National Climate Indicators System: Utility of Information of Indicators
Before a full system is released in 2015-2016 (anticipated), we have collaborated with USGCRP to release a pilot indicator system. The pilot indicator system would be released on globalchange.gov and the metadata would be fully documented on the Global Change Information System (GCIS). The purpose of the pilot is to work with stakeholder communities to design an indicator system that will inform adaptation and mitigation decisions. Specifically, we would like to evaluate the understandability of individual indicators and learn how users are combining indicators for their own understanding or decision needs through this multiple Federal agency decision support platform.
This prototype system provides the perfect test bed for evaluating the translation of scientific data – observations, remote sensing, and citizen science data -- and data products, such as indicators, for decision-making audiences. Often translation of scientific information into decision support products is developed and improved given intuition and feedback. Though this can be useful in many cases, more rigorous testing using social science methodologies would provide greater assurance that the data products are useful for the intended audiences. I will present some initial research using surveys to assess the understandability of indicators and whether that understanding is influenced by one's attitude toward climate change. Such information is critical to assess whether products developed for scientists by scientists have been appropriately translated for non-scientists, thus assuring that the data will have some value for the intended audience. Such survey information will provide a data driven approach to further develop and improve the National Climate Indicators System and could be applied to improve other decision support systems.