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CSAG Climate Frontiers Podcast Series

Listen to this series of podcasts hosted by the Climate Systems Analysis Group (CSAG) at the University of Cape Town. These are conversations between researchers and partners across Africa and globally, covering a range of topics from climate science to social science and philosophy.
Climate frontiers logo, a half-sphere with a city and mountains on the upper side of the half-sphere.


Climate Frontiers is a podcast series exploring the latest thinking, approaches and debates in climate science. The series is hosted by the Climate Systems Analysis Group (CSAG) at the University of Cape Town.

The podcast presents an accessible perspective on topics often hidden behind academic language. Through conversations with researchers at CSAG, and occasionally with partners across Africa and internationally, a range of topics from within physical climate science, through to social science and philosophy are discussed.

A few episodes from this podcast series are available below. You can also listen to these podcasts on various apps.

Visit the Climate Frontiers podcast homepage for more information and links to other listening options.

Select episodes

Welcome to Climate Frontiers (Introduction)

This episode welcomes you to Climate Frontiers and explains the motivation and thinking behind the series.

Click here to listen to the ‘welcome’ episode.

Episode 1: The Ethics of Climate Services

Episode 1, titled ‘The Ethics of Climate Services’, is a frank conversation between colleagues involved in a recent project exploring some of the challenges at the intersection of climate services and ethics. The conversation dives into the importance of climate services in the context of development and poverty alleviation in South Africa, but also debates some of the significant challenges in ensuring that climate services are ethical and that appropriate responsibility is held. Should climate services involve professional certification and legislation like medicine, engineering or law? Should we trust a “free market” approach? Or is there a third option centered on ongoing dialogue, transparency, and collaboration?

Listen below or click here to listen to Episode 1, ‘The Ethics of Climate Services’.

Episode 2: The Complex Challenge

In this episode we talk about why climate change is such a complex problem and what CSAG and others are doing to make sense of the complexity to help make climate information clearer, more accessible, and usable or actionable by those confronting climate risks. Dr Anna Taylor from UCT’s African Climate and Development Initiative speaks with Prof Bruce Hewitson and Dr Izidine Pinto, who are climate scientists developing innovative ways of tailoring climate information to the needs of those working to reduce climate impacts across southern Africa and beyond.

Listen below or click here to listen to Episode 2, ‘The Complex Challenge’.

Episode 3: CORDEX-Africa

A decade of sustained African climate science mentorship

In this Episode we talk about the Coordinated Regional Downscaling Experiment (CORDEX) and in particular Cordex-Africa and the role it has played in developing the capacity of African scientists to conduct climate-related research in Africa. Dr Chris Lennard takes us through the reasons behind the development of CORDEX-Africa, the role it has played in the career pathways of those involved and the benefits produced for not only the science community but society as a whole. As you will hear, CORDEX-Africa plans continued engagement in the analysis of climate data, the writing of scientific papers, and facilitation of collaborations between climate and impact scientists as well as policy and stakeholder communities to jointly produce information relevant for climate resilient decision-making.

Listen below or click here to listen to Episode 3, ‘CORDEX-Africa’.

Episode 4: Making Sense of Seasonal Forecasts and Decision Making

In this episode, we have a frank conversation about why people use, or don’t use climate information. Seasonal forecasts are presented as a particularly interesting example, because, despite the potential value of seasonal forecasts for informing decision-making in the farming sector for example, they aren’t used much. In fact there seems to be quite a bit of confusion and misunderstandings about what seasonal forecasts are communicating. To unpack some of the mystery of seasonal forecasts, Chris Jack speaks to Peter Johnston and Anna Steynor from CSAG about potential benefits of seasonal forecasts and some of the barriers to use. Together, they discuss and explore the complex decision making landscape and how research outputs such as seasonal forecasts could be enhanced so that they are more relevant for decision making.

Listen below or click here to listen to Episode 4: Making Sense of Seasonal Forecasts and Decision Making.

Visit theClimate Frontiers podcast homepage to listen to more episodes as and when they are released.

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