a guidebook on climate scenarios - Ouranos

Scaife, A. A., Knight, J. R., Vallis, G. K. & Folland, C. K. A stratospheric influence on the winter NAO and North Atlantic surface climate. Geophys. Res. Lett.
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Suggested citation: Charron, I. (2014). A Guidebook on Climate Scenarios: Using Climate Information to Guide Adaptation Research and Decisions. Ouranos, 86 p. ISBN ISBN

(Print) : 978-2-923292-14-4 (PDF) : 978-2-923292-16-8

Copies of this guidebook can be downloaded from http://www.ouranos.ca/ September 2014

With support from Natural Resources Canada through the Adaptation Platform

Ouranos 550 Sherbrooke West, 19th floor Montreal, Quebec, H3A1B9, Canada Tel: 514-282-6464 Fax: 514-282-7131 www.ouranos.ca

FOREWORD The “Guidebook on Climate Scenarios: Using Climate Information to Guide Adaptation Research and Decisions” is a resource for climate change adaptation decision-making and research. This project was funded under the Adaptation Platform Program lead by Natural Resources Canada. The Platform’s Regional Adaptation Collaborative (RAC) and Tools Working Group identified this as an important need for adaptation decisionmaking which would build on the results of the RAC and Tools Program (2009-12). The RAC and Tools Program was a $35 million, cost-shared initiative to support collaborative action towards the development of resources and tools to help local practitioners and decision-makers reduce the risks and maximize opportunities arising from a changing climate. Users of this Guide are invited to send questions and comments on how to improve this resource. These will subsequently be used for future versions. Comments and questions can be directed to Isabelle Charron ([email protected]).

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Climate change is unequivocal. There is ample evidence from around the globe that changes have already occurred. This reality is forcing decision-makers to evaluate the potential impacts, risks, vulnerabilities and opportunities that climate change presents. The development of adaptation plans and actions to adjust to this new reality requires decision-makers to increase their understanding of available climate information. The rapid advances in climate science and evolving understanding of the potential risks and opportunities arising from climate change impacts will require decision-makers to engage in more proactive and iterative management. This guide is a tool for decision-makers to familiarize themselves with future climate information. It is aimed at all actors involved in climate change adaptation, from those in the early stages of climate change awareness to those involved in implementing adaptation measures. The guide consists of three main sections. The first categorizes climate information based on its use and on its level of complexity. The second section presents a catalogue of different ways in which climate information can be presented to decision-makers, such as planners, engineers, resource managers, and goverment. Finally, a third section outlines key climate modeling concepts that support a good understanding of climate information in general. This document is not detailed enough to inform users on how to prepare different types of climate information, nor is it intended as a critical analysis of how the information is produced. Rather, it highlights the importance of working in collaboration with climate service providers to obtain climate information. The guide allows users to engage more easily with climate service providers and to become more critical of the information that is provided to them. It should be recognised that, at this point in time, the number of climate service providers is low relative to the demand for climate information. Using this guide will allow decision-makers to become more familiar with climate information products and hence better evaluate what climate information best suits their needs. Key important messages emerging from the guide include: ~~ Climate information at different levels of complexity can be valuable, depending on the type of decision being made. More det