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Climate Communication Resources

A collection of resources to help scientists and communicators think about science communication and climate change. These resources are not comprehensive and mentioning them here does not equal an endorsement by the USGS.

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  1. Audience
  2. How to Talk about Risk/Uncertainty
  3. Empathy and Values-Centric Communication
  4. Science Communication as a Researcher
  5. Using Narratives in Science Communication
  6. Writing Prose for Non-Scientific Audiences
  7. Federal Communications
  8. Why We Need More In-House Science Communicators
  9. Inspiration and Other Great Resources

Note: Although this web page is within the public domain, the linked resources may contain copyrighted materials. Permission to reproduce copyrighted items must be secured from the copyright owner.




Articles and Handbooks

The IPCC Climate Outreach Handbook

Engaging Diverse Audiences with Climate Change: Message Strategies for Global Warming's Six Americas by Yale Project on Climate Change, Center for Climate Change Communication

Also see Six Americas 

Escape From the Ivory Tower - Chapter 8: Delivering a Clear Message by Nancy Baron

Networking for Introverted Scientists by Ruth Gotian

Networking Tips For Scientists – The Psychology Behind Connecting at Cheeky Scientist



How to get an audience to care about your science | ‘Talking Science’ by Greg Foot

Climate Communication for Journalists - Susan Joy Hassol


How to Talk about Risk/Uncertainty:

Speaking about risk and uncertainty helps foster trust - not the other way around. Think about talking to a doctor about an upcoming treatment. You know there is a problem. You know there are several options, and some of those options have risks and unknowns. We should learn to talk about climate projects and adaptation measures in the same way.  

Risk Communication Guide from NOAA

Van der Linden, S. L., Leiserowitz, A. A., Feinberg, G. D., & Maibach, E. W. (2014). How to communicate the scientific consensus on climate change: plain facts, pie charts or metaphors?. Climatic Change, 126(1), 255-262.


Empathy and Values-Centered Communication

Websites and Free Tools

How to Save the World - gamifying environmental action and behaviors with Katie Patrick and associated

How to Communicate Hope in a Time of Climate Crisis by Gavin Lamb

Lessons on Communicating the Climate Crisis by ClimateXChange


Podcasts and Videos

Water Talk

How to Save the World with Katie Patrick

It's Not Manipulation, It's Strategic Communication  with Keisha Brewer



Saving Us by Katherine Hayhoe

Getting to the Heart of Science Communication by Faith Kearns


Science Communication as a Researcher


How to Communicate Your Research More Effectively with Stephen S. Hall 

Switching Up Your Communication Style by Amara Huddleston (via NOAA Sea Grant) 

Science Communication Toolkit for researchers by Amy Lentz (promoted by Wisconsin Sea Grant)

The Science of Science Communication | Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science



Science Communication for Researchers by Tanya Dimitrova 

Science Communication Presentation by Michelle Jewell (NC Museum of Natural Sciences) 



Don’t Be Such a Scientist: Talking Substance in an Age of Style by Randy Olson 

Escape From the Ivory Tower: A Guide to Making Your Science Better by Nancy Baron


“Do This, Instead of That:” Helpful Tips to Get You Started 

As a researcher, I do this…                      

For SciComm, I switch to this…

Start with a literature review/introduction

Start with my findings (get people excited!)

Include multiple pieces of information in my discussion

Stick to one plot line (tell a story) 

Use BIG words (for expert target audience)…

Use NORMAL words (catered to my audience)

Follow the typical scientific method format

I tell myself a story (reading non-technical books about your subject helps kick start your creativity)*

The write-write-write, analyze-analyze-analyze mode

Take a long break and do “creative” activities to switch off my science brain

Send to a colleague for review

Have a chat or coffee with a colleague and practice some chatting about your topic in a casual way

Very non-personal and technical

Talk about your story (plug in fun field stories that can make the work relatable)

No pictures, just graphs and data

Force yourself to take pictures, even if they aren’t professional. You can use these both for your presentation and to look through them for inspiration. 

Practice my talk or have my manuscript reviewed by other experts

Practice my talk with family and friends who aren’t familiar with the subject

* My research focuses on population characteristics and parasitology of the American Eel. Whenever I start to write or create a presentation for the general public, this narrative book: “The Book of Eels: Our Enduring Fascination with the Most Mysterious Creature in the Natural World” by Patrick Svensoon is my “go-to” for some narrative inspiration. 


Using Narratives In Science Communication

People love stories! Incorporating stories into communication can help audiences understand the topic’s relevance to their own lives and can help grab and maintain their attention.

One way to incorporate stories is through anecdotes, either by sharing your own experiences or by asking the audience to describe theirs.

Another method is to create a narrative framework within your presentation or writing. Borrowing from fiction, narrative frameworks are the logical thought progression that carry audiences through a story and leave them feeling satisfied at the end. They usually involve setting up some sense of context (characters, setting, state of knowledge/the world, etc.), establishing a conflict, and resolving this conflict. 

Narrative frameworks that can be applied to science communication:

  • “And But Therefore” Framework, designed specifically for science communication. Broadly applicable to everything from an elevator pitch to an academic article.
  • MICE Quotient, useful for thinking about different kinds of stories. Particularly useful for long-form products (feature articles, blog posts, presentations, etc.)

Houston, We Have a Narrative by Randy Olson


Writing Prose for a Non-Scientific Audience

Hemingway App, tells you the reading level of a piece of writing and identifies confusing sentences. Very useful for testing how clear and simple your language is.

PlainLanguage.Gov, gives lots of good advice about how to write clear prose and how to format documents and web resources in ways that are easy to read. Website is written specifically for government documents but advice is broadly applicable.


Federal Communications

If you are a federal employee, there are many communities of practice that share communication advice, training opportunities, and job openings, including: 

As a federal employee, keep in mind that all federal communications by law must apply Plain Language standards. 

Looking for a science communication career? Federal agencies employ many science communicators in diverse roles (social media management, science journalism, video production, etc.). You can find available jobs at, using keyword searches such as “Public Affairs Specialist” and “Communications Specialist.”


Why We Need More In-House Science Communicators:

Science Communication is a field of study that is rising in popularity amongst undergraduate and graduate students, and there is a growing amount of science communication programs across the United States. Most science communicator positions work with scientists, in-house, to develop communication strategies, design graphics, and coordinate efforts across various levels of the institution. They can also act as public relations specialists, press coordinators, and social media managers. 

Bergquist, P., Marlon, J. R., Goldberg, M. H., Gustafson, A., Rosenthal, S. A., & Leiserowitz, A. (2022). Information about the human causes of global warming influences causal attribution, concern, and policy support related to global warming. Thinking & Reasoning, 1-22.

The Public Wants Scientists to be More Involved in Policy Debates - Scientific American


Inspiration and Other Great Resources


Data and Graphics from Yale’s Climate Change Communications

Ready-Made Visuals from NOAA


Talks and Podcasts

Tips for Giving a Great Online Presentation

Clear + Vivid with Alan Alda

Ologies with Alie Ward

Risky or Not?