Ask a climate scientist: what communities want to know about climate

People sitting around round tables talking at SCN/AMS conferenceA spacious Marriott conference room, six round tables with every seat filled, each table with a designated sign, including “Community Planning for Climate Change” or “Weather and Climate Monitoring.” This was the setting where stakeholders interested in the intersection of cities and climate met. At the American Meteorological Society annual conference, climate experts and Arizona State University Sustainable Cities Network partners were brought together to discuss local questions about climate change. Twelve climate experts were selected to lead roundtable discussions on six different topics chosen by cities. The workshop saw robust interest from a wide group of stakeholders including AMS conference attendees, city sustainability professionals, ASU faculty, and nonprofit employees and volunteers. Each table provided these stakeholders an opportunity to gather and share their views and knowledge on a given topic. At the “Communication of Climate Change” table, for example, attendees discussed how to effectively communicate the urgency of the climate change message to a large audience that may not always respond positively to the term climate change. Over two hours, attendees had the opportunity to spend time at every table, taking part in discussions on all six of the topics chosen by Sustainable Cities Network Steering Committee members on the issues most relevant to Arizona cities. “I was impressed with the quality of the information,” said Danae Pressler, who is the neighborhood resources management assistant for the City of Chandler and sits on the SCN Steering Committee. “I appreciated the workshop being interactive — as someone without a climate background it allowed me to ask questions directly to climate experts."