WASHINGTON, D.C.-Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar recently announced the selection of the University of Hawaii-Manoa in Honolulu as host of the Department of the Interior's Pacific Islands Climate Science Center (CSC), with the University of Hawaii-Hilo and the University of Guam as consortium partners. He also announced that the University of Massachusetts-Amherst will host the Northeast CSC and the University of Oklahoma the South Central CSC.
The three locations complete the national network of eight CSCs that will serve to provide land managers in federal, state and local agencies access to the best science available regarding climate change and other landscape-scale stressors.
“The Pacific Islands center and other Climate Science Centers will provide the scientific talent and commitment necessary for understanding how climate change and other landscape stressors will change the face of the United States, and how the Department of the Interior, as our nation's chief steward of natural and cultural resources, can prepare and respond,” said Salazar.
The Pacific Islands CSC will focus on advancing the science of climate change in U.S. jurisdictions in the Pacific including Hawaii; the territories of American Samoa and Guam; the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands; Republic of the Marshall Islands; Republic of Palau; and Federated States of Micronesia.
Pacific islands are especially vulnerable to climate change because of their relative isolation and dependence on ocean transport for most resources. By contributing to changes in water cycle processes, weather patterns, ocean conditions, and sea-level rise, scientists report that climate change and other landscape-scale stressors in the islands threatens commerce and sustainability.
Faculty members at the three Pacific Islands CSC institutions are engaged in research across the full range of physical, biological, and social impacts of climate change. Recent work includes research on the causes and prediction of climate variability and change, sea-level rise, and responses of terrestrial and marine ecosystems to these changes.
Salazar noted that the CSCs will expand climate science capabilities without building new facilities or duplicating existing capabilities.
The scientific priorities and agendas of each CSC will be decided in consultation with the Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) in their respective regions-which are also part of the department's coordinated climate change strategy-as well as with other scientists and land managers. The nationwide network of LCCs engages federal agencies, local and state partners, and the public in crafting practical, landscape-level strategies for managing climate change and other landscape-scale stressors impacting the nation's natural and cultural resources.
The CSCs will serve as regional hubs of the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center, located at the headquarters of Interior's U.S. Geological Survey. USGS is taking the lead on establishing the CSCs and providing initial staffing. Together, Interior's CSCs and LCCs will assess the impacts of climate change and other landscape-scale stressors that typically extend beyond the borders of any single national wildlife refuge, national park or Bureau of Land Management unit and will identify strategies to ensure that resources across landscapes are resilient.
A list of the eight regional Climate Science Centers is available http://www.doi.gov/news/pressreleases/Secretary-Salazar-Names-Three-Universities-to-Host-Regional-Climate-Science-Centers.cfm. (OIA)