Tool inundation: Information from a sea of choices

By: Renee Collini / Published: Feb 04,  2016

There are a great deal of tools, models, portals and tool kits to assist decision-makers when addressing climate change in a community. It can be difficult to determine which tool should be utilized, but tool selection is extremely important. 

Different models and tools have different intended uses and audiences and if applied outside of their intended use can provide inaccurate information or scenarios.

The good news is that on the Gulf Coast we’ve been working really hard to make this easier on local decision-makers. 

The first effort I want to tell you about is the Gulf of Mexico Climate Community of Practice Monthly Tool Bulletin. The Monthly Tool Bulletin highlights one climate-related tool from the Gulf each month. The bulletins are short and sweet at only two pages and give basic information on what the tool does, the intended audience and how it can be applied for decision-support. 

The Climate Community of Practice rolled out the first one in October 2015, and all of them are available online.

The U.S. Geological Survey has also been working hard to make selecting a model or tool easier and recently came out with Sea-level rise modeling handbook: Resource guide for coastal land managers, engineers, and scientists. This document contains instructional information on different processes that impact sea level on global, national, regional and local scales. The handbook also divides models up into different categories, describes their uses and limitations and provides some examples of each model type. An extremely informative document, it provides ample knowledge to facilitate model selection.

The handbook, while extremely informative, can also be a bit daunting at 76 pages full of information. The Northern Gulf of Mexico Sentinel Site Cooperative (SSC) has partnered with the Climate Community of Practice and USGS to generate a much shorter (only 4 pages!) document: Keeping Pace: A short guide to navigating sea-level rise models. Set to come out in March, Keeping Pace contains a few need-to-know concepts about sea-level rise modeling, the USGS model categories and recommendations on which model category to use for common coastal community issues. 

Additionally, the Northern Gulf of Mexico Sentinel Site Cooperative has merged an extensive list of sea-level rise models and tools generated by the Climate Community of Practice with the examples from USGS and categorized them all.  Visit in March to check it out!

Tool selection is very important, and these efforts are always being updated or expanded. Keep in the loop by subscribing to the Sentinel Site Cooperative tri-annual newsletter on our website or by attending this year’s Climate Community of Practice Annual Meeting in Biloxi.


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