Many climate decision support tools have been developed to support a variety of sectors and scales, but evaluation of such tools has only recently begun to take place. SCIPP’s Deputy Director Rachel Riley conducted an evaluation of SCIPP’s Simple Planning Tool for Arkansas and Oklahoma—a decision-maker driven climate hazard assessment tool developed in collaboration with stakeholders. The evaluation, published in the peer-reviewed journal Weather, Climate, and Society, found that the tool has high utility despite a relatively limited user base at the time of the study. The study also advances knowledge on climate decision support tool utility evaluation and demonstrates the impact of a tool within planning contexts.
The Simple Planning Tool compiles relatively easy-to-use online interactive climate tools, maps, and graphs that can assist planners and emergency managers who need to assess historical and future climate hazards for their jurisdiction(s). Riley’s study evaluated its utility and impact on a group of decision-makers in Oklahoma and Arkansas, assessing its saliency, credibility, trustworthiness, and how the tool impacted information use and decision-making. The results showed that the Tool’s user group was relatively small at the time of data collection, which was less than one year since the tool became available. However, the Tool has a high utility for the individuals who used it, representing a range of decision contexts including different jurisdictional sizes, geographical scales, and years of experience. SCIPP designed the Simple Planning Tool in a way that reduces the need for frequent updates, but the Program plans to update it if exceptional new tools become available or significant climate science advancements are made.
The full publication is available here.