Climate research gets big funding boost

Numerous new studies aimed at trying to safeguard natural resources

The newest NASA global temperature graphic shows September 2012 anomalies compared to the 1951 to 1980 average. Warmer than average temps were widespread and especially noticeable across South America, North Africa, Australia and northern Eurasia, with a few cool pockets in the central U.S., South Africa and central eastern Asia.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Climate change may not be front and center in the current presidential campaign, but behind the scenes, the Obama administration has been forging ahead with several initiatives related to climate science and global warming.

Most recently, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced his department’s regional Climate Science Centers will award more than $10 million in funding to universities and other partners. The research will guide managers of parks, refuges and other resources in planning how to help species and ecosystems adapt to climate change.

“Climate Science Centers are off and running to meet the needs of those who must safeguard our precious natural resources as the climate changes. These projects demonstrate the benefits of our national climate science strategy, which is focused on the needs of managers in each region,” said Secretary Salazar.

The 69 studies at eight climate science centers focus on how climate change will affect natural resources. For example, some projects identify how sea-level rise will affect coastal resources, how climate will affect vegetation, how these changes will affect valued species such as sage grouse, and how changes in water availability will affect both people and ecosystems—and ecosystem services such as fisheries.

Several studies address the potential effects on resources of concern to Native Americans, some by using traditional ecological knowledge to advance adaptation planning.

Each of the Department of the Interior’s eight Climate Science Centers worked with the universities supporting the CSCs, states, tribes, federal agencies, Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, and other regional partners to identify the highest priority management challenges in need of scientific input, and to solicit and select research projects.

The studies will be undertaken by teams of scientists from the universities that comprise each CSC, from USGS science centers, and from other partners such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, USDA Forest Service, Indian tribes, and the Landscape Conservation Cooperatives in each region.

“These projects demonstrate a powerful and growing partnership between USGS scientists and their academic and agency science colleagues,” said Secretary Salazar. “By tapping this deep well of expertise, and linking it with USGS expertise, CSCs help direct the right science capacity to where it can do the most, and avoid duplication and waste.”

DOI Climate Science Centers serve as the regional hubs of the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center, located at the headquarters of Interior’s U.S. Geological Survey.


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