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'The Practitioner's Dilemma': A joint workshop & public lecture Wednesday!

As part of a workshop SCAN and the Aspen Global Change Institute are co-hosting this week, there will be a fantastic public lecture on Wednesday (18th) evening - please register below and join us for free at 8pm ET!

The workshop, on Tuesday November 17th through Thursday 19th, is building off a paper written by Joe Barsugli in 2013 that started to articulate the challenge that practitioners (then, often called 'users') face when they decide to include climate change in their decisions and actions. This workshop is designed to bring together practitioners (people who apply climate information in order to make decisions and implement action) with climate information providers to make further progress on how to evaluate climate information for particular uses.

In recent years, there has been a proliferation of technical methods for translating climate model (General Circulation Model or GCM) information from coarser- to finer-scale resolution. But high resolution does not guarantee that local-scale or regional-scale climate features are accurately represented, nor does it necessarily provide the most useful scale or types of information for application in particular decision contexts.

So the questions we are driving towards in this workshop include:

  • How can practitioners choose the information that is most suitable for their particular needs?

  • Does the information characterize or acknowledge legitimate scientific uncertainty?

  • Is some information of higher or lower credibility for a given application?

To evaluate information based on these questions (in other words, evaluating information in the practitioner context) presents substantial scientific and technical challenges, but it's critical if we are to accelerate and learn from what works and what doesn't 'on the ground', for real applications. In addition, working to establish consensus on different methods also presents institutional challenges – e.g. there are needs for coordination and synthesis to establish leading practices, translation, and dissemination to get results to practitioners so it can usefully guide their choices.

A key goal of SCAN from the beginning is to make progress on these issues and to bring evaluation of applications into the sustained assessment process, leveraging insights from practitioners, climate information intermediaries, and climate scientists. We’re excited this effort is under way!

There will be more here soon summarizing the workshop and follow-up activities!

Meanwhile, please join us for the public portion of the workshop - part of the Walter Orr Roberts Memorial Lecture Series. Dr. Rebecca Smith of the Bureau of Reclamation will be talking about the decision-making challenges of managing the Colorado River Basin. Register for free here. And after the 20-30 minute talk, please stay for a networking reception and Q&A.

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