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Media Spotlight: Scaling Climate Change Adaptation in the Northern Great Plains through Regional Climate Summaries and Local Qualitative-Quantitative Scenario Planning Workshops

The North Central Climate Science Center is excited to announce the five solicited projects recommended for funding in 2015. These projects will guide the research of the NC CSC into the future, ensuring that we build on our foundational science areas and drive research that has direct management implications. For our final media spotlight, we will look at a project led by Amy Symstad of the Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center entitled “Scaling Climate Change Adaptation in the Northern Great Plains through Regional Climate Summaries and Local Qualitative-Quantitative Scenario Planning Workshops.

Resource management in a changing climate faces many challenges because of an uncertain future. To help managers plan for what is to come, research scientists often develop a number of “scenarios” that reflect possible climatic conditions. However, because potential future scenarios are complex and diverse, managers may be overwhelmed by projections. Moreover, climate drivers such as changing temperature and precipitation only present one side of a many-sided issue, and how and where impacts occur, as well as what social and physical capacity exists for adaptation and mitigation of impacts is also important.

This research project addresses all of these dimensions by combining climate projections, scenario planning workshops, and simulation modeling together in an iterative, participatory process. The work will focus on two specific areas within the north central region: Badlands National Park vicinity (southwest South Dakota) and Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site (central North Dakota). By scaling multi-dimensional climate issues to these two regions and creating three to five future scenarios, researchers hope to establish a streamlined method for building regional climate summaries and applying them directly to local scenario planning initiatives. The process involved in modeling projections, discussing options, and running simulation models helps empower stakeholders to address climate change adaptation locally and to plan for an uncertain future. In addition, this research team hopes to develop a model for climate adaptation planning that can extend beyond the northern Great Plains to inform management elsewhere in the north central region.

For more information on this and other solicited projects supported by the NC CSC, click here