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New regional climate science collaborations announced in Alaska, California/Nevada, and the Carolinas

October 17, 2011


High Resolution (Credit: NOAA)

NOAA today announced three new Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) awards, totaling $11 million over five years, to climate science collaborations in Alaska, California/Nevada, and the Carolinas. Funds for years two through five are subject to the availability of annual appropriation.

“These projects will help build national and regional capacity to understand and minimize the risks associated with a variable and changing climate,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “RISA enables the interdisciplinary research needed to tackle big challenges such as impacts to water, food, infrastructure, and ecosystems. The program strengthens NOAA’s climate efforts by bringing science and service communities together.”

The three NOAA RISA grants awarded today will help regional stakeholders address the challenges climate change poses to their regions.

The three new awards include the Alaska Center for Climate Assessments and Policy (ACCAP – University of Alaska-Fairbanks), the California-Nevada Applications Program (CNAP- Scripps Institution of Oceanography), and the Carolinas Integrated Science and Assessments program (CISA – University of South Carolina). All three institutions will conduct research efforts collaboratively with other universities and research organizations.

Scientific expertise is coupled with the ability to work collaboratively with those responsible for managing resources and communities at local, state and regional levels. As such, RISA projects work with many of NOAA’s stakeholders including water utilities, state and local governments, land and wildlife managers, land and sea grant extension services, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector.

All three teams will address issues expressed by regional decision makers. The Alaska center will focus on coastal and living marine resources with potential topics including sea ice extent and the vulnerability of coastal infrastructure to storms. California-Nevada will address water supply, planning and preparedness for wildfires, and coastal management. The Carolinas project addresses early warning and preparedness for drought, groundwater vulnerability to saltwater intrusion, and shellfish pathogens.

The teams will support dialogue between scientists and decision makers through which social scientists and outreach experts can evaluate the use of climate information. 

Ice flow.

High Resolution (Credit: NOAA)

RISA teams, along with NOAA's Regional Climate Centers and regional climate services directors, work with state climate offices to help regional stakeholders address the challenges of a changing climate.

RISA team members are also key contributors to research and assessment activities of the cross-federal agency National Climate Assessment overseen by the United States Global Change Research Program. Through the national assessment, RISA teams help NOAA expand and enhance interagency partnerships at the regional level. For example, many regional assessment teams have strong connections to, and in some cases are co-located with, new federal initiatives such as the Department of Interior’s Climate Science Centers and Landscape Conservation Cooperatives.

These three new partnerships join eight ongoing RISAs:

  • Climate Assessment for the Southwest -- University of Arizona and New Mexico State University
  • Consortium on Climate Risk in the Urban Northeast — Columbia University
  • Climate Impacts Research Consortium — Oregon State University
  • Great Lakes Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments Center — University of Michigan and Michigan State University
  • Pacific RISA: Climate Adaptation Partnership for the Pacific — East-West Center in Hawaii
  • Southeast Climate Consortium — University of Florida
  • Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program: University of Oklahoma and Louisiana State University
  • Western Water Assessment — University of Colorado

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on Facebook, Twitter and our other social media channels.