Study Design Guideline

DO plan for iterations as the first time you download climate data should not be your last


Models and datasets will continue to be updated.

Datasets will continue to be updated as observations increase, models improve, errors are corrected, computational capacity increases, and hydrology and climate science advance. As such, iteration and updating should be included in a risk management framework, where new strategies are allowed to develop as new knowledge becomes available. This includes revisiting decisions when new information (e.g., new climate projections) are available (Willows and Connell 2003).

Frequently Asked Questions

When do iterations stop?

Adaptive management means that decision-making is a continuous process, and needs to continually keep information used to support decisions up to date (a circular process). However, decisions can be made along the way. As an example of what this looks like, see the eight stages of the decision-making framework in Willows and Connell (2003):

1) Identify problem and objectives

2) Establish decision-making criteria

3) Assess risk

4) Identify options

5) Appraise options

6) Make decision

7) Implement decision

8) Monitor, evaluate and review

These steps continue to provide guidance to those setting up studies, as developed by the UKCIP Adaption Wizard (UKCIP 2013). Importantly, decision-making occurs in the midst of iterations with the best available information at the time and with knowledge that it will be readdressed as more information becomes available (NAVFAC 2017). This needs to take into account that decisions occur at specific moments in time and therefore questions need to be constructed to be tractable within a timeline and the whole process designed to incremented and, when possible, flexible, modular, and updatable.

Path Forward

Plan for iterations (e.g., automate the process, track dataset updates and model versions, document all steps in the process). This will also help recovery when unforeseen errors are uncovered. When possible sign up for notices that provide information on new releases or error updates.

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Text orginally published in Vano et al., Climate Services, 2018


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