Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced last week that Alaska will be home to the nation’s first regional climate center, one of eight to be established throughout the country. The new center will be located at the University of Alaska in Anchorage, and should be formally underway within six to eight weeks.
With rapidly melting Arctic-sea ice and permafrost, and threats to the survival of Native Alaskan coastal communities, Alaska is ground zero for climate change,” Salazar said in a statement. “We must put science to work to help us adjust to the impacts of climate change on Alaska’s resources and peoples.”
The goal of the regional climate centers is to help land and other resource managers deal more effectively with climate impacts, as well as engage and educate the public about the science and impacts of climate change.
The centers will expand on the ongoing work of the U.S. Geological Survey’s “regional hubs” of the National Climate Change and Wildlife Service Centers. The hubs provide impact data and analysis designed to assist fish and wildlife managers develop adaptation strategies.
Under a secretarial order issued last fall, the centers will be renamed as their mission is expanded to consider more thoroughly the climate impacts on national resources and regions. The new climate centers will recruit staff from the USGS, partner organizations, and outside researchers and scientists.