1.1 Regional Climate Services Information Delivery under Climate Extremes — Webinar Series and Evaluation

Tuesday, 10 June 2014: 10:30 AM
Church Ranch (Denver Marriott Westminster)
Dennis P. Todey, South Dakota State Univ., Brookings, SD; and D. R. Kluck, T. Haigh, J. R. Angel, and B. Fuchs

The Missouri River Flood of 2011 and Drought of 2012 illustrate two of the large climate extremes in the Northern Great Plains. Each had large impacts and caused a large amount of unease during and after the events. Because of ongoing recovery efforts and concern about follow-on conditions the following year, NOAA through its Central Region Climate Services Partnership and South Dakota State University developed a series of monthly webinars (Missouri River La Nina webinar series) to present current conditions and monthly outlooks from NOAA throughout the spring run-off season in 2012. These were delivered to stakeholders throughout the basin. As conditions worsened with the onset of the drought of 2012, the webinar series was restarted in July of 2012 conducted bi-weekly to deal with the on-going drought issues. The region was expanded from the Missouri River emphasis to the Great Plains and Corn Belt.

NOAA contracted with SDSU and the NDMC to conduct an evaluation of the Missouri River La Nina Webinar series, to determine the effectiveness of the series and to gauge interest in continuing the series to focus beyond flooding issues. The evaluation was conducted through an online survey sent to all individuals who had registered for at least one of the webinars in May 2012. Results indicated that participants found the webinar format effective, that most participants had used resources from the webinars, and that almost all had shared information with others. Respondents wanted to see the webinar series continue on a monthly or every-other-month basis, and wanted the webinars to focus (in addition to flooding) on drought, water supply, climate trends, and other related issues.

As the webinar series has continued since that time through the present, SDSU and the NDMC conducted a second evaluation survey in January-February 2014 to learn more about how information shared through the webinar series is used in decision making. Preliminary results indicate that the information is being incorporated into decision-making, that the information is affecting a broad range of sectors including agriculture, water supply and quality, energy, wildlife, and public health, and that the benefits of the information in decision making included both non-financial benefits as well as measurable financial benefits of as much as $500,000-$1,000,000. A more detailed analysis will be presented.

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