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Adaptation planners and decision-makers need sound information to base their decisions on, which is somewhat at odds with the high uncertainty about climate change. One possible reaction is resorting to "no-regrets" strategies that will reduce vulnerability for a range of different climate scenarios. However, decisions can be improved and better suited to the local situation by including sound climate information that reduces uncertainty about the consequences of change. Climate Information services cater to decision-makers by providing data which is relevant and usable for the decisions at hand.
Types of Climate Information
Climate Information can be broadly distinguished into information about climate variables such as temperature and precipitation, and socio-economic data. Climate variables, which are the physical changes due to climate change, can be taken from model projections, but uncertainty often means that deriving decisions from these models is not straight-forward. Socio-economic data, on the other hand, helps better assess the possible consequences of physical change upon people on the ground. Raw data can come from many different sources: economic, sociological, or even anthropological studies are concerned with the effects of climate change. Again, the decisions to derive from these data are not immediately clear.
For different kinds of decisions, different sources are adequate, but it is often not obvious which information is relevant. Climate information services come in to provide data in a decision-relevant way, focusing on specific sectors and specific places. This field is rather new and rapidly expanding, but these sources can be extremely valuable to decision-makers who work under limited resources and time constraints. In a 2013 overview, the GIZ has compiled a list of usable sources for climate information as well as training materials and field reports.
Knowledge Management includes several concepts and practices to handle with individual and organisational knowledge. The information is identified, created, represented and distributed. It is practiced in various fields, from the technical and economic side to political and social sciences, but it is also an important tool within business and non-profit organisations.
In times of climate change, knowledge management becomes central to reduce uncertainty. Missing knowledge and information together with insufficient awareness reduce the adaptation potential of local communities or even countries. Actual scenarios still concentrate on global trends and are quite uncertain about local developments. To sharpen local predictions and enable adequate adjustment, broad based knowledge is of great importance.
Several measures can enhance knowledge management with regard to climate change:
- Building up expertise on relevant knowledge collection as well as scenario and data interpretation
- Develop vulnerability assessments for nations and local communities
- Establish platforms for knowledge exchange and collection
- Include future trends in infrastructural and land use planning
- Integrate local knowledge in national strategies
- Create awareness on climate change and the importance of adaptation
- Technology transfer between regions with similar predictions, e.g. community of practice
- ↑ Stainforth et al. (2007): Issues in the interpretation of climate model ensembles to inform decisions. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A. 365, 2163–2177. doi:10.1098/rsta.2007.2073 http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/365/1857/2163
- ↑ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knowledge_management
GIZ (2012): Climate Change Adaptation in the Water Sector.