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Southwest Climate Science Center Annual Report 2014-2015


As the Department of the Interior (DOI) Southwest Climate Science Center (SW CSC) marks its fifth year, many projects have reached completion, producing decision-relevant results, and maturing and newly initiated projects are on course to address critical information needs in the years ahead.

Throughout 2014 – 2015, drought across the southwestern United States made headline news. At the start of 2015, more than 50 percent of the West, which is home to 51 million people, was experiencing moderate to exceptional drought conditions. In California, the drought resulted in the state’s first-ever mandatory statewide water restrictions. SW CSC scientists spent significant time not only studying the unfolding situation in California, but also communicating their findings to resource managers, the business community, and the public.

This year also marked a continuing and increasing commitment to making climate science useful and useable to DOI resource managers, decision makers, and other users of climate information. SW CSC-funded research resulted in new insights into creating successful collaborations between scientists and managers on resource management problems. Additionally, the SW CSC continued to expand its collaborative efforts with the Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) and other partners in the region, including the Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), National Park Service (NPS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Forest Service (USFS), and the states of California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. The SW CSC worked with many of these partners to plan the 2015 Southwest Climate Summit, a two-day conference in Sacramento, California, designed to enhance information sharing and use among scientists, resource managers, and other stakeholders.

SW CSC research in 2014 – 2015 resulted in new tools and frameworks for anticipating, monitoring, and adapting to climate change impacts in the Southwest and elsewhere. This annual report provides an overview of the work of SW CSC researchers, graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, research affiliates, and staff.