What is Climate Literacy? How Climate Science Can Support Disaster Resilience

A firefighter works during the Creek Fire in the Cascadel Woods area of Madera County, Calif., Aug. 27, 2020.

A firefighter works during the Creek Fire in the Cascadel Woods area of Madera County, Calif., Aug. 27, 2020.

Photo By Josh Edelson/U.S. Marine Corps

Event Details

Thursday, May 19, 2022
12:00 - 1:00 p.m. Eastern
9:00 - 10:00 a.m. Pacific

This event will be conducted virtually, and is open to the public.

Connection Details


To Connect by telephone:

+1 (669) 254-5252 (San Jose)
+1 (646) 828-7666 (New York)
Webinar ID: 160 295 1261

Additional domestic and international numbers

About the Program

As climate change is leading to increases in the number and severity of disasters, the nation’s emergency managers increasingly rely on climate science to inform their plans, decisions, and actions. A growing body of information is available to support climate-related decisions, and many public officials question how to access and apply this information. According to the US Global Change Research Program, climate literacy involves: understanding the Earth’s climate system; knowing how to assess credible climate information; communicating meaningfully about climate and climate change; and making informed decisions that may affect the climate. Climate literacy does not require each individual to reach a particular level of knowledge, skills, or abilities. Instead, it is sufficient for climate capabilities to be distributed across people and organizations. One way to achieve shared climate literacy is via use-inspired science, in which the potential use of climate information drives the development and communication of relevant data and tools. Panelists in this webinar will present different examples of use-inspired science that help to build climate literacy across communities.

This event is presented by the Disaster Research and Analysis Program (DRAP) of the RAND Homeland Security Research Division (HSRD) and the RAND Climate Resilience Center (CRC). HSRD operates the Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center (HSOAC), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)'s FFRDC for studies and analyses, which conducts analyses for DHS and its components. CRC provides a climate research hub for all RAND researcher staff to act collaboratively, and for external stakeholders to engage with RAND's climate-related activities. The DRAP webinar series was created to increase understanding in how disaster policies can affect the ability of communities to prepare for, respond to, and recover from, disasters.


Dr. Melissa Finucane is a Senior Social and Behavioral Scientist, with more than 25 years of experience conducting research and capacity building activities related to environmental health risk in coastal regions around the globe. She is Co-Director of the RAND Climate Resilience Center. Dr. Finucane is also a Principal Investigator with the NOAA-funded Mid Atlantic Regional Integrated Sciences (MARISA), where she utilizes use-inspired methods and generates products relevant for immediate uptake by real-world decision makers to support climate adaptation. She is a member of the Environmental Information Services Working Group of NOAA's Scientific Advisory Board.

Dr. Krista Romita Grocholski (she/her) is a physical scientist at the RAND Corporation and co-program manager for the NOAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (MARISA) program. Dr. Romita Grocholski's work at RAND has focused on national security-related work, primarily in the areas of emerging technologies, commercial space, and intermediate force capabilities, and climate resilience and adaptation. Prior to joining RAND, she completed her Ph.D. in observational astronomy at the University of Florida.

Dr. Anu Narayanan is associate director of the Forces and Logistics Program within RAND Arroyo Center, a senior engineer at the RAND Corporation, and professor of policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. Her research focuses on the intersection of critical infrastructure and national security. She has led or conducted studies for the Department of the Air Force, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Energy on a range of topics including installation resilience to natural hazards and climate change, cybersecurity of the electric power grid, mission assurance, strategic basing, data analytics for critical infrastructure risk management, and disaster response and recovery. Narayanan holds a Ph.D. in engineering and public policy from Carnegie Mellon University.

Dr. Rachel Dryden Steratore is an Associate Policy Researcher with core competencies in risk perceptions, communication, decision-making, and behavior. She applies her expertise in risk perception and communication to improve decision-making from individual Americans to senior policy leaders on topics from weather- and climate-related risks to anti-terrorism technologies. Dr. Steratore graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Sciences from Park University; a Master of Science degree in Physical Geography from McGill University; and a PhD in Engineering and Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University.

Moderated by Shelly Culbertson.


For questions about the event, contact Kristin Sereyko at ksereyko@rand.org