Press release archive: 2013

Benefits of weather services much greater than costs

9.12.2013 12:27

The ratio between the costs and benefits of weather services are currently being studied in several countries. In all countries, the results are positive in terms of the social productivity of weather services.

Kuva: Eija Vallinheimo

Kuva: Eija Vallinheimo

The lowest reported ratio is 2 in the United States, which in this case means that the benefits of the services are double the cost of producing them. On the other hand, typical results were obtained in Switzerland and Finland, where the cost-benefit ratio for weather services intended for road traffic is approximately 10. In order to avoid an overly optimistic result, the Finnish study also took into account costs other than those for weather services, such as the production and operating costs for various media.

Funders need analyses when assessing investment needs

Placing a value on weather and climate services is a growing research field around the world. The reasons for this include tight budgets in many countries and the needs of developing countries to prepare for climate change. Domestic and international funders are increasingly likely to require a cost-benefit analysis as part of investment needs assessment.

The Finnish Meteorological Institute is participating in several developing country projects that also involve economic assessment of weather and climate services. The Institute is also part of a World Bank-funded project aimed at creating a manual for assessing weather and climate services. The manual is intended for domestic weather services.

The Finnish Meteorological Institute is also developing an assessment method that focuses on the net benefit of the entire service chain. The information and operating chain covers making weather observations, forecasting, communications and net additional benefit for the end user. This study is called Weather Service Chain Analysis (WSCA).

"It is interesting to note that, despite a positive cost-benefit ratio, many weather service chains still have a lot of unused potential. WCSA helps to identify the phases in which it would be worth increasing investments and innovation development. At the same time, it's a good idea to stress that opening up public weather data is an important means of expanding and accelerating the development of weather services, which in the long run will improve the cost-benefit ratio of weather services," states Adriaan Perrels, Research Professor at the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

Further information:

Research Professor Adriaan Perrels, tel. +358 505838575, adriaan.perrels@fmi.fi