CISA Integrating Climate Science & Decision Making in the Carolinas
Extending beyond stakeholder-driven climate research, CISA team members work to translate findings into useful, useable information for decision makers. This entails engagement with stakeholders from project development through final dissemination of findings in order that questions are answered in a way that is most relevant to the end user.
Building on the development of the Heat Health Vulnerability Tool (HHVT), CISA team members at UNC Chapel Hill and the Southeast Regional Climate Center are working with stakeholders to provide even more decision-relevant information about the connections between climate and health through the Convergence web portal. Convergence provides links to research findings, information on climate extremes in the Carolinas and the populations most vulnerable to their impacts, and also houses the HHVT. This unique collaboration integrates research and community action to empower communities in their work to improve citizens’ lives.
Climate & Health
In partnership with the SC Sea Grant Consortium, CISA funds a coastal climate extension specialist who unites the expertise of CISA research on climate science with the outreach expertise of regional Sea Grant extension programs. Sarah Watson currently holds the position and is based out of the SC Sea Grant Consortium offices in Charleston, SC.
Sarah cultivates relationships with many stakeholder groups, including coastal zone management, local municipalities, and local non-government organizations in order to bridge the gap between coastal climate science and decision making. Sarah serves as a scientific consultant for the Charleston Resilience Network, a regional working group consisting of public and private partners seeking to develop and foster a platform to share information, educate stakeholders, and enhance long-term planning decisions that result in increased regional resilience.
Sarah also works closely with climate extension specialists from other Sea Grant programs throughout the Southeast to further extend the reach of these efforts and is co-chair for the Southeast and Caribbean Climate Community of Practice.
CISA works with stakeholders and decision makers to produce tailored climate information materials customized to their specific information needs in order to make climate information useful and accessible.
• Customizing Climate Information for Regional Planners.
The Central Midlands Council of Governments (CMCOG), which covers a four county region in central South Carolina, approached CISA to request information about regional climate and impacts to water quality and supply. These regional planners are interested in facilitating conversations with CMCOG board members and elected officials about future climate conditions and impacts, especially for planning processes and decisions that have long-term implications, such as water and sewer infrastructure. CISA is using information from the Carolinas Precipitation Patterns and Probabilities Atlas and other downscaled climate projections research to develop tailored materials. A primary goal of this project is to produce tailored information and materials that the CMCOG can use to effectively communicate the most relevant aspects of climate science to those involved in regional planning.