Scripps Oceanography Receives $3 Million NOAA Grant to Help Decisionmakers Prepare for Hazards and Extreme Events


A climate research program led by scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, along with partners at Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nev., that has spent more than 15 years understanding climate risks will receive a new five-year award from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to improve the ability of decisionmakers in California and Nevada to prepare and plan for hazards and extreme events.

NOAA’s Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) Program recently granted the awards to four research institutions in Arizona/New Mexico and California/Nevada. A total $7.5 million was awarded, and Scripps Oceanography will receive an estimated $3 million over the next five years for work in the California/Nevada region.

For more than 20 years, the RISA Program has produced actionable weather and climate research, helping to reduce economic damages that Americans face due to droughts, floods, forest fires, vector-borne diseases, and a host of other extreme weather impacts. The network of 11 RISA teams across the country works hand-in-hand with stakeholders and decisionmakers across the United States to ensure that research and information is responsive and able to effectively support responses to extreme events. The interagency National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) co-funds drought components of these awards.

At Scripps Oceanography, the grant was awarded to the California-Nevada Applications Program (CNAP), which has a long history of providing cutting-edge climate science to stakeholders in the California and Nevada region. CNAP has been part of the RISA program since 1999.

With the new five-year grant, the CNAP program will focus on climate-driven impacts related to water resources, natural resources, and coastal resources. This includes wildfire warnings and health impacts, sea-level rise and flooding, precipitation events in the Great Basin, climate information for underserved farmers, communication and coordination of the CA/NV Drought Early Warning System, and research projects related to extreme precipitation, seasonal to sub-seasonal forecasting, and incorporation of new evaporative demand data into water management in Southern Nevada.

“The RISA program helps bridge the gap by partnering scientists and key decisionmakers,” said Dan Cayan, research meteorologist at Scripps and co-director of CNAP. “The goal is to have informed stakeholders who can use the latest research to anticipate, prepare for, and respond to climate impacts, and for our researchers to be able to directly support on-the-ground decisions to improve climate resiliency and inform policy.”

CNAP has drawn together climate and hydrologic expertise at Scripps with physical and social scientists from Desert Research Institute other research institutions in California and Nevada. This group has developed collaborations with key users in the two states, including State of California officials who are grappling with climate change vulnerability and adaptation planning and a consortium of agency scientists and managers who study and manage wildfire in the region. CNAP has also worked closely with the California Energy Commission and taken a leading role in the three completed and now fourth ongoing California Climate Assessments.

Across the U.S., two RISA teams were funded in FY17, chosen competitively by an independent, expert review panel. These teams will work closely with communities, resource managers, land planners, public agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector to advance new research on how weather and climate will impact the environment, economy, and society. These teams will also develop innovative ways to integrate climate information into decision-making. Additional teams receiving RISA CLIMAS include researchers from University of Arizona, and New Mexico State University. These new partnerships join 11 ongoing RISAs.

RISA is a program in the Climate Program Office, within NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research. More information about the RISA program and teams is available here:

About NOAA’s Climate Program Office
NOAA’s Climate Program Office helps improve understanding of climate variability and change in order to enhance society’s ability to plan and respond. NOAA provides science, data, and information that Americans want and need to understand how climate conditions are changing. Without NOAA’s long-term climate observing, monitoring, research, and modeling capabilities we couldn’t quantify where and how climate conditions have changed, nor could we predict where and how they’re likely to change.

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