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Introducing Adaptation Analytics: Connecting Data with Decisions

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There’s data, data, everywhere—but does it apply to me? When it comes to climate, that’s the million-dollar question. While scientists deploy sophisticated on-the-ground sensors, satellites, crowdsourcing and big data tools to gain insights on climate change and its impacts, getting relevant, local data remains a perennial puzzle for communities.

TEX’s Adaptation Analytics investigation grew out of a need, articulated by community leaders, to increase the accessibility and utility of geoscience data for adaptation decision making. Launched in 2017, the investigation has a dual aim: to explore the usefulness of different climate change information presentations as decision support tools, and to work backward from user needs to develop an applied research, development and deployment agenda in localized geosciences forecasting and risk assessment.

Our first aim is to prototype and test decision support tools with those who must manage and adapt to current and future climate change in urban and coastal settings. The tools will leverage recent advances in localized climate change scenario development, geoscience-based risk assessments and emerging sensor networks and build on existing tools that make climate data accessible and usable. By developing tools in collaboration with users from public, private and community-based sectors, we hope to foster collaborative adaptation approaches while addressing on-the-ground needs.

The nascent program is off to a great start. Scientific partners have produced a relationship model between raw data and actionable decisions that provides a template for organizing software development and promoting interoperability. In December 2017, organizers convened an informal panel of advisors at which industry, academic and civic adaptation leaders shared their expertise, identified an unmet opportunity for advancing data for adaptation and proposed next steps to take advantage of that opportunity.

In the near term, the program proposes to uncover user needs through workshops, prototypes, and focus groups; define a development pathway for leveraging emergent Earth science models and data to support those needs; and articulate a geoscience research agenda based on those user needs. We’ll be sure to keep you posted as those activities progress! In the meantime, we welcome input and collaborators; drop us a line at [email protected].

mgoodwin editor

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