Understanding the Climate-Sensitive Decisions and Information Needs of Freshwater Resource Managers in Hawaii

Authors: Melissa L. Finucane et al.


Discipline: Psychology

Hazard of Interest: Climate Change

Methods: Quantitative (surveys) and Qualitative (interviews and focus groups)

Key Research Issues: Improving our understanding about the context of decision processes about how to manage fresh water resources on Pacific Islands under the changing climate.

Key Research Findings: People managing freshwater resources in Hawaii are highly educated and experienced in diverse professions, they perceive climate change as posing a worrisome risk, and they would like to be better informed about how to adapt to climate change. decisions can be characterized on several key dimensions including purpose (optimization and evaluation), time horizon (short term and long term), level of information uncertainty (known, uncertain, deeply uncertain, and completely unknown), and information type (quantitative and qualitative). The climate information most relevant to decision makers includes vulnerability assessments incorporating long-term projections about temperature, rainfall distribution, storms, sea level rise, and streamflow changes at an island or statewide scale. The main barriers to using available climate information include insufficient staff time to locate the information and the lack of a clear legal mandate to use the information.