Making Sense of Local Climate Projections

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South Central CASC-affiliated researchers have developed hands-on training to improve planners’ and decision-makers’ confidence in incorporating climate model projections into their adaptation plans. EOS, Earth and Space Science News, published an article written by the researchers detailing this training and its successes. 

Read the original article published by EOS here.

Practitioners face a problem: they need a comprehensive suite of climate model projections in order to address multiple sources of uncertainty but they lack the time and climate science staff required to develop said projections. A South Central CASC team developed a hands-on training aimed at addressing this issue and building participants' confidence in working with these climate projections by solving a real-world management problem. 

The problem posed focused on water management where CASC training facilitators played the roles of climate scientists and science translators and participants each played the role of district water managers who had to recommend whether their state governor should sign a contract to sell water from an aquifer to a city in a neighboring state. Participants received activity sheets that detailed the issue, including physical and societal information, as well as a suite of climate scenarios. 

Participants were able to begin to see how they might use projections in their planning efforts. The training workshop demonstrated the benefits of collaborations between practitioners, science translators, and climate researchers. Many practitioners were unaware that science translators were an available source and, overall, they said that they now better understood how to interpret climate projections, would actually use them in their adaptation planning, and would seek science translators to help with implementation. 

This study was funded in part by the SC CASC project “Characterizing Uncertainties in Climate Projections to Support Regional Decision-Making.”

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A tributary at the arctic-boreal transition in the Agashashok River Watershed

(Credit: Josh Koch, USGS. Public domain)