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Adaptation Guidance and Climate Service Providers

This guide focuses on online climate change information, which is important, but only part of what is needed to inform a process (e.g., scoping, assessing, planning, implementation) that can lead to better preparedness and adaptation for climate vulnerabilities and risk. There are an ever-increasing number of resources to help support implementation. Unlike the portals, we have not mapped out this supporting implementation space, but feel this guide would be incomplete without highlighting some examples of online guidance resources and tips on finding people who might help you navigate this ever-changing landscape. 

Online guidance on climate adaptation and preparedness

At the community level, climate change information is typically used to inform planning processes for climate adaptation, preparedness, resilience, and/or action. Many websites and resources outline locally relevant climate adaptation approaches. While these resources do not themselves provide climate change information, they can be highly valuable in helping frame the questions for which climate change portals can provide answers.

There are many websites and resources that outline locally relevant methods for climate adaptation, including the role of climate change information (the focus of this guide) in the process. We highlight just a few of them below.

Steps to Resilience

This five-step framework is featured and described in the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit (also home to The Climate Explorer data viewing tool described in Portals for visualizing climate change data, comprehensive. Information about specific climate risks and their potential changes in the future enter into the process in step 2, “Assess Vulnerability and Risk”.

Leading Practices in Climate Adaptation

This 2021 report by the Water Utility Climate Alliance (WUCA) describes adaptation practices drawn from WUCA member agencies experiences, arranged within five “action areas”: sustain, engage, understand, plan, and implement. These practices are described in terms familiar to water utilities, but they can be used for other sectors and entities as well.

Climate Ready Communities

This program developed by the Geos Institute begins with a free Practical Guide for Building Climate Resilience, outlining a 7-step process for building climate resilience. The report can be supplemented by a support package at modest cost, as well as additional consulting and custom climate services. 


EPA’s climate change risk assessment tool is designed to assist water utilities (drinking water, wastewater, and storm water) how to think about climate change impacts. CREAT has five modules – climate awareness, scenario development, consequences and assets, adaptation planning, and risk assessment that accompany their Climate Scenarios Projection Map (a targeted portal, listed in Portals for visualizing climate change data, targeted.

Georgetown Climate Center’s library of State and Local Adaptation Plans

Often states and communities capture their climate adaptation efforts in documents called adaptation plans.  Georgetown Climate Center has collected these plans across the US and has a map so you can easily access what is being done in states and communities near you.

Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange (CAKE)

This adaptation-focused knowledge sharing platform was launched in 2010 to serve as a place to increase awareness and share climate change adaptation case studies, tools, and resources.

Climate Service Providers

Sometimes you can’t find the specific information you need on any portal, or you may need further context and interpretation for information you find on a portal.  In which case, the most helpful support can often come with a personal connection. 

Climate service providers are entities—university programs, government agencies, professional societies, nonprofits, and consulting firms—that can help communities find and use relevant, trusted information, and can provide other guidance to enhance climate preparedness. In 2016, a NOAA-sponsored project documented about 135 documented climate service providers in the western U.S., and there are likely more today, although not all of them provide guidance on using climate change projections. 

As with climate portals, it can be hard to determine which of the dozens of climate service providers to turn to, since they offer different types of information, resources, and services. A number of these providers can offer many services free of charge, since they receive federal or other funding for that purpose. Consulting firms and some non-profits may charge fees, and other providers may need recipients to share costs for complex services and projects. 

Initial providers to reach out to include:  

Additionally, to navigate this ever-changing landscape, the Mountain West Climate Services Partnership aims to link and share climate service capacities across the Mountain West. To learn more and connect with a provider, see: