Informing Emergency and Risk Management Climate Knowledge in Arid Regions

Project: Research project

Description

Abstract Problem and Goals: Urban decision makers in Arizonas growing megapolitan area and the Southwestern United States as a whole are faced with myriad challenges related to prolonged drought and extreme heat events, extreme monsoon rain events, and other potential climate extremes. Of particular concern are the direct impacts on water resources, wildfire management, flash flood and erosion management, the health implications of these events, and other societal impacts such as those on agriculture, energy production and manufacturing. The overall goals of this project are 1) to understand how local and regional emergency management (EM) communities function so that climate science knowledge can be effectively infused into their risk management decision processes, and 2) develop a framework for identifying products and services that can deliver needed knowledge about climate extremes threats and impacts, and resulting risk in order to prioritize mitigation and adaptation efforts. Rationale: The nature of climate understanding and how it needs to be infused into the EM community to effectively handle risk management, mitigation and adaptation implementations must be determined first before new products or services of climate information can be determined. The ASU research team is uniquely positioned to reach out to the EM community, state and local entities, and climate experts to help NOAA understand the complexity and critical knowledge needs of this community. This will, in turn, enable NOAA to not only develop new products and services, but also to evaluate the effectiveness of current products and services. Summary of Work: This project will focus on developing a usable framework that connects climate science with potential local and regional risk managers in emergency management. Within this framework, we will identify critical knowledge needed to coordinate and prioritize preparation, mitigation and adaptation efforts across a range of extremes such as prolonged drought and extreme heat events. A key of our approach is to allow the community of decision makers to lead us to what they need to understand within their decision processes and work backwards to how that knowledge can be effectively provided. We will use a proven engagement model that includes 1) using focus groups, surveys, and interviews to establish a baseline for understanding the EM communitys communication network, decision making priorities, and socio-economic influences, 2) defining current practices and characterizing risk and uncertainty, 3) comparing the EM communities needs with the products and services offered by NOAA, and 4) analyzing the gaps and identifying possible solutions within the context of climate extremes. Relevance to NOAA Goals: This proposal 1) provides a climate focus for local multi-hazard planning to reduce climatic impacts; 2) brings together EM stakeholders to better understand their temporal, spatial and jurisdictional scales for planning and decision making as well as their climate science needs; 3) identifies the co-benefits of preparing, mitigating and adapting to extreme climatic events; 4) promotes partnerships between the climate science and decisionmaking communities; and 5) enables decision makers to better understand their vulnerabilities to a changing climate and plan adaptation and mitigation strategies. Finally, it falls within SARPs Extreme Events portfolio, which assesses vulnerability for planning and adapting to extreme hydrologic events in urban areas, and the new Regional Decision Support (RDS) effort to accelerate the Program's interaction with users of climate information.

Description

Problem and Objective: Urban decision makers in Arizonas growing megapolitan area and the Southwestern United States as a whole are faced with myriad challenges related to prolonged drought and extreme heat events, increasingly common incidences of climate outcomes. Of particular concern are the direct impacts on water resources, systems and delivery and the health implications of these events and impacts. The overall objective of this project is to understand and inform the communications network(s) that local and regional emergency management decision makers use to identify and prioritize mitigation and adaptation efforts for climate-related prolonged drought and extreme heat events in the Southwestern United States.

Rationale: Understanding the network(s) and decision making processes; identifying gaps in both the network(s) and the climate knowledge; and developing possible solution scenarios for overcoming those gaps will enable local and regional resource managers, city and emergency planners and public health officials to efficiently plan for, mitigate and adapt to extreme events. It will also provide local, state and federal agencies and researchers a better understanding of the processes, data and infrastructure that decision-makers use and need in addressing extreme climatic events.

Summary of Work: The research team will engage local and regional resource managers, city and emergency planners, public health officials and other stakeholders in a series of focus groups, face-to-face interviews and electronic surveys to understand what hazards stakeholders are dealing with; what the climatic situation is, how it is changing, and what this means for the emergency management community; how the research community can communicate climate science and definitions, not just the data, within the context of stakeholders decision-making processes; and what tools or infrastructure stakeholders need to access climate science information and manage risk. This project uses an already tested four-step method of engaging decision makers in the emergency management community. Steps include 1) convening focus groups to establish a baseline for understanding the emergency management communitys communication network, decision making priorities, and socio-economic influences, 2) defining current practices and characterizing risk and uncertainty, 3) developing scenarios and verifying the information, and 4) validating and evaluating the information.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date8/1/147/31/16

Funding

  • DOC: National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA): $98,443.00

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arid region
climate
stakeholder
mitigation
communication network
decision making
extreme event
drought
risk management
public health
vulnerability
water resource
infrastructure
hazard
decision
flash flood
resource
wildfire