McNie, E.C., 2013. Delivering climate services: Organizational strategies and approaches for producing useful climate-science information. Weather, Climate, and Society, 5(1): 14–26. doi:10.1175/WCAS-D-11-00034.1
Despite numerous and widespread calls for more “useful” climate-science information to inform policy, most climate science is still produced in a way that is consistent with the “linear model” of research that favors pure basic research over other approaches, resulting in missed opportunities to link useful climate science with decision makers. To improve the ability to adapt to a changing climate, it is necessary to improve the linkages between the production and supply of climate-science information with users’ needs to ensure that the climate science is contextual, credible, trusted, and understood by the users. This paper reports on research that evaluated how three Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) programs produced useful climate information for improved decision support in a variety of sectors. Research indicates that these organizations utilized several processes and approaches to produce useful climate information, including identifying users’ information needs; translating, communicating, and sharing knowledge; producing and situating social capital; building capacity in the user community to understand and utilize the climate-science information; and maintaining a flexible and nimble organization guided by strong leadership. The process of linking the production and supply of climate-science information with users’ demands is a complex, highly contextual social process that requires ample resources and time management, research agendas that are “end to end” and can respond to changing contexts, and organizational commitment to support “use-inspired” research. Additional research is needed to improve evaluation methods and metrics used to assess climate-service organizations.