the world. Through this partnership, ASPECT will be helping to support climate services for the important and topical area of climate and health. At COP28 this month, 123 countries endorsed a new Climate and Health Declaration acknowledging the growing health impacts of climate change on communities worldwide.

The initial climate service prototypes developed will focus on Europe’s neighbours, Africa and the Middle East, where learnings will have high relevance to parts of Europe as the climate continues to change and extreme hot temperatures become more common.

The climate services co-produced with Save the Children International will cover the seasonal to multi-annual timescale for which state-of-the-art climate simulations are being produced by the ASPECT project. Looking at the impact of climate conditions on health, food availability and nutrition, ASPECT aims to develop prototype climate services that can support adaptation and protect maternal and child health under future climate change.