Managed by the National Climate Change and Wildlife Center at the National Headquarters of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the eight regional Climate Science Centers expand the scope and geographic reach of the climate-science efforts of the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI). These CSCs provide scientific information, tools, and techniques that land, water, wildlife and cultural resource managers, and other interested parties can apply to anticipate, monitor, and adapt to climate and ecologically driven responses at regional-to-local scales. CSCs deliver basic climate-change-impact science to Landscape Conservation Cooperatives and others within their respective regions, including physical and biological research, ecological forecasting, and multi-scale modeling.
In addition to the South Central Climate Science Center, the other regional centers are:
The South Central Climate Science Center (SC-CSC) is comprised of seven member institutions: the University of Oklahoma (OU), Texas Tech University (TTU), Louisiana State University (LSU), the Chickasaw Nation (CN), the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma (CNO), Oklahoma State University (OSU), and NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lab (GFDL). The SC-CSC is hosted by OU with furnished space for university, tribal and federal employees. 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.
OU serves as the host institution to the South Central Climate Science Center. Located in Norman, Oklahoma, OU is known internationally for its expertise in atmospheric sciences and its 50-year partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The Oklahoma Climatological, Biological, Geological, Archeological, and Water Surveys are integrated into OU and provide research, service, and outreach to the state. OU biologists, geographers, and ecologists have helped to develop the Natural Heritage Program, National Vegetation Classification, and National Ecological Observation Network. OU’s Biological Station is one of the largest field stations in the nation and OU’s herbarium includes >210,000 specimens. The Center for Applied Social Research at OU applies innovative concepts and methods in social sciences to advance complex, multi-faceted organizational, policy, and public health research, including as they relate to climate variability and change. OU leads the Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program in partnership with LSU, providing products and education on hazardous climatological events to stakeholders across a 7-state region.
TTU is located in Lubbock, Texas. Much of TTU’s research focuses on the impacts of climate variability and long-term trends on the ecosystems and human systems of semi-arid regions. This research has resulted in critical understanding on how climate change will alter ecosystem dynamics and services across important landscapes such as the South Central Region. TTU also has longstanding expertise in high-resolution climate projections, producing the dataset of statistically downscaled projections used by the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s 2009 national assessment and contributing to the upcoming 2013 assessment. TTU is currently developing a new national database of high-resolution climate projections for the USGS as well as a best practices guidebook and instructional video series for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on how to apply climate projections in impact analyses. The Texas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit and the Lubbock Water Science Center Field Office along with operations for the West Texas Mesonet are hosted at TTU.
LSU, located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is a land and sea grant institution. Along with several other education and research units, the School of the Coast and Environment and the Department of Geography and Anthropology provide knowledge, technology, and human resources for successful management of natural resources and resolution of environmental issues important to Louisiana, the Gulf of Mexico region, and comparable areas throughout the nation and the world. LSU scientists contribute significant research in climate and environmental impacts related to wetland science, coastal processes, fisheries, pollution, toxicology and environmental policy and management to address the risks in Gulf of Mexico coastal habitats. LSU hosts the USGS National Wetlands Research Center Coastal Restoration Field Station, Louisiana Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, the Water Resources Research Institute, the Southern Regional Climate Center (working with the National Climatic Data Center), and in partnership with OU, the Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program. Additionally, LSU hosts a significant archive of remote sensing data, including one of the largest archives of NOAA AVHRR (22 years) and GOES-East GVAR (14 years), as well as observations of weather data from the Louisiana Agro-climatic Information System and wave-current data from the Wave-Current-Surge Information System. In collaboration with other Louisiana institutions such as the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, LSU researchers have access to coastal research vessels intended for use in coastal bays, rivers and estuaries along the Gulf of Mexico and in the Caribbean, and Western Atlantic.
CN is headquartered in Ada, Oklahoma, and its jurisdictional territory includes 7,648 square miles of south-central Oklahoma and encompasses all of 6 and parts of 7 different counties. CN is particularly interested in protection of water resources in the face of future climate change and variability. The award winning Chickasaw Cultural Center includes several water features that demonstrate the importance of water resources to the heritage and cultural traditions of the tribe. CN and DOI’s Bureau of Reclamation led a team to study aquifer recharge rates across the state and implemented an artificial recharge project at the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer in order to maintain and enhance nearby spring flow. In 2009, the DOI honored this project with a “Partners in Conservation Award.” CN and CNO now collaborate on long-term water planning that examines the future of water quality and quantity within south-central and south-east Oklahoma and includes both consumptive and non-consumptive uses of water. The study also provides a forum for an improved State-Tribal partnership on water resource matters and, when completed, will provide a regional and intergovernmental adjunct to Oklahoma’s comprehensive water plan.
CNO is headquartered in Durant, Oklahoma, and its jurisdictional territory includes 10,864 square miles of south-east Oklahoma and encompasses all of 8 and parts of 5 different counties. With over 200,000 enrolled members, it is the third most populous tribe in the United States. CNO is particularly interested in protection of water resources in the face of future climate change and variability. CNO has hosted students from OU’s Applied Climatology class in order to communicate the cultural and economic importance of water resources to the tribe. Recently, CNO received funding from DOI’s Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Tribal Climate Change Grant Program to create a “Choctaw Drought Contingency Plan.” CN and CNO now collaborate on long-term water planning that examines the future of water quality and quantity within south-central and south-east Oklahoma and includes both consumptive and non-consumptive uses of water. The study also provides a forum for an improved State-Tribal partnership on water resource matters and, when completed, will provide a regional and intergovernmental adjunct to Oklahoma’s comprehensive water plan.
OSU is a land grant institution located in Stillwater, Oklahoma. OSU is a leader in conducting research in agricultural and natural resource science that enriches and improves the lives of Oklahomans, communicating this research to the public and conducting adaptive training for both individuals and professionals. Recent funded research at OSU focuses on ecological costs of biofuels, carbon sequestration in prairies and forests, invasive plants and animals, and biodiversity. An on-going project integrates research, education, and extension to enhance southern pine mitigation and adaptation under projected climate change. OSU hosts the Oklahoma Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station, an NSF-NEON site, and, in conjunction with OU, designed, implemented and maintains the Oklahoma Mesonet.
GFDL is located in Princeton, New Jersey. For several decades, GFDL has been a world-leader in the field of global climate model research, building and interpreting computer-based models relevant for society. At its core, GFDL’s extensive research portfolio aims to improve our understanding and prediction of the behavior of the interconnected climate system – the atmosphere, ocean, ice, and land surface, as well as aspects of terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Accordingly, GFDL’s research interests span a wide range of scientific disciplines, spatial scales, and time scales. GFDL has contributed state-of-the-art global climate model projections and expertise to several U.S. and international climate assessment reports, including those of the IPCC. GFDL hosts USGS’s Continental Water, Climate, and Earth-System Dynamics project, co-locating USGS experts in climate-water-ecosystem interactions with GFDL’s climate modeling community. Consortium scientists at TTU have worked closely with GFDL on topics including the application of statistical techniques to effectively transfer and translate scientifically credible information from the realm of the large-scale climate to that relevant for local-scale impacts.