Using the Climate Information Portal in Education

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Are you teaching climate change at a university? Or are you organizing a workshop for those interested in climate science? Here is an example of how you can integrate the Climate Information Portal (CIP) into your educational activities.

Professor Jonas Olsson, hydrological researcher at the Swedish Metrological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI) and professor in water resources at Lund University, shares a learning exercise he developed based on the Climate Information Portal.

Jonas Olsson
Professor Jonas Olsson,


The objective of the learning exercise was for students to select a location of interest and come up with a corresponding question about future climate impacts – and then use the Climate Information Platform to access relevant data. This initiative led to engaging discussions among students enrolled in the “Water, society and climate change” course at Lund University when they presented their findings.

“For example, one group used the portal’s data to explore the future risk of flooding in Barranquilla, Colombia, which already today has severe flooding problems and where one of the students comes from. Another group investigated the potential impacts of future heatwaves on Berlin, Germany, inspired by personal experiences. These tasks not only deepened students’ understanding of climate change but also highlighted its diverse impacts across different regions”, says Jonas Olsson.

Another key aspect of the exercise was the selection of appropriate climate indicators to address specific questions.

“The students had to justify which climate indicators provided suitable information for their chosen questions. This led to some interesting discussions and differing perspectives”, adds Jonas Olsson. 


Professor Olsson’s Learning exercise

  1. Select a User, Location and a Case: Choose a specific user in any part of the world with a corresponding question about future climate impacts, some examples:
    • A farmer in India concerned about the risk of drought and poor harvests
    • A water utilities company in Melbourne interested about the future drinking water supply
    • A landscape planner in Nairobi focusing on flood risk in the rivers
    • A health authority in Berlin concerned about future risk of heatstroke
    • A hotel owner in Buenos Aires wondering about what will happen with tourism in the area
    • Any other relevant scenario you can imagine
  2. Choose Climate Indicators From the list of available climate indicators here, select three indicators most relevant to your chosen user case.
  3. Select Time Period and RCP: Select the future time period (2011-2040, 2041-2070, or 2071-2100) and the Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) that aligns with your interests  (RCP 2.6 – CO2 emissions start declining by 2020 and go to zero by 2100, RCP 4.5 – CO2 emissions peak around 2040 and then decline, RCP 8.5 – CO2 emissions continue to rise throughout the 21st century)
  4. Generate Site-Specific Report: Use the Site-specific report function on the CIP start page to analyse overall future changes based on the selected indicators, time period and RCP.
  5. Analyse Intra-Annual Variation: For the indicator that you consider most important, use the function Data Access Platform on the CIP start page to explore the intra-annual (that is, from month to month) variation of this indicator. Analyse the data both in past climate (1981-2010) and in your future selected time period (under your selected RCP).
  6. Deliver Short Presentation: Prepare 1-3 slides (using Power Point, Google Slides, or similar tool) showing the main results as images or tables, along with a short text summarizing the future outlook for your selected. Give a short presentation (5 min) about your findings.