The Department of the Interior South Central Climate Science Center (SC CSC) is part of a federal network of eight Climate Science Centers (CSCs) managed by the U.S. Geological Survey National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center (NCCWSC). The NCCWSC and CSCs work with natural and cultural resource managers to gather the scientific information and build the tools needed to help fish, wildlife and ecosystems adapt to the impacts of climate change.
The CSCs and NCCWSC focus on the generation of data, decision-support tools, and other products that are practical and relevant to managers’ climate change monitoring and adaptation work.
The work of the SC CSC is accomplished through a collaborative partnership among USGS scientists, resource management agencies, and a consortium of academic institutions from across the region. The SC CSC is hosted by and physically housed at the University of Oklahoma (OU), where space is provided for university, tribal, and federal employees. The academic consortium also includes six additional member institutions:
Texas Tech University (TTU)
Louisiana State University (LSU)
The Chickasaw Nation (CN)
The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma (CNO)
Oklahoma State University (OSU)
NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lab (GFDL)
The consortium has broad expertise in the physical, biological, natural, and social sciences to address impacts of climate change on land, water, fish and wildlife, ocean, coastal, and cultural resources.
The scientific priorities of the South Central Climate Science Center (SC CSC) are driven by the needs and priorities of the natural and cultural resource management communities in the region.
The Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) for the South Central CSC includes representatives from those Landscape Conservation Cooperatives with all or a majority of their area within the South Central region, as well as other management and science partners in the region.
The SAC meets in person at least annually and approves changes to the South Central CSC Science Agenda, which identifies and prioritizes needs for research, monitoring, data management, and additional skills and capacities needed in the region.
The USGS provides unbiased, objective, and impartial scientific information upon which our audiences, including resource managers, planners, and other entities, rely. Since the inception of USGS in 1879, the agency has maintained comprehensive internal and external policies and procedures for ensuring the quality and integrity of its science. This has led to the reputation of USGS being noted for science excellence and objectivity.
As a USGS institution, the South Central Climate Science Center will not take sides, advocate for particular causes, or take any action that compromises our reputation for unbiased scientific information. We do not implicitly or explicitly advocate for any particular policies or decisions. Instead, we provide high-quality scientific information and tools that stakeholders can consider in a broader decision-making context. We also provide education on climate variability and change based on the most current, peer-reviewed literature.
If you would like to learn more about the policies, procedures, and guidelines in place to ensure scientific excellence and objectivity at the United States Geological Survey, please visit www2.usgs.gov/fsp.
Photo Credit: US Geological Survey
The South Central Climate Science Center (SC CSC) focuses on four states in the South Central US: Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, and New Mexico.
This region contains astounding natural diversity, from semi-arid ecosystems in New Mexico to sweeping grasslands in Oklahoma to swampy, humid bayous in Louisiana. The region is also culturally diverse; more than 70 sovereign, federally-recognized tribes and pueblos call this region home, each with their own unique cultural practices and resource management institutions.
Although this resilient region is accustomed to weather and climate extremes, it is projected to experience unprecedented droughts, floods, and heat waves in the coming decades. These changes are already impacting water quantity and quality, wildlife ranges and breeding habitats, wetlands quality and extent, stream flow, invasive species ranges, and human health. Impacts to these natural and human resources can be extremely costly. Resource managers have the power to save taxpayers billions of dollars in the coming decades through proactive planning.
Federal, state, municipal, and tribal institutions across the region have expressed a need for unbiased scientific information that directly addresses the natural resource implications of a changing climate. The South Central Climate Science Center provides objective, tailored scientific information that empowers resource managers to improve their decision-making by considering future climate. The research we do is helping managers make decision about resources of critical economic importance that are impacted by climate variability, including:
• Agriculture, including winter wheat and sorghum
• Critical energy infrastructure (including oil, natural gas, and wind)
• The Rio Grande River, which provides drinking water to 13 million people
• Infrastructure that supports 90% of the US’s annual waterborne commerce
• Winter habitat for more than 5 million migratory waterfowl
• 37 National Parks drawing more than 8 million visitors and hundreds of millions in visitor spending per year.
We are committed to honoring the ecological, cultural, and economic diversity by pursuing interdisciplinary and intergovernmental research projects that have profound on-the-ground impacts.
Sources: 2014 National Climate Assessment
US National Park Service
Louisiana 2012 Coastal Master Plan
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department