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Applications of Monsoon Research: Opportunities to Inform Decision Making and Reduce Regional Vulnerability

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  • * NOAA/Earth System Research Laboratory/Physical Sciences Division, Boulder, Colorado
  • | + Climate Assessment for the Southwest, and Institute for the Study of Planet Earth, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona
  • | # Center for Latin American Studies, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona
  • | @ Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona
  • | & Department of Geography and Regional Development, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona
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Abstract

This article presents ongoing efforts to understand interactions between the North American monsoon and society in order to develop applications for monsoon research in a highly complex, multicultural, and binational region. The North American monsoon is an annual precipitation regime that begins in early June in Mexico and progresses northward to the southwestern United States. The region includes stakeholders in large urban complexes, productive agricultural areas, and sparsely populated arid and semiarid ecosystems. The political, cultural, and socioeconomic divisions between the United States and Mexico create a broad range of sensitivities to climate variability as well as capacities to use forecasts and other information to cope with climate.

This paper highlights methodologies to link climate science with society and to analyze opportunities for monsoon science to benefit society in four sectors: natural hazards management, agriculture, public health, and water management. A list of stakeholder needs and a calendar of decisions is synthesized to help scientists link user needs to potential forecasts and products. To ensure usability of forecasts and other research products, iterative scientist–stakeholder interactions, through integrated assessments, are recommended. These knowledge-exchange interactions can improve the capacity for stakeholders to use forecasts thoughtfully and inform the development of research, and for the research community to obtain feedback on climate-related products and receive insights to guide research direction. It is expected that integrated assessments can capitalize on the opportunities for monsoon science to inform decision making and, in the best instances, reduce regional climate vulnerabilities and enhance regional sustainability.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Andrea J. Ray, NOAA/ESRL/PSD1, 325 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80305-3328. Email: andrea.ray@noaa.gov

This article included in the North American Monsoon Experiment (NAME) special collection.

Abstract

This article presents ongoing efforts to understand interactions between the North American monsoon and society in order to develop applications for monsoon research in a highly complex, multicultural, and binational region. The North American monsoon is an annual precipitation regime that begins in early June in Mexico and progresses northward to the southwestern United States. The region includes stakeholders in large urban complexes, productive agricultural areas, and sparsely populated arid and semiarid ecosystems. The political, cultural, and socioeconomic divisions between the United States and Mexico create a broad range of sensitivities to climate variability as well as capacities to use forecasts and other information to cope with climate.

This paper highlights methodologies to link climate science with society and to analyze opportunities for monsoon science to benefit society in four sectors: natural hazards management, agriculture, public health, and water management. A list of stakeholder needs and a calendar of decisions is synthesized to help scientists link user needs to potential forecasts and products. To ensure usability of forecasts and other research products, iterative scientist–stakeholder interactions, through integrated assessments, are recommended. These knowledge-exchange interactions can improve the capacity for stakeholders to use forecasts thoughtfully and inform the development of research, and for the research community to obtain feedback on climate-related products and receive insights to guide research direction. It is expected that integrated assessments can capitalize on the opportunities for monsoon science to inform decision making and, in the best instances, reduce regional climate vulnerabilities and enhance regional sustainability.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Andrea J. Ray, NOAA/ESRL/PSD1, 325 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80305-3328. Email: andrea.ray@noaa.gov

This article included in the North American Monsoon Experiment (NAME) special collection.

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