The Pacific Islands Climate Services (PICS) Panel
The Pacific Islands Climate Services (PICS) Panel is an advisory group to the Pacific Meteorological Council (PMC). The PICS Panel was endorsed by the PMC in Nadi, Fiji in July 2013 and established in April 2014 at a Special Session of the PMC, in Rarotonga, Cook Islands.
According to the Terms of Reference, the PICS Panel aims to:
‘Improve coordination, continuity and integration of projects, programmes and initiatives that support climate services at national, regional and global levels; strengthen the basic and core functions and capabilities of NMHSs for robust and sustained data collection and management, analysis of data and quality assurance, production and dissemination of products, research and modelling; and enhance avenues and modes of multi-way communication and feedback between climate services providers and users to enhance the uptake and use of relevant and tailored climate services down to the communities and individuals.’
The first PICS Panel meeting was hosted by the Fiji Meteorological Service in August 2014. The Panel discussed a range of key issues to progress climate information and services in the Pacific. These discussions culminated in the development of a PICS Panel Action Plan and a list of Priority Actions and Recommendations, to assist the Panel in providing advice to the PMC on climate services development in the region.
The second PICS Panel meeting was held in May 2015 at SPREP, Samoa. The Panel reported on progress on the Priority Actions, and received updates on other activities and funding opportunities in the region, and discussed plans for reporting back to the PMC at the upcoming meeting in July 2015 in Tonga.
The third PICS Panel meeting was held at the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department, Port Vila, Vanuatu, 21–23 March 2016. The meeting focused on updating the PICS Panel Priority Actions; finalising the dates and sectors for PICOF-2; agreeing on the PI RCC structure and ways forward to implement RCC in the Pacific region; and developing the structure of the Pacific Roadmap for Climate Services.
In September 2017, following the Third Pacific Islands Climate Outlook Forum, the fourth PICS Panel meeting was held at the Taumeasina Islands Resort, Apia, Samoa. The impromptu meeting provided an update on the developments of the PI RCC, and produced an updated list of Priority actions. It also recommended that future PICS Panel meetings should mostly be held via teleconference and at other meetings of opportunity.
Based on discussions at the PICS Panel meeting held on 28/9/2017, and noting the recommended Regional and National Actions in the Pacific Roadmap for Strengthened Climate Services, the PICS Panel Priority Actions for 2017/18 are:
- Assess the format of and need for RCOFs in the Pacific Islands region (including the compatibility of face-to-face and teleconferenced RCOFs), based on a survey of participants at PICOF-3. Date due: March 2018. Responsibility: BoM.
- Develop consistent definitions of El Niño and La Niña events in the region, to be tested with NMHSs. Date due: March 2018. Responsibility: NOAA, MeteoFrance.
- Draft and review implementation plans for the updated PIMS and the Roadmap for Strengthened Climate Services. Date due: June 2018. Responsibility: SPREP, all.
- Evaluate year-1 progress on Roadmap Regional and National Actions. Date due: August 2018. Responsibility: SPREP, all.
- Plan for and hold the fourth Pacific Islands Climate Outlook Forum (PICOF-4) with an agriculture sector focus. Date due: October 2018. Responsibility: SPREP, IFRC.
- Evaluate year-1 RA-V PI RCC progress, including a survey of PI NMHSs and node/consortia members. Date due: December 2018. Responsibility: NIWA.
- Develop regional guidance for ensemble/consensus based forecasting, noting the increasing availability of climate forecasts from GPCs, RCC, and software (e.g., SCOPIC and PICASO). Date due: June 2019. Responsibility: BoM, all.
In addition to these Priority Actions, the PICS Panel will:
- Work closely with the PMDP, providing assistance and guidance when appropriate;
- Respond to urgent requests for technical advice from PMC, if requested;
- Work closely with WMO RA-V WG CLS and PI RCC implementation team; and
- Maintain the PICS Panel webpages with updated material.
PICS Panel Reports
The following PICS Panel Reports have been finalised:
- PICS Panel Report no. 1: Climate Services in the Pacific Islands Region – A Gap Analysis
- PICS Panel Report no. 2: Review of the Structure, Maintenance and Use of the SPREP Pacific Climate Change Portal (PCCP) Projects Database
- PICS Panel Report no. 3: WMO Regional Climate Centres (RCCs): Key Concepts
- PICS Panel Report no. 4: Lessons Learned from NCOFs in the Pacific Islands Region
The Pacific Meteorological Desk Partnership at SPREP provides the secretariat support for the panel.