6.4 Using climate extension to support adaptation: The Carolinas Coastal Climate Outreach Initiative

Wednesday, 20 July 2011: 11:15 AM
Swannanoa (Asheville Renaissance)
Jessica C. Whitehead, North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh, NC; and G. Carbone, K. Dow, D. L. Tufford, R. H. Bacon, and J. F. Thigpen III

Many decision-makers in South Carolina and North Carolina are deeply concerned about climate-related issues, such as shoreline change, sea level rise, severe storms, coastal inundation, and salt-water intrusion. Despite their concern, stakeholders typically discuss these issues without explicitly addressing the roles that climate variability and change could play in exacerbating these existing problems, making subsequent conversations about adaptation difficult to initiate and sustain. To address this problem, the South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium, North Carolina Sea Grant College Program, and the Carolinas Integrated Sciences and Assessments (CISA), NOAA's Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) center at the University of South Carolina, began the Carolinas Coastal Climate Outreach Initiative (CCCOI). The multi-disciplinary research and outreach CCCOI team provides timely and credible science-based information on climate science, potential impacts, and adaptation to coastal stakeholders, who use that information to make informed decisions that take in to account climate change and variability to better adapt to changing conditions. To integrate the partners, the CCCOI relies on a regional climate extension specialist (RCES) to unite the expertise of CISA researchers with the knowledge of coastal processes and the outreach expertise of regional Sea Grant Extension programs. Under the RCES's leadership, this approach provides efficient and effective climate change outreach programs that will ultimately assist with informed management and planning in the region. This presentation will describe how the CCCOI team has worked to create decision support tools relevant on local scales, strategies to extend information about climate science and adaptation to municipalities and NGOs in the Carolinas, and build regional and national capacity for climate extension. Lessons learned from this pilot coastal climate extension effort will be critical to its continuing success and to applications of the climate extension concept on a national scale.
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