Course Description

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Welcome to the course  Introduction to Climpact: Generating Climate Indices to Support Climate Services.

This course explores how to generate sector-specific climate information relevant for climate-sensitive sectors through the use of an open-source software package called Climpact. This software package is used to calculate climate indices from daily temperature and rainfall data. After completing this course, you should have the knowledge and skills needed to choose and calculate climate indices from daily temperature and rainfall data, to analyze trends in climate indices and in many cases explore correlations between sectoral and climate data. Climate indices help decision-makers in various sectors such as disaster risk reduction, health, agriculture and water. 

A full description of the Learning Objectives of this course is provided to you below:


Module 1: Introduction (~13 min)

  1. Describe the purpose, goals and organization of the course, as well as the available references for further information on Climpact.


Module 2: Key Concepts for Analysis of Climate Extremes (~16 min)

  1. Define key terms used in climate action planning and decision-making including assessments, trends, change vs. variability, predictions.
  2. Explain the purpose of a climate index and how it is used for climate action planning and decision-making.
  3. Explain the concepts surrounding the differences between detection and attribution, and how Climpact only focuses on detection.
  4. Define commonly used statistical concepts used in climate science, including Sen’s slope method, percentile, absolute and relative thresholds, frequency, mean, median, standard deviation, range.


Module 3: Select complete & continuous data (~15 min)

  1. Describe the steps for preparing data for use in Climpact.
  2. List the types of data that Climpact works with, including max/min temperature, precipitation.
  3. Explain the importance of complete and continuous data. 
  4. Describe alternative sources for historical climate data when data on actual conditions are not available. e.g., satellite observations, re-analysis (a mix of model output and observations), gridded data.
  5. Explain the limitations of alternate sources of climate data.


Module 4: Load Data and Run Quality Control (~25 min)

  1. Define quality control as the "detection and removal of suspicious data caused by errors in collection or recording".
  2. Explain Climpact quality control methods for detecting and correcting raw climate data errors.
  3. Explain the importance of local expertise to distinguish extreme events from errors.


Module 5: Calculate Climate Indices (~20 min)

  1. Explain the organization of the 60+ indices in Climpact. (27 core indices plus specific sectoral indices, divided by duration, intensity, frequency of events.)
  2. Explain the naming/abbreviation system for indices 
  3. Describe other output files from Climpact that go with indices
  4. Describe the most appropriate indices to use for the most common sectors and/or locations.


Module 6: Analyze Trends (~25 min)

  1. Describe basic techniques for drawing conclusions about trends from climate indices.
  2. Correctly identify simple trends in climate indices.
  3. Describe approaches for calculation of correlations between climate indices and sectoral data, including de-trending of data.


Module 7: Calculate Correlations with Sectoral Data (~47 min)

  1. Describe approaches for calculation of correlations between climate indices and sectoral data, including de-trending of data.
  2. Explain the importance of having sectoral data that is of good quality, and systematically acquired from reliable sources.


Module 8: Communicate Indices & Trends (~33 min)

  1. Describe the importance of communicating results w/ stakeholders/climate services agencies. 
  2. Describe major climate communications tools where climate indices such as those generated by Climpact may be used. 
  3. Describe important considerations in communicating climate indices, trends and correlations data with planners and decision-makers. 


Last modified: Friday, 1 April 2022, 4:30 PM