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Maria Carmen Lemos, Christine J. Kirchhoff, Scott E. Kalafatis, Donald Scavia, and Richard B. Rood

Abstract

While research focusing on how boundary organizations influence the use of climate information has expanded substantially in the past few decades, there has been relatively less attention to how these organizations innovate and adapt to different environments and users. This paper investigates how one boundary organization, the Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments Center (GLISA), has adapted by creating “boundary chains” to diversify its client base while minimizing transaction costs, increasing scientific knowledge usability, and better meeting client climate information needs. In this approach, boundary organizations connect like links in a chain and together these links span the range between the production of knowledge and its use. Three main chain configurations are identified. In the key chain approach, GLISA has partnered with other organizations in a number of separate projects simultaneously, diversifying its client base without sacrificing customization. In the linked chain approach, GLISA is one of several linked boundary organizations that successively deepen the level of customization to meet particular users’ needs. Finally, by partnering with multiple organizations and stakeholder groups in both configurations, GLISA may be laying the groundwork for enhancing their partners’ own capacity to make climate-related decisions through a networked chain approach that facilitates cooperation among organizations and groups. Each of these approaches represents an adaptive strategy that both enhances the efficiency and effectiveness of participating boundary organizations’ work and improves the provision of climate information that meets users’ needs.

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Maria Carmen Lemos, Kimberly S. Wolske, Laura V. Rasmussen, James C. Arnott, Margaret Kalcic, and Christine J. Kirchhoff

Abstract

Scholarship on climate information use has focused significantly on engagement with practitioners as a means to enhance knowledge use. In principle, working with practitioners to incorporate their knowledge and priorities into the research process should improve information uptake by enhancing accessibility and improving users’ perceptions of how well information meets their decision needs, including knowledge credibility, understandability, and fit. Such interactive approaches, however, can entail high costs for participants, especially in terms of financial, human, and time resources. Given the likely need to scale up engagement as demand for climate information increases, it is important to examine whether and to what extent personal interaction is always a necessary condition for increasing information use. In this article, we report the results from two experimental studies using students as subjects to assess how three types of interaction (in-person meeting, live webinar, and self-guided instruction) affect different aspects of climate information usability. Our findings show that while in-person interaction is effective in enhancing understanding of climate knowledge, in-person interaction may not always be necessary, depending on the kinds of information involved and outcomes desired.

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Guiling Wang, Christine J. Kirchhoff, Anji Seth, John T. Abatzoglou, Ben Livneh, David W. Pierce, Lori Fomenko, and Tengyu Ding

Abstract

This study compares projected changes of precipitation characteristics in the U.S. Northeast in two analog-based climate downscaling products, Multivariate Adaptive Constructed Analogs (MACA) and Localized Constructed Analogs (LOCA). The level of similarity or differences between the two products varies with the type of precipitation metrics. For the total precipitation amount, the two products project significant annual increases that are similar in magnitude, spatial pattern, and seasonal distribution, with the largest increases in winter and spring. For the overall precipitation intensity or temporal aggregation of heavy precipitation (e.g., number of days with more than one inch of precipitation, the simple intensity index, and the fraction of annual precipitation accounted for by heavy events), both products project significant increases across the region with strong model consensus; the magnitude of absolute increases are similar between the two products, but the relative increases are larger in LOCA due to an underestimation of heavy precipitation in LOCA’s training data. For precipitation extremes such as the annual maximum 1-day precipitation, both products project significant increases in the long-term mean, but the magnitude of both the absolute and relative changes are much smaller in LOCA than in MACA, indicating that the extreme precipitation differences in the training data are amplified in future projections as a result of the analog-based downscaling algorithms. The two products differ the most in the intensity and frequency of rare extremes (e.g., 1-in-20-years events) for which MACA projects significant increases while the LOCA-projected changes are inconclusive over much of the study area.

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Christine J. Kirchhoff, Joseph J. Barsugli, Gillian L. Galford, Ambarish V. Karmalkar, Kelly Lombardo, Scott R. Stephenson, Mathew Barlow, Anji Seth, Guiling Wang, and Austin Frank

Abstract

Global and national climate assessments are comprehensive, authoritative sources of information about observed and projected climate changes and their impacts on society. These assessments follow well-known, accepted procedures to create credible, legitimate, salient sources of information for policy- and decision-making, build capacity for action, and educate the public. While there is a great deal of research on assessments at global and national scales, there is little research or guidance for assessment at the U.S. state scale. To address the need for guidance for state climate assessments (SCAs), the authors combined insights from the literature, firsthand experience with four SCAs, and interviews with individuals involved in 10 other SCAs to identify challenges, draw lessons, and point out future research needs to guide SCAs. SCAs are challenged by sparseness of literature and data, insufficient support for ongoing assessment, short time lines, limited funding, and surprisingly, little deliberate effort to address legitimacy as a concern. Lessons learned suggest SCAs should consider credibility, legitimacy, and salience as core criteria; happen at regular intervals; identify assessment scope, resource allocation, and trade-offs between generation of new knowledge, engagement, and communication up front; and leverage boundary organizations. Future research should build on ongoing efforts to advance assessments, examine the effectiveness of different SCA approaches, and seek to inform both broad and specific guidance for SCAs.

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Shannon M. McNeeley, Sarah A. Tessendorf, Heather Lazrus, Tanya Heikkila, Ian M. Ferguson, Jennifer S. Arrigo, Shahzeen Z. Attari, Christina M. Cianfrani, Lisa Dilling, Jason J. Gurdak, Stephanie K. Kampf, Derek Kauneckis, Christine J. Kirchhoff, Juneseok Lee, Benjamin R. Lintner, Kelly M. Mahoney, Sarah Opitz-Stapleton, Pallav Ray, Andy B. South, Andrew P. Stubblefield, and Julie Brugger
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