25 October 2021, Barcelona. The Secretary General of the UfM, Nasser Kamel, and the Director General of the ECMWF, Florence Rabier, today signed this partnership agreement in Barcelona. Over the next few years, ECMWF, as entrusted entity to implement the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) and the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) and Union of Mediterranean will work closer and undertake joint initiatives to develop targeted training sessions and materials for knowledge transfer and capacity building in the region. They will also develop a joint free and open data dashboard with easy-to-use indicators and information for the UfM countries to maximise the uptake of climate and atmosphere monitoring data products from Copernicus in all relevant regional initiatives.
The EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service recently announced that Europe had witnessed its hottest summer on record in 2021. Wildfires raged in many countries along the Mediterranean coastline, while several countries experienced their worst flooding in decades. Meanwhile, the recent publication by the network of Euro-Mediterranean scientists MedECC, supported by the UfM, showed that the Mediterranean basin is warming up 20% faster than the global average and that the region is one of the main climate change hotspots in the world.
A wealth of scientific literature exists on the Mediterranean, and detailed risk assessments and data can be found, yet resources are unevenly distributed and some of the most vulnerable regions’ public and private decision-makers have inadequate access to trusted and up-to-date research. The UfM and the ECMWF, which has one of the largest supercomputer facilities and meteorological data archives in the world, signed this agreement to tackle the urgent need to collate the most advanced environmental knowledge in the Mediterranean basin and make it readily accessible to policymakers, experts and citizens, thus contributing to effectively tackling climate change in the region.
UfM Secretary General, Nasser Kamel, said: “The Mediterranean has been called a hotspot of climate change and biodiversity loss over and over again. The subsequent question is how we can improve the ways in which scientific evidence is constructed, integrated and communicated, so it can contribute more effectively, efficiently and quickly into policy formulation. The Science-Society-Politics interface allows hard-won evidence to turn into concrete policies for our region. This is why the UfM, and ECMWF collaboration will allow our region to be a pioneer in good practices and an example in formulating regional policies in the fight against climate change.”
The ECMWF Director General, Florence Rabier, said: “ECMWF is delighted to have signed this new collaboration with the Union for the Mediterranean. Through our activities within the EU-funded Copernicus Climate Change and Atmospheric Monitoring Services, we aim to support the Mediterranean countries with comprehensive and policy critical data. Our goal is to enable climate adaptation and mitigation initiatives at the European level and beyond in order to tackle the pressing challenges of climate change. By leveraging existing infrastructures and knowledge with the involvement of national service providers and unions like the UfM, we can foster the best environment to move forward in creating sustainable climate practices. “
To inaugurate this partnership, the Union for the Mediterranean and Copernicus hosted a virtual consultation to present the challenges linked to climate change in the Mediterranean, and how these can be overcome by better leveraging climate data. An interactive session took place to gather information about how climate data is currently used in the region, and what further datasets or tools are needed to help policymakers and civil society plan for current and future climate change in the Mediterranean Basin.
About the UfM
The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) is the only Euro-Mediterranean intergovernmental organisation bringing together the countries of the European Union and 15 countries from the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean. The UfM provides a forum for strengthening regional cooperation, dialogue and the implementation of concrete projects and initiatives that have a tangible impact on our citizens, especially our young people, in order to meet the region’s three strategic objectives: stability, human development and integration. https://ufmsecretariat.org
The UfM is proud to celebrate Mediterranean Day for the first time this year – find out more at mediterraneanday.com.
About the ECMWF and Copernicus
Copernicus is a component of the European Union’s space programme, with funding by the EU, and is its flagship Earth observation programme, which operates through six thematic services: Atmosphere, Marine, Land, Climate Change, Security and Emergency. It delivers freely accessible operational data and services providing users with reliable and up-to-date information related to our planet and its environment. The programme is coordinated and managed by the European Commission and implemented in partnership with the Member States, the European Space Agency (ESA), the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), EU Agencies and Mercator Océan, amongst others.
ECMWF operates two services from the EU’s Copernicus Earth observation programme: the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) and the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S). They also contribute to the Copernicus Emergency Management Service (CEMS), which is implemented by the EU Joint Research Council (JRC). The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) is an independent intergovernmental organisation supported by 34 states. It is both a research institute and a 24/7 operational service, producing and disseminating numerical weather predictions to its Member States. This data is fully available to the national meteorological services in the Member States. The supercomputer facility (and associated data archive) at ECMWF is one of the largest of its type in Europe and Member States can use 25% of its capacity for their own purposes.
ECMWF has expanded its location across its Member States for some activities. In addition to an HQ in the UK and Computing Centre in Italy, new offices with a focus on activities conducted in partnership with the EU, such as Copernicus, are in Bonn, Germany as of Summer 2021.