Briley, L., D. Brown, S.E. Kalafatis


Briley, L., D. Brown, S.E. Kalafatis, 2015. Overcoming barriers during the co-production of climate information for decision-making, Climate Risk Management, doi:


The Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments program (GLISA) has led the co-development of usable climate information for decision-making in several case study projects. Although each case study is with a unique partnering organization made up of different stakeholders with varying information needs and capabilities, several patterns have emerged that GLISA has identified and overcome to advance the practice of applied climate information. There are three main barriers that GLISA encounters at the onset of many of the case studies: 1) mismatched terminology used by scientists and stakeholders to describe the types of information that are available and needed for problem solving (translation); 2) unrealistic expectations regarding the development of climate information products for problem solving; and 3) disordered integration of when stakeholders want to bring climate information into decision-making processes. Although some or all of these barriers are likely to exist at the onset of any new climate information partnership, GLISA has developed methods for overcoming them more quickly so that the process of co-developing usable climate information is more efficient and effective.

In this paper we describe in detail GLISA's experiences that haveled to the realization of these barriers and the steps GLISA has taken to overcome them. We also relate these barriers to literature on the “usability gap” between climate science and information use in decision-making as well as uncertainty cascades in climate change adaptation. These experiences demonstrate that climate scientists performing outreach experience similar struggles as the stakeholders they interact with. However, they also reveal potential for other climate-centered boundary organizations to cultivate their own capacities to overcome these challenges in their partnerships.