Developing climate communication tools for integrated decision support at the local and regional level

- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner
Tuesday, 19 January 2010: 9:15 AM
B213 (GWCC)
J. Greg Dobson, UNC Asheville, Asheville, NC; and J. Fox, T. Pierce, M. Phillips, and K. Lichtenstein

More climate and climate change information is now available than ever before and many groups are looking to use this information for decision making. However, much of this information is not easily accessed in formats that are clearly interpreted by the non-scientific community (e.g. local and regional decision makers, the general public). Decision makers need more than just raw data to make accurately informed decisions. By integrating trusted sources of climate information with other datasets (e.g. economic, environmental, cadastral, infrastructure, physical data), tools and techniques can be created that will enhance science communication and delivery. This leads to more informed decision making and a better understanding of data uncertainties.

A four-step process was created to guide the transfer of climate information into knowledge. The process included 1) integration of data and information, 2) creating visualizations, 3) telling the story, and 4) group decision making. Data integration occurred at county and regional scales in order to facilitate local decision making to such groups as city and county councils, emergency and first responders, and community planners. Specific tools created to help guide this transfer of knowledge and better interpret climate and climate change information included the use of GIS and other geospatial visualization technologies, web-based interactive technologies, and open source solutions. These tools helped address such issues as hazard mitigation, landuse and future growth planning, and forest health. This presentation will highlight examples of tools and techniques developed which addressed the integration of climate and climate change information for integrated decision support across the Western North Carolina region.

The work described here involved a multi-disciplinary collaboration between the University of North Carolina at Asheville's (UNCA) National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center (NEMAC), the Renaissance Computing Institute at UNCA, the US Forest Service, the National Weather Service, the National Climatic Data Center, and other local businesses. NEMAC focuses on unique collaborations involving the academic, public, and private sectors.