$4.5 million grant to help OU researchers better prepare for climate extremes

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NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – The University of Oklahoma received a multimillion dollar climate study grant.

University of Oklahoma. Photo by Robert H. Taylor

The university was awarded a $4.5 million grant “to apply cutting-edge science, data and tools in preparation for climate extremes such as droughts, floods and heat waves,” according to an OU news release.

The grant was made possible by the U.S. Geological Survey, and enables the South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center to continue operation on the OU Norman campus for the next five years.

Science Center researchers help decision makers across Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana and New Mexico better understand climate impacts and climate adaptation related to natural and cultural resource management, according to the news release.

โ€œWe have seen devastating wildfires, extraordinary drought conditions, extensive flooding and other climate-related disasters just in the past five years across our region,โ€ says Renee McPherson, director of the South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center and OU associate professor of geography and environmental sustainability. โ€œWe know that the costs and damages of these disasters are rising. Now is the time to build resilience in our communities, water resources, coastal environments, forests and other landscapes. The Climate Adaptation Science Center gathers many of the top scientists in the south-central United States and targets their work on science that helps us combat these climate extremes.โ€

The Science Center was established in 2012. Since then, the Center’s scientists have collaborated with researchers on an array of research topics.

“For example, researchers mapped wildfire likelihood to assist fire managers in preparing for wildfire events. Others investigated the impacts of a changing climate on snowpack, streamflow, native wildlife or invasive plants to develop planning scenarios for managers,” the news release said.

The Center has also studied methods for effectively monitoring soil moisture and drought conditions to help decision makers be proactive for extreme hot and dry conditions.

“By identifying how climate extremes are likely to affect the south-central United States in the coming decades, the science team can help resource managers build resilience in their national or state parks, wildlife refuges, tribes, communities or other jurisdictions,” the news release said.

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