Climate Services in China – engaging users

Posted December 19, 2020

By Vicky Lucas, Training & Development Manager at the IEA


There’s so much to know about China, the continent-sized country with more than 100 cities, each with a population of over 1 million.  A culture that has a different year by which to measure time, with the New Year in 2020 beginning on 25th January, the Year of the Rat.  A country with a continental variety of climates, from the summer monsoon, to the temperatures remaining below zero for three months of the year in areas bordering Mongolia and Russia.  It is with this awe-inspiring sense of scale that we have started our VIEWpoint project.

Climate Science for Service Partnership China

It’s a privilege to join the partnership of universities and organisations to enhance climate research in the support of climate services prototypes with the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) and the Institute of Atmospheric Physics (IAP).

So far, our work has been based in the UK.  For the past few months we have been consulting with project partners to examine existing work to find the potential for promotion and tailoring, allowing users in China to effortlessly access and easily apply the five years’ research and more than 200 published papers.  This scoping is just the start and the real challenge will be to establish and maintain relationships with existing and new users, engaging with them and finding how to address their needs.

User needs and engagement

We are seeking to enhance the use and appeal of existing work, to make small changes to lower the barrier to decision-makers in China to include new information or approaches.  The changes could be attractive data visualisations, capacity building or simple one-pager explainers of the fundamental science.

Engagement will be essential and a key skill that the IEA brings to CSSP China.  The IEA has Europe-wide projects under H2020, with regular calls to keep work on track.  The IEA has also been working closely with islands around the world for the past few years, assisting developing island states to plan and implement renewable energy solutions with our bespoke platform (RE-SAT).  Working across time zones is just one of those challenges for coordination and virtual discussions, with a smattering of rare face-to-face meetings being key to kick start and invigorate project consultations for co-development.

The Year of the Pig and the Year of the Rat

In early in 2020 we will visit Beijing and start talking directly to users to energise discussions and be guided by their needs.  The visit will take place sometime at the end of the current Year of the Pig or after the move into the Year of the Rat, avoiding the extended holiday period of the New Year.

Those born in the Year of the Pig are diligent and generous, once they have set a goal they will devote all their energy to accomplishing it.  Those born in the Year of the Rat are quick-witted and resourceful.  Our project aims to reflect both Rat and Pig qualities, to be flexible enough to respond to user needs effectively and take swift advantage of opportunities, but with the commitment and grounding to achieve.

The Year of the Rat will pitch our wits to capitalise on CSSP China outputs and make an impression on the vastness of this opportunity.

China Year of the Rat illustration
2020 is the Chinese Year of the Rat. Illustration: AnnaliseArt, Pixabay.
VIEWpoint Climate Science for ServiceChina logo with Chinese translation