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Adaptation to Climate Change in Mountain & Coastal Areas: A Transatlantic Dialogue II

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Session Description: 

As the impacts of climate change become more immediate, adaptation to these changes is becoming a greater area of interest and concern among resource managers, planners, and other stakeholders at all scales. However, in spite of advancements in the scientific understanding of climate change, much progress is needed in developing, translating, and disseminating usable knowledge to inform both individual and collective actions, especially at local levels of decision making. As part of this, increased emphasis has been placed on fostering sustained engagement between research communities and users of climate information. Additionally, the documentation of case studies as well as the development of networks that include researchers, practitioners, decision-makers and stakeholders has been identified as helpful mechanisms to support a growing number of communities developing climate change adaptation strategies.

In view of these challenges, the Climate Service Center based in Hamburg, Germany, and the Aspen Global Change Institute based in Aspen, Colorado, are initiating a series of dialogues between providers and users of climate information in four selected regions:
• German Baltic Sea Coast
• U.S. East Coast (Chesapeake Bay and North Carolina)
• Roaring Fork Valley including Aspen, Colorado
• European Alps

The composition of these workshops will be interdisciplinary and cross-cutting across research and practitioner communities. The participation of the following communities is anticipated:
• Decision-makers and stakeholders (i.e., elected officials, resource managers, etc.)
• Practitioners of climate adaptation and community planning (i.e. regional planners, consultants, etc.)
• Natural science research (i.e. climate modelers, hydrologists, coastal, etc.)
• Social science research (i.e. policy, law, governance, behavioral, etc.)

The diversity of institutions, cultures, political economies and biophysical and societal impacts included in these case study regions provide a unique opportunity for the cross-pollination of ideas and expansion of networks across institutional, disciplinary and national boundaries. After all, mountain and coastal communities face a number of immediate impacts of climate change from sea level rise on the shores to altered streamflow in mountain streams. The rationale of convening these regional communities therefore is to extract best practices, support the implementation of adaptation measures at regional and local levels, and promote the development, comparison and transfer of scientific and human approaches in areas where climate change is already and will continue to be a critical component of planning and resource management.

Workshop Series Goals
• To better understand the information needs of stakeholders and decision-makers for the purpose of improving climate services, modeling, and other science research on adaptation
• To develop an interface between bottom up and top down approaches to climate adaptation
• To promote sharing of ideas and lessons learned from prior experience with climate change adaptation across the Atlantic, between physical and social sciences, and between science and stakeholder/decision-maker communities.
• Synthesis of possible best practices identified from participants’ experiences that could be used by other communities on both sides of the Atlantic to grapple with climate change adaptation planning
• Enrichment and expansion of existing climate change adaptation networks on both sides of the Atlantic
• To identify barriers to regional adaptation to climate change

Anticipated products from this effort include:
• Several short publications highlighting key takeaways from this effort in both German and English that reach out to both science and user communities
• Possibly larger publication(s) on issues to be determined throughout the Workshop
• Sustained networks, e.g. transatlantic network of “sister communities” engaged on climate adaptation
• An opportunity to inform the development of climate services products at the Climate Service Center through engagement with a diverse mix of user-communities