ticated use of climate information, including forecasts, in decision making” (see http://www.climate.noaa.gov/cpo_pa/sarp/ [accessed April 5, 2007]). Thus, SARP should support research and network-building activities that link climate information with its ultimate users and that assess users’ needs for climate-related information and promote, facilitate, and assess the adoption, use, and effectiveness of climate-related information by relevant decision makers and other users. This criterion encompasses a far greater range of worthwhile activities than SARP can support. All the activities we recommend for near-term support, as well as the other research activities we have highlighted, meet this criterion.
We emphasize throughout this report that getting decision-relevant climate information used requires innovation within and sometimes among potential user groups and the creation of new communication networks and organizational functions. The evidence from social science shows that simply creating and providing useful information does not usually create use. Without better understanding of the sources of innovations and knowledge-based efforts to promote their adoption, the potential societal benefits of NOAA’s major efforts to improve climate forecasts may not be realized. Thus, we recommend that SARP’s near-term investments in research emphasize understanding the conditions that favor change in information-gathering, communication, and decision-making routines and the emergence and maintenance of networks and knowledge systems that can better inform decisions in sectors affected by climate variability and change. One useful initial approach would be careful studies of apparently successful models for network building. Our recommended communication-related priorities are also focused on meeting this criterion.
We reemphasize, however, that there are important mission-related social science research activities that do not focus on innovation in decision and communication processes. Although we do not think support of these activities can be justified within SARP’s current and likely future budgets, they nevertheless deserve support as part of NOAA’s human dimensions research effort.
SARP should preferentially support research to understand and improve the integration of climate information into large-scale, long-lived, and large-sector decisions because of the potential for long-term practical effects. Thus, other things being equal, it should give priority to activities