Healthy Planet Stewardship

Linking Climate Sciences and Society

The Oregon Climate Change Research Institute will lead efforts to assist government agencies and the public.

Eagle III heads out to sea.
Eagle III heads out to sea (Photo: Lynn Ketchum)

By Lee Anna Sherman

As Northwest farmers and homeowners, fishermen and business enterprises, timber operators and political leaders confront the mounting impacts of climate change, OSU and other universities are seeking better ways to lend support and ease transitions.

Two new regional climate centers will apply research to resource management issues faced by the general public and policymakers. With funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Pacific Northwest Climate Decision Support Consortium will bring together faculty from the universities of Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Boise State, as well as Oregon Sea Grant and extension services, to meet the climate-related needs of businesses, governments, tribes and non-governmental organizations.

One of 11 regional groups, the program — Regional Integrated Sciences Assessments (RISA) — will help “to realign our nation’s climate research to better serve society,” according to NOAA.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of the Interior has established a new Climate Science Center with OSU, the University of Washington and the University of Idaho to assist state and federal agencies.

“It is the agencies that create action plans to adapt to climate change,” said Phil Mote, director of the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute at OSU and a leader in both of the new regional centers. “What the Climate Science Center will do is provide the science needed to help the agencies make the best decisions. There also is a role for training students on climate change-related issues and preparing them to work in the organizations the center will serve.”