Publications

A comparison of the incorporation of climate forecasts and other climate information by coastal managers in the Pacific Northwest between 1996 and 2003

Citation

Andersen, M.S., Miles, E.L., Fluharty, D.L. 2004. A comparison of the incorporation of climate forecasts and other climate information by coastal managers in the Pacific Northwest between 1996 and 2003. In Conference Proceedings for The Coastal Society 19th International Conference, Alexandria, Virginia: The Coastal Society.


Abstract

Coastal managers in the Pacific Northwest face impacts of climate variability and will increasingly face impacts of climate change. This study surveyed federal, state, local, and non-governmental natural resource agencies on their knowledge about climate variability and its probable impacts on coastal resources subject to their management responsibility. Elite surveys were conducted in 1997 through 1998 and again in 2003 with the person, or persons, within each agency deemed most knowledgeable about climate issues. The comparison of the results of the two sets of interviews indicate that since 1998: 1) individuals within these agencies have become more aware of climate issues; 2) there is an increase in the use of climate information by public non-governmental and emergency response agencies; 3) there is an increase in the perceptions of resource vulnerability to climate variability and change; but 4) coastal managers appear to be less interested in the incorporation of climate forecasts into management activities. A persistent distrust in the accuracy of forecasts has tended to limit the number of agencies that use such climate information in decision-making. An increase in understanding and documentation of the links between climate variability and changes in coastal resources would increase the relevance for coastal management. This research highlights the need for continued education and systematic interaction with coastal managers on the importance of the use of climate information in management of vulnerable coastal resources.