An article authored by Principal Investigator Victoria Keener, Co-Investigator Zena Grenci, and external evaluator Susanne Moser for Pacific RISA, a NOAA RISA team, was recently published in the Journal of Frontiers in Climate. Titled Accelerating Climate Change Adaptive Capacity Through Regional Sustained Assessment and Evaluation in Hawai‘i and the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands, the piece describes how as the impacts and risks from climate change increase, the climate assessment landscape has expanded in scope and application, resulting in the desire for more information relevant to local decision-making. Some regions lack detailed climate projections and a body of consensus findings about sector-specific impacts, and there is a need for actionable, culturally cognizant, translated climate information suitable for integration into operations and management, budgeting, funding proposals, and domestic and international policy. The Pacific Islands Regional Climate Assessment, or PIRCA, is the subject of this decade-long case study illustrating the need, development, and benefit of creating and sustaining a nuanced, collaborative, and deliberately inclusive climate assessment effort among researchers and practitioners in Hawai‘i and the US-Affiliated Pacific Islands (USAPI).
Using external evaluations done in 2013 and 2021, the authors describe regional adaptive capacity challenges—an important component of the decision context for PIRCA stakeholders—and analyze the role of the PIRCA network in accelerating climate adaptation. They also examine how regional and national assessments complement each other, and how assessment processes can aid in translation to sub-national decision making across the climate science-policy interface. This ongoing work was supported by the NOAA RISA Program, the East-West Center in Honolulu, HI, and the DOI Pacific Islands Climate Adaptation Science Center.