Developing Climate Adaptation Services: what works when and why?

PhD research by Eva Boon

Research challenges

Adapting to climate change requires context-specific and actionable information. Governments and businesses are therefore increasingly investing in tailored climate information products and support. The performance of the ‘climate services for adaptation’, however, is poorly understood and hardly evaluated. How do we know if these climate services actually support societal actors to plan for climate change adaptation? What determines the success of climate services? And can success be ‘managed’? This research examines what constitutes the success of climate services, and which strategies lead to success under what conditions.

Climate Services for Adaptation are defined as:

"The transformation of climate-related data – together with other relevant information – into customized products that may be of use for the society at large to plan for climate change adaptation."

Examples are climate change projections, impact studies, risk and vulnerability assessments, effectiveness studies of adaptation options, and learning from best practices. They can vary from detailed and technical information products to simple visuals and interactive workshops.


This research aims to understand and explain how successful climate services can be produced and evaluated. To this purpose a systematic literature review and expert elicitation study are performed to define success and identify critical factors that contribute to it. These studies result in a framework that will be tested by using a fuzzy-set-QCA to explore the configurational nature of factors leading to success in ~30 cases (e.g. what practices work in what context?). Finally, through action research, the identified success conditions are implemented in three climate service projects to explore the practical usability of the factors as design principles to steer climate service success.

Expected results

The research will provide a framework for evaluating the performance of climate services and will suggest strategies to improve their performance.