- About Us
- SW Climate
The mission of the Climate Assessment for the Southwest (CLIMAS) program is to improve the region’s ability to respond sufficiently and appropriately to climatic events and climate changes. The program promotes participatory, iterative research involving scientists, decision makers, resource users, educators, and others who need more and better information about climate and its impacts. CLIMAS investigators conduct research on the nature, causes, and consequences of climate change and variability in the southwestern United States.
The intersection of climate variability and change with social phenomena such as population growth, cultural diversity, and climate vulnerability creates a complex environment for stakeholders in the semi-arid and arid southwestern United States. Resource and land managers concerned with maintaining the health of ecosystems and resources face serious climate-related challenges, including severe sustained drought, dramatic seasonal and interannual variations in precipitation, and steadily rising temperatures. Similarly, local, state, and Native Nation governments strive to maintain vital economic growth and quality of life within the context of drought, population growth, vector-born disease, and fragile water supplies. These uncertainties at the climate-society nexus are prompting decision-makers to seek out improved integrated knowledge in the natural and social sciences and decision-support tools. Stakeholders in the region need new and improved tools to help reduce risk and enhance resilience in the face of climate variability and change.
CLIMAS, housed at the University of Arizona's Institute of the Environment, was established in 1998 as part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) program to help address these concerns. The CLIMAS program brings together researchers who study the processes and effects of climate on the Southwest with individuals and organizations that need climate information to make informed decisions. The program promotes the exchange of ideas and information among members of the public, private, nonprofit, and academic communities.
Throughout its history, CLIMAS has worked to assess climate variability and longer-term climate change in terms of impacts on human and natural systems in the Southwest. In doing so, it has also developed a substantial network of stakeholders, research collaborators, and partners. In August 2007 the program entered its third phase, which focuses on understanding risk, resilience, variability and change in climate and water systems, providing decision support, and facilitating knowledge exchange and partnerships.