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ClimateWise Local Projections

Do you need help assessing future climate conditions for your community?

While climate change is a global phenomenon, the impacts are locally unique. Our team of can help you understand the likely future climate conditions specific to your community.

Geos Institute technical experts prepare local climate change projections based on the best available climate change science, presented at scales that are appropriate for local decision making. We provide maps, graphs, reports, in person presentations, and dynamic online presentations that are easy to read and understand by anyone in your community.

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Our technical experts collaborate with the nation’s leading climate modelers to bring to you the most useful and up-to-date information for your region. We have the knowledge and relationships to navigate complex model output and data availability that is always changing. This allows you to focus on resilience strategies rather than having to learn to navigate the field of climate science.

The Geos Institute has recently updated its approach to providing local climate projections. Please visit our page on Climate Projections on the Climate Ready Communities site for more information.

Climate Change Adaptation Resources

ClimateWise Enews April 2015

 

 

Geos Institute

ClimateWise Enews April 2015

 

In this issue:
  • Why You Should Be at the National Adaptation Forum
  • Whole Community Adaptation: Testing the Concept
  • Whole Community Adaptation in the Real World: A Framework for Creating Lasting Solutions
  • Talking about Climate Change
  • First, Do No Harm: Recognizing and Preventing Maladaptation

 
 

Whole Community Adaptation: Testing the Concept

Please help us by filling out our survey!

As climate change continues to unfold, we are seeing it touch and alter every part of our communities. As decision makers respond, they need to be aware of how others are impacted and how they are also responding. Without cross-sector coordination, our experience tells us that actions in one sector are likely to exacerbate climate change impacts to other sectors, simply shifting the risk instead of increasing overall resilience.

At the Geos Institute, we have developed an approach to climate change preparedness called “Whole Community Adaptation.” This approach involves working across sectors to foster a more holistic understanding of the variety of impacts across a community.

We think it works better than single sector planning, which focuses specifically on one particular issue (water, transportation, health impacts, etc.), but have not yet tested that premise from a research standpoint. That is, until now.

In order to test whether Whole Community Adaptation works better than single sector planning in creating community resilience, we have initiated a comparative research project. We are looking at whether the types of adaptation strategies developed in cross-sector planning adaptation planning processes differ from those developed using traditional single-sector adaptation planning processes.

To move this research along, our ClimateWise team is reviewing adaptation plans from both cross-sector and single sector planning processes.

Some of the questions we hope to answer include:

  • Are adaptation strategies developed in cross-sector planning processes more or less likely to result in conflict or maladaptation?
  • Are adaptation strategies developed in cross-sector planning processes more or less likely to result in co-benefits to other resources and populations?
  • Are adaptation strategies developed in cross-sector planning processes more or less likely to increase greenhouse gas emissions?
  • What types of planning frameworks have been used to develop cross-sector adaptation strategies?

If you have been involved in a planning process that incorporated climate change, please fill out our 10-question survey on the process and the types of strategies that were developed.

If you are familiar with an adaptation plan or strategy development process that you think we should include in our review, please contact Dr. Marni Koopman. Remember, we need both single sector and multi-sector plans for our study.

Sharing our experiences and learning at this time is incredibly important for the development of best practices for building climate change resilience in our communities. Thank you!

 

 
 

Talking about Climate Change

Climate change is an awkward subject to talk about. In some circles, bringing up the topic can lead to an acute case of silence (cue crickets). But we need to be talking about it in all circles and especially in decision-making capacities. One of the leading organizations on climate change communication is Climate Access.

We recently listened in on a Climate Access webinar on how to talk about climate change during extreme cold and snow events. They suggested communicating the links between climate change and changes in the jet stream or polar vortex destabilization to show how larger storms are one of the many outcomes of accelerating climate change.

Climate Access has also released a new report that provides guidance for local leaders in how to move people to action with solutions-based messaging. In preparing the report, they investigated American attitudes, experiences, and terminology preferences.
 
Some important findings:

  • “Preparedness” and “readiness” are preferred terms over “adaptation” and “resilience”
  • 74% of survey respondents support taking precautionary actions now rather than waiting to respond to worsening climate change impacts
  • Extreme events present an opportunity for communication and outreach to help build awareness that climate change is affecting us now
  • Effective communications focus on local and current climate impacts and what can be done to prepare for additional impacts instead of waiting until it is too costly or too late to act
  • Conversations about the science create polarization while conversations about the solutions bridge the political divide
  • It is important to link to core American values like preparedness, ingenuity, and leadership to action on climate change
  • Storytelling is a powerful technique for framing the issue
  • Mitigation can be framed as a “preparedness” strategy – the most important way to reduce risk.

Why You Should Be at the National Adaptation Forum, May 12-14

 

NAF logoTwo months from now, hundreds of climate change adaptation practitioners and service providers will descend on St. Louis, Missouri to share, learn, and be inspired at the 2nd National Adaptation Forum.

 

The first forum, held in Denver in 2013, attracted over 500 people representing 44 states. The 2015 Forum expects to welcome an even larger crowd – a testament to the speed with which the nascent field of climate change adaptation is growing.

 

As a Forum sponsor, the ClimateWise® team will have an exhibit in the tradeshow and will organize two sessions – a working group that will take on the topic of maladaptation and a three hour training in the ClimateWise planning framework for local leaders.

 

 
 

 

Whole Community Adaptation in the Real World: A Framework for Creating Lasting Solutions

 

In this interactive training, participants will learn how to get started with adaptation, identify community vulnerabilities, integrate across diverse sectors, and make sure that implementation happens. Climate change is complex and an integrated, whole community approach is vital to long-term success.

 

Our team has carried out ClimateWise adaptation processes in several states and will share lessons learned and tools to make local efforts more successful. This training involves short presentations by experienced adaptation practitioners, group and breakout discussions, and role playing – participants might get to be a public health official, fisheries biologist, fire chief, or public works director!

 

This fun and informative training is appropriate for anyone who wants to help their community create solutions that work across sectors, make the best use of their resources, and reduce community conflict.

 

 
 

 

First, Do No Harm: Recognizing and Preventing Maladaptation

 

“Maladaptation” is a mouthful, but the topic is an important one for us to take up now that adaptation actions are being implemented and we are beginning to see some of the unintended consequences.

 

Maladaptation occurs when adaptation strategies have negative consequences, sometimes outweighing any benefit, especially over longer time frames. Maladaptive actions are those that: 

  • increase emissions of greenhouse gases,
  • disproportionately burden the most vulnerable,
  • have high opportunity costs,
  • reduce the incentive to adapt, or
  • create path dependencies that limit future generations (Barnett and O’Neill 2010).

Maladaptation can arise as a surprise when new and innovative approaches are tried, as a predictable “trade-off” to make gains in another area, or even due to mainstreaming, which relies on tools or frameworks that are already in place.

 

Working group participants will help to refine the definition of maladaptation, identify common examples of maladaptation, discuss how time frame and trade-offs play a role, investigate whether mainstreaming contributes to the problem, and identify planning frameworks that can be used to minimize the likelihood of maladaptation.

Whole Community Adaptation: Testing the Concept

As climate change continues to unfold, we are seeing it touch and alter every part of our communities. As decision makers respond, they need to be aware of how others are impacted and how they are also responding. Without cross-sector coordination, our experience tells us that actions in one sector are likely to exacerbate climate change impacts to other sectors, simply shifting the risk instead of increasing overall resilience.

Continue reading

ClimateAccess the preparation frame

Talking About Climate Change

ClimateAccess the preparation frameClimate change is an awkward subject to talk about. In some circles, bringing up the topic can lead to an acute case of silence (cue crickets). But we need to be talking about it in all circles and especially in decision-making capacities. One of the leading organizations on climate change communication is Climate Access.

We recently listened in on a Climate Access webinar on how to talk about climate change during extreme cold and snow events. They suggested communicating the links between climate change and changes in the jet stream or polar vortex destabilization to show how larger storms are one of the many outcomes of accelerating climate change.

Continue reading

ClimateWise Enews January 2015

 

Geos Institute

ClimateWise Enews January 2015

 

In this issue:
  • Hot Enough Yet? The Future of Extreme Weather in Central Texas
  • Summary of Past and Future Climate Extremes in Austin, Texas
  • ClimateWise in Alaska
  • President’s Taskforce on Climate Preparedness and Resilience
 

 
 

Hot Enough Yet? The Future of Extreme Weather in Central Texas

 

Austin and Killeen, Texas have experienced many temperature and precipitation extremes in the last decade. As climate change accelerates, residents can expect more days of extreme heat, fewer overnight freezes, and more frequent periods of drought than there have been historically.

Many of the long-term impacts can be avoided if emissions are reduced, creating a more positive future for residents of Central Texas. A Nurtured World, Geos Institute, and the cities of Austin and Killeen collaborated to assess recent past and future changes in extreme heat, low temperatures, extended drought, and wildfire.

Most people experience climate through the extremes. Crops are affected when temperatures drop below freezing, and we stay indoors when the day’s high is over 100° F. We worked with city decision makers to determine the most meaningful thresholds to assess.

The next step will occur in the spring, when we will hold workshops on climate change with local community leaders.

The ClimateWise team developed a dynamic, online presentation to make the information in the final report more accessible for busy residents and public officials. For the full report, please click here.

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President’s Taskforce on Climate Preparedness and Resilience

 

 

The President’s Taskforce on Climate Preparedness and Resilience was set up to develop guidance on how the federal government can best support local communities in the face of climate change. The Taskforce was composed of 26 governors, mayors, county officials, and tribal leaders from around the nation. The Taskforce met from Nov. 2013-July 2014 and released their final report in Nov. 2014.

Recognizing that climate change will affect virtually all aspects of the nation’s future, the Taskforce focused on opportunities to build climate preparedness and resilience in key domains, including disaster recovery, infrastructure investment, natural resource management, human health, community development, and agriculture.
 

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Members of the President’s Taskforce on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, at the White House in 2014.

 

Some notable recommendations include:

  • Increase infrastructure resilience through use of green and natural infrastructure;
  • Provide incentives for the development of clean energy distribution and storage;
  • Identify the most vulnerable populations to climate change impacts for federal support;
  • Develop climate-sensitive health tracking and surveillance tools;
  • Remove federal barriers to disaster planning that considers climate change risk;
  • Increase partnerships and collaboration in disaster planning and recovery efforts;
  • Assist communities in building food security; and
  • Increase natural systems resilience through improved natural systems management, watershed protection, and investments in conservation.

“In my time as Mayor, Des Moines has experienced an unprecedented number of 100 and 500 year flood events. Our responsibility as a City is to ensure the safety of all our citizens and their property. Sometimes that process requires strategic buyouts of properties that fall within the floodplain. For this to work effectively, local, state, and federal partners must work closely together and interagency coordination must be a priority in order to avoid conflicting direction from multiple authorities that negatively impact residents.”
– Mayor Frank Cownie, Des Moines, Iowa

Support ClimateWise

 

ClimateWise is working to bring technical and planning support to the communities that are on the front lines of climate change. We see increasing need for this work, at a time when other funding sources are declining. Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to our work for 2015.

 

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Summary of Past and Future Climate Extremes in Austin, Texas

  • The region has warmed by 2°F since the early 1900s.
  • Frost free season is 10 days longer, on average, than the early 1900s.
  • Extreme precipitation has become heavier and more frequent.
  • Wildfire frequency and length of season have increased in Texas.
  • Continued warming of 6-11°F by 2100 is expected if emissions remain high.
  • With severe emissions reductions, warming could level off at 3-7°F by mid-century.
  • Overnight temperatures over 80°F could become common.
  • Days over 100°F expected to become 2-5 times more common by mid-century.
  • More year-to-year variation in precipitation is expected.
  • Soils are expected to become drier from heat and evaporation, even if precipitation increases.
  • Many of the most severe impacts can be avoided by reducing emissions globally.

 
 

ClimateWise in Alaska

 

On January 2, the Los Angeles Times reported that temperatures in Anchorage, Alaska did not drop below zero degrees Fahrenheit at any time in 2014. And, data from the National Weather Service shows that 2014 was the warmest year in the city since 1926. In an average year, Anchorage residents experience 29 days with temperatures that dip below zero, so this is a significant change from a typical Alaskan winter.

You do not need to tell Alaskans that the climate is changing. From the coastal villages to the larger cities, Alaskans are grappling with changes to their food, infrastructure, and livelihoods. For example, for the first time ever, febrile seizures caused by overheating were reported in infants living in native villages last summer.
 
The ClimateWise team has been working with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium for the past several years to determine how best to assist Alaskan communities as they address the impacts of changing climate conditions. Recently, our Executive Director, Tonya Graham, was invited to speak as part of a climate change track at the Alaska Tribal Conference on Environmental Management. The Conference brings together tribes, nonprofits, and government agencies for a week of break-out sessions, presentations, and trainings – all with the goal of finding solutions for concerns facing Alaskan communities.

According to Tonya, “In each of my trips to Alaska, I have heard many powerful, painful stories of loss related to climate change – particularly among Alaska’s native people. The impacts are accelerating rapidly and more communities and families are in real danger because of it. We are hopeful that ClimateWise can offer real help to the communities that need it.”

We are working with a variety of agencies, individuals, and funding organizations to put a program on the ground in Alaska by the end of 2015.
 
The powerpoint for Tonya’s presentation can be found here: 

​ 

austin lake travis boat

Hot Enough Yet?

austin lake travis boatThe Future of Extreme Weather in Central Texas

Austin and Killeen, Texas have experienced many temperature and precipitation extremes in the last decade. As climate change accelerates, residents can expect more days of extreme heat, fewer overnight freezes, and more frequent periods of drought than there have been historically.

Continue reading

presidential taskforce on climate preparedness and resilience

The President’s Taskforce on Climate Preparedness and Resilience

The President’s Taskforce on Climate Preparedness and Resilience was set up to develop guidance on how the federal government can best support local communities in the face of climate change. The Taskforce was composed of 26 governors, mayors, county officials, and tribal leaders from around the nation. The Taskforce met from Nov. 2013-July 2014 and released their final report in Nov. 2014.

Continue reading

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