, Volume 106, Issue 4, pp 507-536
Date: 21 Dec 2010

Decision support for climate change adaptation planning in the US: why it needs a coordinated internet-based practitioners’ network

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Abstract

Decision support resources are emerging across the United States to address the adaptation and mitigation challenges associated with climate variability and change. In theory, climate-related decision support identifies the need to move beyond the linear dissemination of information from experts to decision-makers. Interviews with researchers and federal program managers, however, show that in practice there are still wide gaps between the development of climate science and its application. Lessons learned in two example cases of decision support experiments are discussed to highlight some of the on-going challenges in applying climate science, e.g. defining decision support, involving decision-makers, and determining effectiveness. The published literature also shows these reoccurring challenges but emphasizes more collaboration between science and decision-makers as this improves the relevance, compatibility, and accessibility of climate science information and can increase users’ receptiveness. This article proposes that the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) can help the development of decision support resources, in one way, by coordinating an Internet-based practitioners’ network. A coordinated network could provide opportunities for climate-related decision support practitioners to build collaborative partnerships, share lessons-learned, provide feedback to the USGCRP, and thereby assist the transition of science into decision-making processes to better address adaptation planning.