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Meet our Experts: Stefan Lines

Stefan is one of the leaders of WP4, which is focused on the training and capacity building part of CONFER. They work with people in the region, providing training in interpreting and applying climate services in a way that benefits and supports resilience against inter-annual variability. One of the people working to design these training events is Stefan.

Tell me a bit about your role at the UK’s Met office

Our purpose at the Met Office is to help people make better decisions to stay safe and thrive. It’s at the heart of what we do, and it’s done, in part, by providing data and services across weather and climate timescales. My role within the International Applied Science group is to organise, coordinate and deliver high-quality support to a range of stakeholders – funded through various programmes and customers. My work has previously involved running regional climate simulations in the Caribbean and the Middle East, designing aerosol-related climate services for China, and delivering in-country training to NMHS and government sectors in the South Pacific. More recently I have been leading our International Seasonal Outreach team which works to support capacity building activities, on seasonal timescales, primarily across Africa and Asia. It’s a wonderful job that’s allowed me to build great relationships with our collaborators and clients who all share a similar desire: to work together to build resilience against a changing climate.

Why are you excited about the CONFER project, and what do you think it could achieve?

The CONFER project is exciting because it stands on the shoulders of giants such as the successful WISER programme. It allows us to continue the excellent engagement with our collaborators and stakeholders in East Africa while building on this momentum by developing state-of-the-art science that can be pulled through to services. East Africa is subject to intense droughts and flooding, exacerbated by our changing climate. The human cost is significant and yet, due to teleconnections between rainfall and tropical seas surface temperature, seasonal variability is modelled with relatively high skill, providing a pathway for mitigation, adaptation and improved disaster risk reduction. CONFER will exploit this predictability and use the latest science to develop services that could aid the lives and livelihoods of people across the Greater Horn. Additionally, it funds a large amount of capacity building support that will hopefully boost skills in seasonal forecasting for those working in regional NMHSs, investing not just in science, but in people.

What is your specific role in CONFER?

My role within WP4 is to coordinate, contribute to, and run workshops and events that assist in building human capacity and capability across the region. This means working closely with ICPAC to design training events that support NMHS forecasters, co-producing the tri-annual seasonal forecast for the region, and working with the other work-packages to make sure that potential climate information users can utilise the services developed under the CONFER programme.