Articles | Volume 14
11 Oct 2017
 | 11 Oct 2017

Risk management perspective for climate service development – Results from a study on Finnish organizations

Atte Harjanne, Riina Haavisto, Heikki Tuomenvirta, and Hilppa Gregow

Abstract. Weather, climate and climate change can cause significant risks to businesses and public administration. However, understanding these processes can also create opportunities. Information can help to manage these risks and opportunities, but in order to do so, it must be in line with how risk management and decision making works. To better understand how climate risks and opportunities are reflected in different organizational processes and what types of information is needed and used, we conducted a study on the perceptions and management of weather and climate risks in Finnish organizations and on their use of weather and climate information. In addition, we collected feedback on how the existing climate information tools should be developed.

Data on climate risk management was collected in an online survey and in one full-day workshop. The survey was aimed to the Finnish public and private organizations who use weather and climate data and altogether 118 responses were collected. The workshop consisted of two parts: weather and climate risk management processes in general and the development of the current information tools to further address user needs.

We found that climate risk management in organizations is quite diverse and often de-centralized and that external experts are considered the most useful sources of information. Consequently, users emphasize the need for networks of expertise and sector-specific information tools. Creating such services requires input and information sharing from the user side as well. Better temporal and spatial accuracy is naturally asked for, but users also stressed the need for transparency when it comes to communicating uncertainties, and the availability and up-to-datedness of information.

Our results illustrate that weather and climate risks compete and blend in with other risks and changes perceived by the organizations and supporting information is sought from different types of sources. Thus the design and evaluation of climate services should take into account the context of existing and developing processes in organizational risk management.

Short summary
Weather, climate and climate change can cause significant risks to businesses and public administration. By asking Finnish organizations about their weather and climate risk perceptions and management, this study aims to improve ways climate services can support in adapting to current and future climate. The results indicate that climate risk management is often de-centralized and relies on expert networks but that practices differ between actors.