A weather research team based at the University of Oklahoma has received a $2.3 million grant from the federal government to continue studies into weather and climate extremes and their impact on south central U.S. communities.
The grant was given to the Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program which is a multi-institutional stakeholder driven research team. It came from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
SCIPP as it’s called was created in 2018 to help south central communities building resilience to weather and climate extremes, according to the announcement from the University. The OU-led SCIPP is one of 11 NOAA Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessment teams across the country and covers the states of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas and coastal Mississippi.
“The challenges of managing ever-increasing extremes in weather across the region is both a physical and social challenge,” said Mark Shafer, lead for SCIPP. “We need to continue advancing our understanding of physical challenges, such as the extreme rainfall in Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and in Louisiana in 2016. We also need to know how it affects communities and what capacities those communities have to prepare and respond. The project allows us to investigate both of these aspects, working closely with community partners to bring science outside of the universities and helping communities become more resilient to such extremes.”
SCIPP improves a community’s adaptability to the adverse effects of climate extremes (tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, wildfires, winter storms, droughts, floods and rising sea levels) by focusing on planning and preparedness, coastal impacts, climate adaptation, use of seasonal to sub-seasonal predictions and drought. Within these five areas, SCIPP works to identify and build new decision support tools, synthesize information for use in planning, conduct research to understand physical and social factors affecting risk, and study how information is shared within communities to improve individual and collective resilience.
Examples of a SCIPP tool includes the Simple Planning Tool, developed in collaboration with city planners and emergency managers in Oklahoma and Arkansas. The tool allows local officials who may not have a technical background to assess their risk. In another example, SCIPP team members synthesized information for use in planning by analyzing historical climate information and model projections to inform how climate may affect the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve’s mission-critical objectives.
The SCIPP project team is led by OU and Louisiana State University with collaborators at the University of Kansas, University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Texas A&M University. SCIPP is located at the Oklahoma Climatological Survey in the OU College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences.