A report titled “Scaling-up Stakeholder Engagement Efforts to Inform Better Communication & Uptake of NOAA Great Lakes Ice Forecast Information” was recently published by the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research. The project was funded by CPO and awarded to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL), the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research (CIGLR), the Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments (GLISA)— a NOAA RISA team.
Great Lakes ice cover is integral to human activities in coastal communities and the region overall, from being an obstacle to vessel navigation in the transportation sector to providing an opportunity for winter recreation. Timely, accurate, and usable ice information for a broad and diverse range of users is critical to these activities. Existing satellite and model-based products provide information regarding Great Lakes ice conditions. However, existing products are limited in their spatial and temporal extent, resulting in information gaps for decision-support. To fill this gap, the development of a short-term Great Lakes ice forecast model is underway to be added to the next generation of NOAA’s Great Lakes Operational Forecast System (GLOFS). While this new product is designed specifically to support winter mariners’ decision-making, a critical condition for this is the development of a user interface that supports information usability.
In 2019, the project team was awarded a seed grant from the Graham Sustainability Institute at the University of Michigan to conduct a stakeholder engagement needs assessment workshop with 27 participants from the shipping industry, U.S. Coast Guard 9th District, NOAA, and the University of Michigan. This initial effort allowed the team to identify the Great Lakes ice information needs of end-users, and to form high-level recommendations for the user interface of the upcoming ice forecast guidance from NOAA. However, the limited funds did not permit more in-depth stakeholder engagement, submission of formal recommendations to NOAA, or exploration of co-production variables of interest such as uncertainty, information interplay, and credibility. NOAA’s Climate Program Office provided additional support to the project team to gather further stakeholder input to inform future updates to the model, provide recommendations for development of the front-end user interface, and better characterize specific user information needs that NOAA may be able to address through the development of ice information products.
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For more information, contact Genie Bey.