3.2 Decision Support for Climate Adaptation in the Upper Colorado River Basin: Why Drought Decision Makers Choose to Use Tools (or Not)

Tuesday, 24 January 2017: 10:45 AM
613 (Washington State Convention Center )
Amanda E Cravens, USGS, Fort Collins, CO

Adapting to climate change and variability, and their associated impacts, requires integrating scientific information into complex decision making processes. Recognizing this challenge, there have been widespread calls for information providers and scientists to work closely with decision makers to ensure they produce datasets and tools that meet real-world needs. Despite the emphasis on integrating user needs into the design of resources, tool developers often do not understand the range of ways their tools are actually incorporated into the decisions of potential users nor the reasons why someone might opt not to use a seemingly-relevant tool. Therefore there is a need to better understand the specific social and institutional factors that influence why users use (or do not use) particular resources as well as the strategies that tool developers use to engage with users. Using the Upper Colorado River Drought Early Warning System as a case study, this study explored both the process of tool development and the process by which tool users find relevant information for drought decision making. Understanding these two groups’ experiences suggests ways to more effectively design and implement decision support tools in the future.
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