The University of Arizona

Community Climate Profiles | CLIMAS

Community Climate Profiles

Community Climate Profiles

CLIMAS Lead:  

The reality of a changing climate is becoming apparent for more and more communities, which is leading to a growing interest in planning for this new reality. Like many forms of community planning, climate change adaptation planning requires decision-makers to envision the future of their communities, and make well-grounded assumptions about economic, demographic, and cultural trends that are likely to affect that vision. Climate information is necessary for building these well-grounded assumptions, however, the ability to gather, interpret, and use climate information effectively is often a barrier in communities’ adaptation planning attempts. Access to information is only one part of the equation –gaining insights about how to effectively interpret and use (or not use) climate information is another crucial step, and unfortunately most communities do not have climate scientists on staff to produce and interpret the necessary climate information. This project will produce climate profiles for communities to support their adaptation planning efforts.These profiles will include basic climate information, such as: 1) summary analysis of historical/instrumental temperature and precipitation data at local scales; 2) non-technical explanations of key climate phenomenon that impact climate and weather in the region (e.g. ENSO, North American Monsoon);3) depiction and discussion of current climate trends for location of interest;4) depiction and discussion of climate projections at different Representative Concentration Pathways; and 5) a summary of expected climate impacts.

Central Question: How can clearly conveyed, geographically specific climate information, produced by climate experts, improve the process of climate change adaptation planning for communities?

Climate change adaptation planning requires decision-makers to envision the future of their communities, and make well-grounded assumptions about economic, demographic, and cultural trends that are likely to affect that vision. However, many communities lack the technical resources to compile and analyze climate data and research findings, thus making the information essentially inaccessible to them. This project produces climate profiles for communities to support their adaptation planning efforts. These profiles include information such as historical/instrumental temperature and precipitation data from 1895–present at scales appropriate to the decisions made within the community of interest, explanations of key climate phenomenon that impact climate and weather in the region, current climate trends, projections of climate change at a regional scale, and a summary of general regional climate impacts. Current climate profiles include the City of Flagstaff, AZ and the Tohono O’odham Nation.