General Principles (click to view principles list)
1. What are my goals?
2. How does climate matter to me?
3. What choices do I have to respond to climate forecasts?

You can change the way climate affects you by changing some of the decisions you normally make. One way to do this is to change decisions in response to a seasonal forecast. What you do will depend on your goals (Step 3), how climate affects them (Step 1), and what decisions you can change. To identify these decisions, consider

  • Some of the decisions you normally make influence the effects of climate on you. For example, a dry season might mean a poor yield for a farmer who decided to plant maize, and a high yield if he had decided to plant millet.

  • You can take different kinds of actions. You can take action to prevent a particular outcome from happening (e.g., immunization or education campaigns to prevent a diseases from occurring), to prepare for a particular outcome (e.g., stockpile medications in case the disease outbreak occurs), or take advantage of good conditions (e.g., reduce spending on prevention and preparation if climate is unlikely to be conductive for a disease outbreak).

  • Some decisions fall naturally into discrete options, such as whether or not to buy a piece of equipment. Most decision present a continuous range of options, such as how much fodder store ahead, how much water to release, or how much fertilizer to apply. Continuous decisions allow you to make incremental changes that reflect the strength of a forecast.

Another way to change how climate affects you is by always being prepared. For example, planting a range of crops—some that perform better under wet conditions, and some that perform better under dry conditions—will ensure that you (almost) always obtain some harvest regardless of what the climate turns out to be. Being always prepared for a range of climate conditions is how humans have coped with climate variability for millennia.

4. What is the climate going to be like?
5. What are the potential impacts of climate on me, given a climate forecast?
6. What decisions should I use to increase the odds of an outcome that is preferred?