Hacking for Climate Based Action

Deliberations over which complex datasets to choose, user perception analysis, raster rendering, lots of scones, and some bottles of Mosi beer. Maybe this doesn't sound like an atmosphere that cultivates cutting edge climate services, but think again!

The Climate Action Hackathon is proving to be the proving grounds for two dozen developers who have grouped themselves into 5 teams in order to tackle some of the most challenging issues in climate services provision. Many of the teams have chosen to focus on agriculture as their target sector.

But they’re approaching creatively, from a number of directions. For example, one group has decided to use daily rainfall and temperature data to to make a framework for communicating real-time weather risk in four languages. Other groups have been analyzing longer timescale weather forecasts to address questions of when farmers should plant and what to plant.

The International Research Institute for Climate and Society has been here to support the hackathon and help the teams identify relevant data sets to feed their ideas. From our perspective, it’s encouraging to see the coders take into account two non-data considerations for climate services: that the end products need to be tailored to users' decision making processes, and that timescales are relevant, especially when thinking about how forecasts at various lead times link to a particular set of decisions.

While the time for prototype unveiling nears, the flurry of coding, climate and communication ramps up. The stakes are high, with each group afforded the opportunity to present to high level thinkers, policy influences, climate scientists and decision makers.

We’re excited too see what the teams come up with to link complex climate science to community level decision making processes!