Aug 4 2017

Awarded cooperative agreement continues partnership that advances climate adaptation research in Alaska

The University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) was awarded a new 5-year cooperative agreement to host the Alaska Climate Adaptation Science Center (CASC) through 2022. UAF has served as the host institution for the Alaska CASC since its inception in 2010, with the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) as a consortium partner. In this new agreement, the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) has joined the Alaska CASC as a consortium partner to increase the capacity of climate science research in Alaska.

The expansion of the Alaska CASC’s university consortium to include UAS provides a unique opportunity for the center to broaden its capacity to study and understand climate impacts across the entire state of Alaska. Collaboration among these partners is a crucial component of the Alaska CASC’s mission to provide unbiased climate science and tools that support climate adaptation and preparedness throughout the state.

Together, UAF, UAA, and UAS, the three hubs in the University of Alaska system, form a triangle of scientific expertise covering a wide range of topics relevant to the CASC’s mission. This allows for a unique opportunity for collaboration in order to co-produce science that is essential to understanding and planning for issues that have a direct impact on Alaskans, as well as delivering that science and decision-support tools to resource users and managers.

“The need to develop actionable science to inform decision needs in Alaska is high and there exists an immediacy to produce sound science that addresses the rapid environmental and climatic changes occurring across Alaska,” said Scott Rupp, the University director of the center.

For this collaboration process, each university contributes significantly with UAF focusing on understanding climate impacts in Arctic and subarctic ecosystems, UAA providing expertise in social and economic sciences, and UAS contributing specialized scientific knowledge related to coastal and temperate rain forest ecosystems.

University-led leadership for the CASC will continue to be provided by Alaska CASC University director Scott Rupp of UAF, working alongside USGS center director Steve Gray. The two scientists have co-led the CASC since its inception in 2010, shepherding the center through its formation, development and maturation.

The continued involvement and leadership of UAF and UAA in the Alaska CASC ensures continuity of the center’s work, which is founded upon relationships between scientists and regional land and resource managers. Now, with UAS as part of the network, the Alaska CASC will expand these relationships to be more responsive to the needs of Alaskan communities at the forefront of climate change.

The Alaska CASC is one of eight regional Climate Science Centers dedicated to delivering science that helps wildlife, water, land and people adapt to a changing climate. The CASCs are deeply rooted in federal-university partnerships; each CASC is hosted by a public university, comprised of a multi-institution consortium, and managed by the USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center. These partnerships ensure access to a broad range of scientific expertise, production of high-quality science, and sharing of funds, resources, and facilities. University involvement also allows the CASCs to introduce the next generation of scientists to the innovative approach of “co-producing” actionable science, a process that involves stakeholders and researchers working closely together to develop projects and obtain results. This process aims to ensure that scientific research and products are usable and directly address real-world problems.

New five-year cooperative agreements were also awarded to the Northwest CASC and Southeast CASC

To learn more about the CASC network, please visit: https://nccwsc.usgs.gov/