News FocusAdaptation to Climate Change

Time to Adapt to a Warming World, But Where's the Science?

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Science  25 Nov 2011:
Vol. 334, Issue 6059, pp. 1052-1053
DOI: 10.1126/science.334.6059.1052

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The people who brought us the bad news about climate change are making an effort to help us figure out what to do about it. At a meeting last month, subtitled "Climate Research in Service to Society," the new buzzword was "actionable": actionable science, actionable information, actionable knowledge. What's needed is not simply data but processed information that an engineer sizing a storm-water pipe to serve for the next 50 years or a farmer in Uganda considering irrigating his fields can use to make better decisions in a warming world. Researchers preparing for the next international climate assessment, due in 2013, delivered some discouraging news for those striving to generate actionable science of use at the regional and local scale. But the challenges to the climate science community also include creating so-called climate services that can deliver actionable information effectively to users, speakers said.