Researchers investigate the needs of information about natural disasters for climate change adaptation

Our knowledge is steadily growing about the climate that we can anticipate and the increased risk of heat waves, cloudbursts, floods and temporary sea level changes in the event of powerful storms. Now researchers shall improve knowledge concerning the information that early climate change adopters require to be able to make decisions. This, in its turn, shall stimulate more effective decision-making about climate adaptation.

To mitigate the consequences of more extreme climatic events active climate adaptation work is necessary. At present, there is a great deal of research into natural disasters and climate changes. Nevertheless, relatively few decisions concerning adaptation to these change processes have been taken so as to meet and mitigate the serious consequences.

­“We wish to stimulate the process of adapting to climate change through analysing the information that different stakeholders require to make decisions. At the same time, information on the impact of climate change can be improved where it is directed at the specific needs of users,” says Chantal Donnelly, hydrological researcher at SMHI (Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute).

Focus on needs of early adopters of climate change

The project includes both a social science and a natural science perspective. The researchers shall study which information the different stakeholders require; they shall produce customised decision-making data and then investigate how the information is used. In the project’s second phase they shall also investigate how stakeholders handle updated information on climate changes, all of which may affect the decisions that are taken.

“We must work from a ground-up perspective, whereby we adapt the climate information for specific purposes, on the basis of the information needs of the different stakeholders,” explains Chantal Donnelly.

Collaboration offers new knowledge

In the project, the researchers from SMHI and SEI, Stockholm Environment Institute, will work together with public and private stakeholders.

Towards the end of the project, the researchers will also turn to consultants within climate adaptation to ensure that the information in the research project is usable for this group also.

It is the role of the Swedish National Knowledge Centre for Climate Change Adaptation at SMHI to disseminate information on the project results to interested parties that work with climate change adaptation.

The project is funded by the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, MSB. The project starts in the autumn of 2015 and runs until 2020.