Scope, scale, and relevance: Translating and augmenting the climate information from the IPCC and NCA for state-level decision support (Invited Presentation)

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Monday, 5 January 2015: 4:00 PM
121BC (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Jeffrey J. Lukas, CIRES/Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO; and E. S. Gordon

The climate information (datasets, graphics, key messages) produced for global and national assessments is a critical resource for the development of climate assessments at finer scales. But the usability of the broader-scale information for finer-scale assessment varies, and "off-the-shelf" reuse of assessment content is constrained by several factors. Additional climate information specific to local scales is usually required, but meshing finer-scale findings with global and national-level information can be problematic, due to differences in the observed and/or projected climate changes between scales.

We draw on our recent experience with state-level assessment to highlight issues involved with translating and augmenting the broader-scale information from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and National Climate Assessment (NCA) reports, and provide examples of solutions. The 2014 Climate Change in Colorado (CCC) report was co-produced by the Western Water Assessment RISA and the Colorado Water Conservation Board, updating a 2008 report of the same name. The CCC report synthesizes information from the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, the Third NCA report, and the regional technical input to the NCA, as well as peer-reviewed studies not represented in the other reports. The CCC report is tailored to the stated needs of state-level water managers and planners but suitable for decision-makers in other sectors. We conducted many new analyses and created new graphics for the CCC report in the belief that consistency in the presentation of results enhances decision relevance. The CCC report also directly informed a separate Western Water Assessment effort to describe climate-related vulnerabilities across the state of Colorado. Our experience with the 2008 and 2014 CCC reports supports the notion, as put forward in the 2010 NRC report 'Informing an Effective Response to Climate Change,' that more focused assessments that address specific questions and decisions may be more effective as decision-support tools than broader-scale assessments.