WWRP Societal and Economic Research Applications

Working Group on Societal and Economic Research Applications (SERA)

Drought related photos in Africa - Credit: Cornel Vermaak
Credit: Cornel Vermaak | Taken from WMO Flickr


SERA aims to advance the science of the social and economic application of weather-related information and services and review and assist in the development and promotion of societal and economic related demonstration projects. SERA has the responsibility for the entire range of timescales and research issues associated with the WWRP. SERA brings the knowledge of how to frame design and implement research projects co-designed between physical and social science and a range of appropriate actors to achieve more useful information for decision makers and the public.

Working Group Members

  • Co-Chair: Julia CHASCO, SMN
  • Co-Chair: Jane ROVINS, DRRS Ltd
  • Jieming CHOU, CMA
  • Martin GOEBER, DWD
  • Helen GREATEX, IRI
  • Carla MOONEY, BOM
  • Adrian PERRELS, FMI
  • Juan Pablo SARMIENTO, FIU
  • Isadora JIMENEZ, BSC

The members introduce themselves

Co-Chair Julia Chasco is an Argentine sociologist (University of Buenos Aires) with a Master's degree in public policy (MPP) and other post-graduate knowledge especially oriented towards disaster risk reduction and adaptation to climate change policies (USAL /UCBerkeley). Since 2015 she is part of the National Meteorological Service of Argentina as the Head of the "Meteorology and Society" team, the SMN staff formed by social science professionals. Julia's experience is especially linked to the development of science-based services oriented to the needs of decision makers. Design of user's approach guidelines for co-designing products and services. Identification of end user’s needs. Development of communicational strategies to improve public comprehension of weather warnings. Risk perception and risk communication advice. Collaboration in scientific-technological projects with social impact at small and medium scale. Advice on Impact Based Forecast. Advice on Last Mile/ Early Warning Systems. Advice on risk perception and communication. Argentine focal point on Disaster Risk Reduction at the World Meteorological Organization. SMN focal point for the Scientific and Technological Organizations for Risk Management Network in Argentina.

Jane E. Rovins PhD, MPH, CEM. For over 25 years through 50+ countries Co-Chair Dr. Rovins has developed an expertise in international disaster risk management and response; training; and policy development. She is CEO of Disaster Reduction & Resilience Solutions, Ltd (Hong Kong) and a Senior Lecturer at Massey University (New Zealand). DRR Solutions provides practical, science-based solutions to disaster risk management and climate change programs and projects. Her recent work includes developing the pandemic planning for indigenous social service organizations, ASEAN Standards and Certification for Experts in Disaster Management (ASCEND) Framework, the National Disaster Response Framework (NDRF) for Indonesia and outreach materials for ASEAN Disaster Risk Financing and Insurance Programme, among others. She was the founding Executive Director of the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR) Programme. Her research is around disaster law and policy, impacts of hazards on internally displaced people, hotel resilience, and infrastructure. She has received distinguished awards including induction into the International Women in Emergency Management Hall of Fame; Massey University Research Medal – Team 2019; the Innolec Lectureship in Disaster Risk Reduction from the Faculty of Science, Masaryk University (Czech Republic), among others. Dr. Rovins is a leader in several prominent organizations including co-chairing the WMO Working Group on Societal and Economic Research Applications. www.linkedin.com/in/janerovins/

Prof. Jieming Chou, born in October 1964, Ph.D., professor and doctoral supervisor of Beijing Normal University. Her research interests lies in climate change economics. Chou has been engaged in teaching and scientific research in universities since 1987. She studied finance and economics in the first place, then focused on how climate change impact economics and the society. Her recent work includes investigating the impact of carbon dioxide emissions, establishing the economic- climate model, assessing the economic losses caused by extreme climate events, international climate negotiations, Climate Futures Research and so on. Prof. Chou has presided over 3 National Natural Science Foundation projects and participated in 4 major scientific research projects. She has published 5 books and more than 60 papers.

Helen Greatrex is an Assistant Professor in Remote sensing and Geospatial analysis at the Pennsylvania State University. Her research centres around the use of rainfall estimates for actionable decision making across agriculture, health and humanitarian response. Her research has a duel focus on the geostatistical processes underpinning rainfall estimation, and on ensuring that rainfall products are used in an effective and equitable way. She has also worked extensively with the agricultural insurance industry on the design of 'weather index insurance', focusing both on index design, basis risk and on the social equity of weather risk management tools. Other recent projects Helen has led or contributed to include the impact of rainfall on infant hydrocephalus; improving geostatistical merging methods for satellite rainfall estimates; a systematic review of flash flood research; and the design of livelihood-derived weather statistics for humanitarian response in Somalia.

Carla Mooney (PhD environmental law) is the National Manager of Disaster Mitigation Policy at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. She has extensive experience in applied social research into environmental and weather-related service development. Carla is especially interested in bringing the needs of users into the design of products and services to maximise their capacity to inform decision making by emergency managers and the public. Her focus currently includes the development of a Future Warning Framework which supports the transition to impact-based services and a multi-agency collaboration investigating heatwave vulnerability in Australia with the potential to extend the methodology to other hazards. She has extensive experience in evidence- based policy development in both academic and public sectors.

Adriaan Perrels (PhD environmental economics) works in the Finnish Meteorological Institute as Research Professor, studying the economic consequences of climate change and the valuation of weather and climate services. Throughout his research career in the Netherlands and Finland his work area clustered around energy economics, infrastructure economics and environmental economics, involving both model-based explorative studies, as well as ex-ante and ex-post policy evaluations. Since the mid-nineties evaluation of climate policy took a growing share of the pie. The last 11 years he focused ever more on climate change impacts and adaptation in Finland, Europe and Globally. Among his 200+ publications are over 40 peer reviewed articles and books. https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=3RTTdicAAAAJ https://en.ilmatieteenlaitos.fi/weather-and-climate-change-impact-research

Dr Juan Pablo Sarmiento is a Medical Doctor and Surgeon (Universidad del Rosario, Colombia), with a M.Sc. in Public Health, Specialty in Health Promotion and Social Development (Université de Bordeaux, France & Universidad Pública de Navarra, Spain); a M.A. in Project Management (UCI, Costa Rica). He has a Specialization Degree in Medical Education (Universidad de la Sabana, Colombia). Dr. Sarmiento has also post-graduate studies in Disaster Management (Oxford Brookes, U.K.); High Level Public Administration (ESAP, Colombia), and a residence in Nutrition (Tufts University, U.S.A.). Dr. Sarmiento is currently a Research Professor and Associate Director for Research at the Extreme Events Institute at Florida International University. He is also Director of the Disaster Risk and Resilience in the Americas program, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Research interests: Disaster Risk Perception & Behavioural Risk, Risk and Social Capital, Disaster Risk and Well-being, Urban Disaster Risk Interventions, Urban Precariousness and Informal Settlements, Risk Transfer Mechanisms, Disaster Risk and Wellbeing. Recent posts: https://works.bepress.com/juan-sarmiento

Dr Isadora Jiménez is the Knowledge Transfer team leader at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC). Dr. Jiménez has 10 years of experience in science communication and for the last 6 years she has been involved in the development of weather and climate services with a special focus on visual communication of climate and air quality information. She leads a multidisciplinary team of 12 experts with multiple profiles from Social Sciences and Humanities that covers all aspects of knowledge transfer of climate and air quality information. The transdisciplinary approach in the team enhances the co-design and implementation of user-tailored services ranging from the creation of online digital tools to capacity building. The aim is to facilitate short term decision making regarding air quality and sand and dust storms management (24-48h), as well as climate change adaptation at shorter time scales (from the coming weeks up to years in advance).

Coleen Vogel is Distinguished Professor attached to the Global Change Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand, in Johannesburg, South Africa. She has extensive experience working in climate change variability (droughts in particular) and in climate chnage in Africa and southern Africa. She has been the past Chair of the Human Dimesnions programme of the former global change programmes. She has also been actively involved in Future Earth particularly at the southern African level and in Africa. She has assisted South Africa in the development of their Disaster Management legislation. She is currently the Chair of the Global Change Scientific Committee of the NRF and DSI in the country. She is working in the climate chnage decision mkaing context where she is focussing on the City of Johannesburg, engaging with activists and the business community and also a strong keeness and interest in young change agents at all levels (local and international).