TJ16.5 Communicating Climate Information to Broad, Binational Audiences: A Great Lakes Account

Wednesday, 9 January 2019: 9:30 AM
North 226C (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Kimberly Channell, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI; and W. Baule, J. Andresen, J. L. Jorns, M. Muth, S. Deland, F. Seglenieks, B. M. Lofgren, and J. Weaver

Communicating climate information and data to non-scientific audiences presents many unique challenges. It requires trusted climate communicators, an iterative feedback process, and clear identification of end-user needs. However, when the intended audience is not one clearly defined end-user, but rather a broad, general audience, the process is even more difficult. The Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments (GLISA) program is an experienced and trusted communicator of climate science and information for the Great Lakes region, often in the form of products intended for broad audiences. GLISA is one of eleven NOAA-supported regional teams dedicated to helping the nation prepare for and adapt to climate variability and change. Through a recent international partnership under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement Annex 9 Subcommittee on Climate Change Impacts, GLISA coordinated with several other US and Canadian Organizations to create a pilot product, titled ‘2017 Annual Climate Trends and Impacts Summary for the Great Lakes Basin.’ The document synthesizes existing information in a short and easy-to-understand format that provides a timely and succinct summary of the past year’s climatic conditions and places them in context of recent averages, ranges, and trends. Notable climate-related events, and relevant new research, assessments, and activities in the context of the Great Lakes region are also highlighted in the summary. During the creation of the initial pilot version of the summary, a small but diverse group of regional stakeholders and experts were consulted for feedback on content and clarity of the document. After the initial feedback was considered and incorporated, it was shared across the region to a broad group of experts and stakeholders to solicit feedback on its utility and improvements for future versions of the document. Work on the 2018 version and beyond will utilize the lessons learned from the pilot product and feedback received on its usefulness and clarity for general audiences. This presentation will share the 2017 pilot product, its reception, and the improvements planned for next year’s document based on feedback received. Sharing GLISA’s experience with this process of communicating data and climate information to the public is intended to be useful to other scientists working and communicating with broad, non-scientific audiences.
- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner