JP2.1 The Southwest Climate Outlook: Insights on Communicating Climate Information to Stakeholders

Wednesday, 22 June 2005
Gregg M. Garfin, Univ. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

Each month the Climate Assessment for the Southwest (CLIMAS), in collaboration with University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, delivers a monthly summary of recent climate conditions and forecasts to 2,000 decision-makers in the Southwest. The product, called the Southwest Climate Outlook, is an extension of a 2002-2003 pilot project to assess stakeholder needs for climate information, as well as to assess the effectiveness of the information delivered. Our research and experience shows that climate information and forecast users desire information that is consistent, timely, tailored to their region and scale of operations, easy to understand, and comprehensive. Our evaluations show that including a climate education component with the conditions maps and forecasts is an element highly valued by stakeholders. Stakeholders prefer integration of images, text, and background information. Our evaluations also indicate that climate information is shared informally, and in ways not explicitly envisioned by the generators of climate information; thus, designers need to account for informal uses. This poster presents quantitative and qualitative results of the 2002-2003 pilot project, as well as insights accrued from three years of operations.
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