Marta Terrado and Dragana Bojovic are scientists at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) in the Earth Sciences' Earth System Services Group. Their interdisciplinary research aims to demonstrate the value of climate forecasting services, atmospheric composition and weather forecasting for society and key sectors of the economy. Marta and Dragana work on improving coproduction of climate services by engaging with various stakeholders and providing a link between climate scientists and climate information users. They help co-development of services for renewable energy, urban development, insurance, health and agriculture. In the APPLICATE project, Marta and Dragana co-lead user engagement work by increasing the awareness of Arctic change impacts, improving communication, maximizing exposure of the science produced within the project, and assuring that feedback received from stakeholders is incorporated in the project through knowledge coproduction.
1. What are you currently working on with APPLICATE students?
We are currently participating in the APECS-APPLICATE-YOPP online course, where we involve students in the active development of case studies. In APPLICATE, we define case studies as particular extreme events of Arctic weather and climate with an impact on specific aspects of the society or the economy of Arctic regions and beyond (e.g. extreme rainfall causing landslides or a decrease in energy generation in Europe related to a historical low winter sea ice in the Arctic).
Students’ involvement in this activity consists in developing new case studies in group collaboration, and presenting them in a webinar at the end of the course. By bringing students on board, APPLICATE can expect to receive fresh ideas, opening new ways to case study development, or generally, communication and engagement with stakeholders. In turn, students are provided the opportunity to experience interdisciplinary team collaboration, gaining a better understanding of the real-world application of scientific results generated in APPLICATE. This process will also allow students to have a broader overview of the complexity of developing climate services that can eventually be used. Questions identified in the process will show the importance of coproducing these services together with stakeholders.
2. What is the main challenge you encountered working with stakeholders in the Arctic?
Taking into account the diversity and complexity of the rapidly transforming Arctic region, selecting a group of stakeholders that we can collaborate with was not an easy task. The APPLICATE User Group is composed of representatives from various stakeholder groups, such as local communities, businesses, and international organizations. Our aim is to keep this group balanced when it comes to geographical representation, gender, sectoral interests, or stakeholder type, and at the same time, be careful not to increase too much the number of participants.
A second challenge is to get stakeholders involved and keep interaction with them. For that, we need to come up with ever-changing ways of motivating continuous interaction, given that participation in discussions is on voluntary basis. Some examples are regular sharing of new project products, such as case studies, with members of the User Group, or meeting them at different events. We also invite members to the project general meeting, which was very well accepted by both the stakeholders and the project climate scientists, who otherwise do not have often opportunity to interact with users. Finally, stakeholders sometimes require information or services which are out of the scope or capacity of APPLICATE. Close collaboration between the user engagement team and project climate scientists is needed to fine tune the project outputs and address user needs to the extent possible.
3. What do you think will be the main contribution of the APPLICATE project in advancing our understanding of how changing Arctic conditions affect local communities?
APPLICATE provides examples of the application of scientific findings to real-life situations in the Arctic and beyond. Examples are namely presented in our case studies. Another example is the Polar Prediction Matters Blog where stakeholders from the Arctic share with blog readers their experience from living and working in extreme Arctic conditions and provide new insights into what weather and climate information is currently used and what is still missing. Interaction with Arctic stakeholders is also helping the APPLICATE project identify and prioritize research gaps, moving forward our exploration and understanding of the northernmost corner of the Planet.