CR 61:57-74 (2014)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/cr01243

Bridging the gap between end user needs and science capability: decision making under uncertainty

Anthony S. Kiem*, Danielle C. Verdon-Kidd, Emma K. Austin

Centre for Water, Climate and Land-use (CWCL), School of Environmental and Life Sciences, Faculty of Science and Information Technology, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, New South Wales 2308, Australia
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: There is a recognised gap between what climate science can currently provide and what end users of that information require to make robust adaptation decisions about their climate-related risks. This issue has been identified as a major barrier to successful climate change adaptation outcomes and is emphasised within the water resource management and agricultural sectors because of high uncertainty surrounding precipitation projections. This paper details the outcomes of a survey and workshop aimed at better understanding this gap. To bridge the gap, it is recommended that communication and packaging of climate information be improved via a formalised ‘knowledge broker’. It is also suggested that a ‘terms of reference’ for key climate change-related terms be developed and agreed upon by both climate science providers and end users to reduce the misuse of terminology and subsequent confusion. Further, it is recommended that additional research be conducted into natural variability and baseline risk to provide a realistic background on which climate change projections and associated uncertainties are assessed. Finally, for successful climate change adaptation, new tools and methods are needed that deal explicitly with end user needs and the practical limitations end users face (e.g. time, funding, human resources, politics) when attempting to make robust decisions under climate change-related uncertainty.


KEY WORDS: Climate change · Adaptation · Decision making · Communication · Knowledge broker


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Cite this article as: Kiem AS, Verdon-Kidd DC, Austin EK (2014) Bridging the gap between end user needs and science capability: decision making under uncertainty. Clim Res 61:57-74. https://doi.org/10.3354/cr01243

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