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SCIPP Researchers Focus on Planning for Long-Term Change in a Short-Term World

Researchers with the Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program (SCIPP) at the University of Oklahoma have been awarded an expected $5.4 million grant from the Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Program Office, contingent on congressional appropriations.

The five-year project, "Planning for Long-Term Change in a Short-Term World," is focused around four themes: climate-informed planning, developing governance and collaborative capacity, extreme events in a changing climate and climate justice.

SCIPP director Rachel Riley said these themes are designed to help communities and states become more resilient to climate-related challenges.

"Learning how to incorporate climate information effectively into long-term plans opens opportunities for mitigating climate impacts," Riley said. "Recognizing the financial and policy levers available to communities reveals how disasters can become sources of future resilience and understanding how climate change may affect the frequency and intensity of events equips communities with foresight and preparedness. Climate justice assures that all members of communities have a voice in policies and activities taken to lessen the impacts of future events."

"This funding will enable us to continue to collaborate with decision makers in the region and advance research that helps communities reduce the impact of their climate-related challenges," she added. "The interdisciplinary and stakeholder-driven nature of the project is a unique arrangement that allows us to build truly impactful partnerships and knowledge." 

SCIPP helps inform organizational decision making to build resilience by collaboratively producing research, tools and knowledge that reduce weather and climate risks and impacts across the South-Central U.S., which includes Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana.

"SCIPP engages with stakeholders to identify specific ways in which their plans and operations are impacted by extreme events and connects them to relevant and actionable climate information that can inform their planning and decision-making processes," said Riley. "Where possible, deeper interactions are identified that can result in co-production of new knowledge or tools."

This award marks the fourth consecutive phase for the program which began in 2008. SCIPP is led by OU and has included partners at Louisiana State University and Texas Sea Grant at Texas A&M University.

"A new partner in phase IV is Adaptation International," Riley said. "Although Adaptation International is a new member of the SCIPP team in a formal capacity, the Austin, TX-based company has collaborated with SCIPP on several projects over the years."

In recent years, the team has made physical science advancements including improving researchers' understanding of changes in hourly precipitation, extreme heat in Louisiana, and wildfire impacts on the Southern Plains.

Social scientific advancements and engagement have improved understanding how knowledge management practices can enhance the use of science in decision making, the utility of a climate decision support tool, how previously flood-prone Tulsa, Oklahoma succeeded in mitigating the hazard, and improved researchers' understanding of climate-related needs of small- to medium-sized Gulf Coast water utilities.

In addition to academic publications, SCIPP researchers and engagement specialists have contributed to local and state planning documents, working groups, workshops, and developed online tools.


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