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GFDL & the DOI’s South Central Climate Science Center

The South Central CSC is one of eight regional Climate Science Centers established by the US Dept. of the Interior and managed by the US Geological Survey (USGS). By design, the eight regional CSCs have somewhat fuzzy geographic boundaries. In general, the core of the SC-CSC region extends from New Mexico eastward to Louisiana and from Texas northward to Oklahoma and the southern Great Plains.

The SC-CSC will provide fundamental scientific information and tools to at least 6 of DOI’s 21 Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) and to natural and cultural resource managers.

The SC-CSC: A seven member consortium

On October 7, 2011, the Department of Interior (DOI) announced the selection of a consortium of
The University of Oklahoma,
Texas Tech University,
Louisiana State University,
Oklahoma State University,
The Chickasaw Nation,
The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, and
NOAA‘s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory
(GFDL) to host the DoI’s South Central Climate Science Center (SC-CSC).

The Univ. of Oklahoma (OU) is the SC-CSC’s lead host institution. OU’s Berrien Moore III was the lead PI on the proposal. GFDL’s PI on the successful proposal was Keith Dixon.

The Climate Science Centers were established by DOI to:

  • provide scientific information tools and techniques to study impacts of climate change
  • synthesize and integrate climate change impact data
  • develop tools that the DOI managers and partners can use when managing the DOI’s land, water, fish and wildlife, and cultural heritage resources

A two page South Central Climate Science Consortium Executive Summary assembled by OU is available.

GFDL’s role in the SC-CSC

In recent years, much has been learned about global climate variability and change. As knowledge of the large-scale physical climate has grown, so too has the demand for information about the impacts climate variability and change can have on local resources, including impacts of interest to the land, water, fish and wildlife, ocean, coastal and cultural heritage resource management communities associated with the SC-CSC. One of the challenges we face is to effectively transfer and translate high quality, scientifically credible information as it flows from the realm of the large-scale climate to that of local-scale impacts.

Translating the best available science into information that is accessible and relevant to regional and local resource managers and other stakeholders is a multi-step process. GFDL’s expertise is most relevant for those steps that can be considered to occupy the “upstream” part of this flow of information – large-scale climate science information. As a world-leader in global climate modeling, GFDL specializes in building and interpreting computer-based models relevant for society. GFDL has a history of being an active participant in international, national, and regional climate change assessments and other multi-institutional projects, both by contributing climate model output files and by participating in scientific analyses and communications. GFDL researchers bring to the SC-CSC Consortium expertise that will help insure in-depth understanding of the robustness and limitations of climate projections for impact studies and response modeling.

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“As the coordinated research carried out through this new Center progresses, it will advance our understanding of the relationships between weather, climate and our landscape,” said Renee McPherson, state climatologist of Oklahoma. “This promises to help us to be better prepared for not only the future, but for managing the extremes we already experience. This is not science for the ivory tower. This is science to solve real problems faced by real decision-makers year in and year out.”

– Renee McPherson, state climatologist at the Oklahoma Climatological Survey, as quoted in a Univ. of Oklahoma-issued press release (7 Oct. 2011)

Related external web pages:

From the US Dept. of the Interior and the USGS