Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Interior sets up National Climate Change Response Center

On Monday, Sec. of Interior Ken Salazar [right, surrounded by senior DOI officials] issued an Executive Order establishing a National Climate Change Response Center with the USGS providing science leadership, to focus on climate change adaptation and away from the debate over existence or cause of the changes. Among the goals of the NCCRC are to develop and execute management actions with monitoring and feedback. One statement that caught my attention is their goal to moderate harm or exploit beneficial changes.

I’m at the first meeting of the USGS Council on Data Integration, where we were briefed this morning on the new executive order and the critical need for data and data integration.

The NCCRC will come out of a revamp of the year-old National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center. The prototype organization will be a small national office in Reston VA, with an estimated 8 Regional Climate Change Response Center hubs to be set up, at cooperating agencies facilities around the country. The new Climate Change Response Council, composed of the Secretary and Deputy Secretary and the heads of the Interior agencies, meets next week for the first time.

The Council will be looking for input on where to put the regional centers. It sounds like each center will have 5-8 USGS science employees but will support local expertise depending on the specific needs of that region.

In the briefings and discussions here, we’re hearing that geology and related data sets are key elements to be integrated into the system, including surficial geology and soils that were specifically mentioned.

The University of Arizona has reportedly been preparing to compete for one of the anticipated regional hubs although until Monday, it was expected that only 3 or 4 would be set up. UC Davis is rumored to be the strongest competitor.

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