Critical Thresholds, Extreme Weather, and Building Resilience in the South Central United States
Authors: The Critical Thresholds, Extreme Weather, and Building Resilience Team.
This report explains the findings from a project on building resilience in the South Central United States. A multidisciplinary team used a participatory process to engage local citizens and identify locally relevant critical thresholds for extreme events, and use these thresholds to customize climate projections to community-specific needs. Identifying and better understanding critical thresholds for extreme events is key to developing effective community responses to climate change. Four small to medium-sized communities (Boulder, CO; Las Cruces, NM; Miami, OK, and San Angelo, TX) joined this multi-disciplinary project team to:
- Collaborate on identifying critical thresholds for extreme weather events in their communities;
- Create downscaled climate projections specific to those thresholds;
- Review the customized climate projections; and
- Identify and implement a resilience action project.
The team learned several lessons from applying this participatory approach to building community climate resilience:
- Successful co-production of actionable science, based on the extreme weather events thresholds concept, show potential to bridge the gap between climate science and on-the-ground action to build resilience.
- Both broad stakeholder engagement and expected attrition in participation can be used to strengthen efforts to build community climate resilience.
- Communities are interested in threshold levels more extreme than those typically selected in scientific analyses, and in a wider range of extremes.
- Communities are opportunistic when acting to build community resilience. In most cases, the communities chose resilience projects that fit with on-going efforts.
- Each community selected a project that has co-benefits and helps build more than one aspect of resilience.
- The threshold concept is useful as an entry point for discussions about climate change.
Citation: Adaptation International. (2017). Critical Thresholds, Extreme Weather, and Building Resilience. Boulder, CO: The Critical Thresholds, Extreme Weather, and Building Resilience Team.
Funded by: NOAA Sectoral Applications Research Program (SARP)