The missing middle of climate services: layering multiway, two-way, and one-way modes of communicating seasonal climate forecasts
The production and distribution of seasonal climate forecasts (SCFs) have been principal global climate service activities for decades. During this time, the climate service community has increasingly moved away from using only one-way communication modes, like radio or bulletins, to also include multiway communication modes in the form of interactive models of science communication, like participatory workshops. The combination of such workshops with the more traditional unidirectional forms of communication helps climate service providers overcome many of the limitations that inhere in each form. However, important gaps remain even with the combination of one-way and multiway modes of communication. In this article, we draw on 17 workshops we convened in six locations that engaged with 406 small-scale coffee farmers in the Jamaican Blue Mountains and 106 farmer interviews. These workshops aimed to improve farmer access to, and understanding of, weather and climate information. We argue that an intermediate form of communication between providers and users that takes place between workshops would help providers better tailor the one-way and multiway communication modes by evaluating in real time the users’ understanding and use of the forecasts and by monitoring the dynamic context in which the users make decisions.
We would like to thank the approximately 400 farmers who attended the workshops and a sizable number who were subsequently interviewed. Their generosity of time and participation were essential to the project. We would also like to thank those who designed and carried out the workshops: Gusland McCook and Noel Richards from JACRA, Glenroy Brown and Ronald Moody from MSJ, Elizabeth Johnson from IICA, Donovan Campbell and Jhannel Tomlinson (who also conducted the farmer interviews) from UWI, and Teddy Allen, Malgosia Madajewicz, and Ashley Curtis from IRI.
This research was funded by NOAA (grant NA13OAR4310184) with contributions from USAID under the International Research and Applications Project.
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