What are gaps and ways forward in producing future climate projections in Thailand? What are challenges in using future climate data for risk and vulnerability assessments in Thailand as well as interpreting and contextualizing it at the sub-national level?
These and other similar issues where discussed on March 25 during the first Expert Consultation Platform for NAP preparation organized by the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP) and supported by GIZ in the frame of the Risk-based National Adaptation Plan (Risk-NAP) project.
Various climate (model) experts and researchers have been invited to share their experience and expertise on existing climate projections and climate modelling in Thailand. This first NAP Expert Platform meeting kicked-off a series of planned conferences and meetings for 2016, each with a different thematic focus around climate change adaptation in Thailand. A major objective is to enhance the inclusiveness and multi-stakeholder based approach of the NAP process, bridging the science and policymaker communities.
Jointly moderated by ONEP and Mr. Suppakorn Chinwanno, a well-known senior researcher from SEA START RC, the meeting was kick-started by four expert presentations on global and regional climate models, all articulating the challenges of downscaling these different models at the regional and local levels. “The more we go local, the more uncertain are the projections”, explained Dr. Atsamon Limsakul, Department of Environment Quality Promotion, adding that “Modelling is one way to understand climate change”.
Over the years, Thailand has collected a lot of climate data, running it through various models to produce national climate projections. Yet, the main challenge remains to pull all of these results together. “There is no central database”, Dr. Atsamon said, “10 years ago we had very scarce data, but now we have to find a way to effectively manage all the data we have.”
Two other key issues mentioned by the experts concerned the usability of this data for local decision-makers as well as the choice of scale to identify vulnerability hotspots. Indeed, several experts stressed that to identify key climate vulnerabilities and select suitable adaptation measures, natural boundaries such as watersheds have to be considered, thus implying that risk assessments should be conducted at several levels and considering multiple layers.
Finally, experts also agreed to make more and better use of data and resources of the Thai Meteorological Department (TMD). As mentioned by the former Deputy Director General of TMD, Dr Somchai, the department has recently received government budget to acquire new climate models and tools. It will take a couple of months to run all the data through these new softwares, but the resulting projections should form a sound evidence for climate change action.
- Marie Rossetti
Tel:+66 81 132 2335
German Development Cooperation c/o Office of Natural Resources & Environmental Policy & Planning
60/1 ONEP Building, 7th floor
Soi Phibunwattana 7 Rama VI Road, Phayathai
Bangkok 10400, Thailand