2014-11-05

A Guidebook on Climate Scenarios: Using Climate Information to Guide Adaptation Research and Decisions

Charron I. A Guidebook on Climate Scenarios: Using Climate Information to Guide Adaptation Research and Decisions. Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Ouranos; 2014 p. 86.
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Report

Climate change is unequivocal. There is ample evidence from around the globe that changes have already occurred. This reality is forcing decision-makers to evaluate the potential impacts, risks, vulnerabilities and opportunities that climate change presents. The development of adaptation plans and actions to adjust to this new reality requires decision-makers to increase their understanding of available climate information. The rapid advances in climate science and evolving understanding of the potential risks and opportunities arising from climate change impacts will require decision-makers to engage in more proactive and iterative management.

This guide is a tool for decision-makers to familiarize themselves with future climate information. It is aimed at all actors involved in climate change adaptation, from those in the early stages of climate change awareness to those involved in implementing adaptation measures. The guide consists of three main sections. The first categorizes climate information based on its use and on its level of complexity. The second section presents a catalogue of different ways in which climate information can be presented to decision-makers, such as planners, engineers, resource managers, and government. Finally, a third section outlines key climate modeling concepts that support a good understanding of climate information in general.

This document is not detailed enough to inform users on how to prepare different types of climate information, nor is it intended as a critical analysis of how the information is produced. Rather, it highlights the importance of working in collaboration with climate service providers to obtain climate information. The guide allows users to engage more easily with climate service providers and to become more critical of the information that is provided to them. It should be recognised that, at this point in time, the number of climate service providers is low relative to the demand for climate information.

Using this guide will allow decision-makers to become more familiar with climate information products and hence better evaluate what climate information best suits their needs. Key important messages emerging from the guide include:

  • Climate information at different levels of complexity can be valuable, depending on the type of decision being made. More detailed information is not always necessary to inform better decisions
  • Climate information can be tailored into formats that best match the level of expertise of the decision-makers;
  • Decisions should be based on a range of plausible futures; a single best climate scenario does not exist;
  • It is important to understand the limitations of the climate information used.

Tools for Landscape-Level Assessment and Planning: A Guide for the North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative

Crist P, Maybury K, Carr S, Hak J. Tools for Landscape-Level Assessment and Planning: A Guide for the North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative. Arlington, VA: NatureServe; 2014. Available from: http://www.natureserve.org/biodiversity-science/publications/tools-landscape-level-assessment-and-planning
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Report

The heart of this Guide is the Matrix of 100 tools, divided into user categories (general public, resource manager, and technical expert) and subject areas. So whether you are a community planner who wants to see the potential cost/benefits of building a sea wall or a forest scientist who wants to work on species connectivity for many species simultaneously, you can quickly look up which tools might be appropriate for you.

All 100 tools are described in detail following the Matrix.

Things to note:

  • We use a broad definition of tools, including anything that facilitated: 1) gathering and distributing relevant data (e.g. regional databases that support queries and downloads); 2) conducting analyses and modeling (e.g. vulnerability assessments); 3) visualizing data and analysis/modeling results (including current and potential future conditions); and, 4) integrating information into planning for conservation, land use, and land management.
  • We place an emphasis on tools currently in use within the region.
  • We do not include products that were simply guidelines, frameworks, or processes (but the Appendix does include some that seemed especially useful; for example, see TESSA).
  • We mostly avoid tools that were geared to one state or province and those that could not be readily utilized throughout the region.
  • We do not include tools that are more accurately described as services—in other words, those that required extensive and expensive—personalized set-up or customization.
  • We avoid tools that were no longer maintained as well as most tools still under development. Because tools often become obsolete and new ones frequently emerge, this guide should be updated periodically.

The Background section of this guide lists the Necessary and Desired Attributes of the tools included in the Matrix.

We have selected 11 tools from the Matrix that we describe as a “toolkit” that can support many of the NPLCC’s needs. Each of these tools also had widespread interest among NPLCC partners and/or applicability to multiple functions in the Matrix. This guide takes an in-depth look at these 11 Featured Tools, covering  what they do best, how they work, their data requirements, key outputs, computer and software requirements, training requirements, and costs. A “snapshot” of each featured tool gives a brief description, examples of use, and an “at-a-glance” table that shows the tools in a matrix format.

We chose four tools to explore further via Case Studies. These are here to provide a more nuanced look at how tools have actually been applied, especially where the application experience yielded important Lessons Learned and Helpful Hints. The case studies from the region will also promote national and international awareness of NPLCC work on landscape-level conservation in the face of climate change.

Finally, the Appendix lists other potentially useful resources that did not qualify as one of our “Matrix tools” but that may assist you with your work—for example, by helping you use the tools more effectively.

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