Towards useable and living climate assessments: integrating across approaches in data sharing, visualization, provenance and online delivery

18:00 Tuesday 28 May




Fred Lipschultz (United States of America) 1

1 - US Global Change Research Program

Over the past several years, the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) has been actively evolving its communication, data-sharing, and decision support strategies by moving from producing informative but static reports towards developing more usable, living resources for its stakeholders. Reports are now largely designed for online delivery, enhancing readers’ access to information and underlying data. In addition to smaller, more targeted assessment efforts, USGCRP produces the National Climate Assessment (NCA) – a capstone national-scale assessment on a 4-year cycle that covers climate science, impacts of a changing climate, and adaptation actions relevant to the United States. This cycle strongly emphasized a risk-based framing to identify societal risks associated with climate change via an increased emphasis on characterizing and communicating the likelihood and extent of climate change-related impacts, and on addressing questions that are most relevant to the specific needs and objectives of decision makers. One component of this framing was the development of a tail-risk storyline that captured the higher values of sea-level rise, temperature and precipitation variables. Chapters were structured around a limited set of ‘key messages’ as the central gateway into the report content, and online access permits easy amplification of these messages on social media.

Several approaches were deployed to ensure consistency, provenance, and access to additional relevant content beyond the report. For instance, USGCRP has developed a Global Change Information System to enable the reader to explore the datasets, methods, and authors for each graphical element in every figure. To enhance the user’s search experience, NASA’s Global Change Master Directory keywords, a hierarchical set of controlled Earth Science vocabularies, were attached to every figure, key message, and table in the report. Finally, where appropriate, report elements such as maps, graphs, case studies, and chapters are linked to the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit, which is a federal government website designed to help people find and use tools, information, and subject matter expertise to build climate resilience. This linkage greatly extends the report’s utility by permitting exploration and customization of the static maps or concepts within NCA to locally relevant information for taking action to build climate resilience. These approaches will be illustrated using the most recent NCA report.