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Climate and Weather Services for Disaster Management
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) plays a critical role in supporting land, water, and coastal managers prepare for and respond to weather- and climate-driven extreme events. Challenges to accessing, interpreting, and disseminating diverse climate and weather (C&W) information, however, limit FEMA’s use of this information, which can hinder the pre-positioning of resources and personnel in high-risk areas, limit the utilization of advanced warnings, and spur misunderstanding. Strategic partnerships that link information producers and consumers and provide opportunities for the co-development of useful C&W information can help agencies like FEMA better fulfill their mission to safeguard life and property. We propose a climate services case study that examines the process of developing strategic partnerships, communication strategies, and relevant C&W information to support FEMA’s hazards monitoring efforts in Arizona, Nevada, and California. This study examines the end-to-end process of decision support and will be conducted within a framework advocated by the National Research Council. This incudes: (1) assessing FEMA’s C&W information needs and gaps; (2) co-producing a decision support tool; and (3) measuring impacts, successes, and limitations of the decision-support tool, engagement process, and partnership. The objectives are to better understand how to provide climate services and develop strategies that seamlessly transition from research to operations, while assessing the role of ‘boundary organizations’ (e.g. RISAs) in developing and mediating partnerships that advance climate services and long-term adaptation efforts. This project is a collaboration between the Climate Assessment for the Southwest (CLIMAS), the western regional headquarters of the NOAA-National Weather Service, and FEMA.