Tuesday, 19 July 2011: 11:00 AM
Salon A (Asheville Renaissance)
Climate variability and change are impacting water availability, food security, public and private infrastructure, fisheries, agriculture and tourism throughout the USA and around the globe. While the scientific and technical aspects of climate science continue to advance, application and use of this information by decision-makers in the public and private spheres requires application and regionally specific interpretation. In regional centers around the U.S.A, NOAA funded Regional Integrated Science Assessment (RISA) programs serve as boundary organizations, bridging the communication and cultural gap between climate scientists and decision-makers. This paper reports results from interviews with scientists at one of these RISA centers, the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy (ACCAP). The climate is warming in northern latitudes faster than anywhere else on the planet. Average annual temperatures in Alaska have increased by over 3ºF since 1949, with resulting impacts including reduction in sea ice extent, shifts from benthic to pelagic marine ecosystems, increasing incidence of wildfire, draining and drying of surface lakes, and observation of new insects. These changes have implications for transportation, marine shipping, safety, health and Native subsistence foods. ACCAP engages a diverse array of stakeholders including state and federal agencies, industry, Native Tribes and Tribal organizations, and other non-governmental organizations. There is growing recognition of the need for assessing user information needs and communicating climate science in ways that are tailored to specific stakeholder application. Using methods in information science, we explore knowledge exchange between scientists and stakeholders in the co-production of knowledge for response to climate impacts in Alaska. Specifically, we explore the scientists' perception of stakeholder knowledge and the implications for science communication. Results underscore the importance of research partnerships with stakeholders and for unique skills in science translation from data to information and knowledge that can be applied in decision-making.
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