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Intermountain west drought social science synthesis working group: Report to the National Climate Adaptation Science Center

July 3, 2019

Throughout the Intermountain West, there has been significant investment in understanding how social factors influence manager and citizen experiences of drought in particular locations. Yet there is still a gap in knowledge of how human dimensions of drought impacts, planning, and resilience are similar and different across cases and regions. Building on the natural science understanding developed by the USGS’ various ecological drought projects as well as a range of other place-based social science case studies of drought and its impacts, this project explored human dimensions of ecological drought across the intermountain west from a comparative, regional perspective. The Working Group brought together agency and university experts in the field of drought social science, including researchers affiliated with the North Central and South Central Climate Adaptation Science Centers (USGS), Western Water Assessment (a NOAA RISA program), the Northern Plains Climate Hub (USDA), and the USGS-supported SNAPP Ecological Drought Working Group. The group held three virtual meeting during Spring 2018 in preparation for an extended in-person workshop in June 2018 in Fort Collins, CO, followed by monthly calls to finalize products. The group’s objectives were to (1) integrate insights from existing social science studies of drought to identify commonalities and trends that generalize across cases while simultaneously accounting for the complexity experienced in particular places by individual decision makers, (2) develop a common lexicon and analytic framework for understanding drought across the Intermountain West from a social-ecological systems perspective, (3) identify emergent research themes, questions, and needs, (4) consider strategies for social scientists to contribute to drought management, (5) facilitate coordination among federal and university researchers for future collaborative activities, and (6) develop a typology of drought decision making that captured group insights. Project outputs included two conference sessions, a typology manuscript to be submitted by the end of FY19, and the conceptual framing of a rapid assessment methodology that was subsequently developed into a standalone project.

Publication Year 2019
Title Intermountain west drought social science synthesis working group: Report to the National Climate Adaptation Science Center
Authors Adam Wilke, Amanda E. Cravens, Robin O'Malley
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype Federal Government Series
Series Title Cooperator Report
Index ID 70204639
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Fort Collins Science Center