The Department of the Interior has selected the University of Alaska to be the first of eight planned regional Climate Science Centers in the nation. In making the announcement, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar explained that Regional Climate Science Centers and their networks will provide science about climate change impacts, help land managers adapt to the impacts, and engage the public through education initiatives. In short, Climate Science Centers will better connect our scientists with land managers and the public.
In addition to the Alaska region, Climate Science Centers will be selected in seven additional regions throughout the country as directed by a 2009 Secretarial Order on climate change. Interior will be seeking grant proposals for four more Climate Science Centers in the next few weeks, including centers in the Northwest, Southeast, Southwest and North Central regions.
Interior hopes to have the new Climate Science Center at the University of Alaska formally established in Anchorage within six to eight weeks. Also on the drawing board is a network of Landscape Conservation Cooperatives that will engage federal agencies, local and state partners, and the public in crafting practical, landscape-level strategies for managing climate change impacts within the eight regions.