Future climatic and hydrologic conditions have significant impacts for selecting crops varieties, planning the growing season and ensuring water supply during the irrigation period. To the present day, monthly to yearly decisions in agriculture rely on past climate observations. This practice is going to fail more frequently in the context of increased climate variability driven by climate change. For that reason, the use of seasonal climate forecasts has the potential to increase resilience of agriculture, efficiency in water use and optimization of farming practices. This project analyses the relevance and the feasibility of innovative seasonal forecasting services targeted to agricultural practices and water management decisions.

The AgriSeasonal project ambitions to develop commercial seasonal climate services targeted to agricultural practices and related water management decisions. Our main goal is to advance toward a prosperous and climate-resilient agricultural sector. The team members are from France (SUEZ and TEC-Conseil), Netherlands (FutureWater), Spain (CETAQUA and FutureWater Cartagena).

During the year 2017 and 2018, a wealth of climate data and customised seasonal forecasts have been made freely available from the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S). They provide additional information on the future conditions to be expected in the next few months regarding rainfall, temperature, soil moisture, etc. Still, the complexity of these forecasts and the lack of decision variables adapted to agricultural end-users remain key barriers for adoption of the forecasts.

This project works in close cooperation with diverse group of European end-users including irrigation communities, crop and wine producers to define where, when and how these forecasts can be used to enhance decision making and lead to more climate-resilient businesses. The end-product will be a range of co-design seasonal climate services adapted to the needs of the sector.

In what follows the specific objectives and expected outcomes of the project:

1. Perform service conceptualization with end-users
The outline of the services will be upgraded following a co-design methodology with the end-users, considering what they perceived as important to have a successful service (e.g. skill, delivery-date, type of visualization of results, interconnection with other systems). This will be done by meeting with the end-users and following a framework of service conceptualization adapted to climate services using dynamic seasonal forecasts. This first critical task will ensure an appropriate product development from an initial stage, creating benefits to the customer.

2. Validate the service design
Based on the first phase, a preliminary design of the service will be made for the different customers. Mock-ups will be made and presented so our clients can better understand and provide feedback. To validate critical components of the design, laboratory testing will be done (e.g. use of COPERNICUS API to extract data, propagation of uncertainty using crop growth model, interoperability with other systems). Mock-ups and tests will be presented in various iterations to the client to receive feedback and further adapt the design. This participative design process will guarantee a suitable product development from an initial stage (suitability of the service) and provide a clear vision to the client on future developments and possibilities.

3. Produce a comprehensive business plan
A market analysis will provide information on the current situation and trends related to the services to be developed. Due to the rapid evolution of the climate services market in Europe this aspect is particularly important (e.g. change introduce by EU strategic Roadmap on Climate Service, Data Availability from Copernicus C3S…). In addition, it is essential to make the right choices for the business model to be successful. Market analysis and business model would ensure an appropriate vision on the service development stages, delivery model and insertion in partner´s portfolio. This would ensure the economic viability of the services at short and mid-term horizons.