Maryland Climate Science Communication Forum
Maryland Sea Grant
Scientists in Maryland have published numerous studies on the impacts of climate change on the Mid-Atlantic region, but communicating the results of that research has proved difficult. Many residents in the state’s coastal communities lack a good understanding of the risks that climate change and sea level rise in particular pose to their way of life. In 2012, Maryland Sea Grant held a statewide climate change forum to inform efforts to share and discuss the findings of climate science with these communities.
This forum, called “Lost in Translating: Linking Climate Science to Local Communities,” was organized in partnership with the Maryland-based Center for Watershed Protection. Approximately 65 researchers and natural resource managers participated in the day-long event. Through invited talks, question-and-answer sessions, and group discussions, the participants addressed how climate science could be more effectively disseminated to and used by local communities. Participants also discussed ways in which scientists could gather feedback from non-scientists to design research programs that address the specific needs of coastal communities in Maryland.
Maryland Sea Grant Extension produced a report on the forum and its findings, available online. Among other steps, the forum participants recommended that scientists and science communicators focus their communication efforts on how climate change will impact Maryland at the local level and in the near term. Participants also recommended that scientists convene meetings with community representatives early in their research efforts, such as when writing grant proposals. Scientists and outreach experts in Maryland have continued to draw on these recommendations as they engage with coastal communities and local governments on issues surrounding climate change.