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October 2021

In This Issue...
  • SCIPP Awarded NOAA Funding To Continue Work Over Next Five Years
  • SCIPP Begins Phase IV Under New Director Rachel Riley
  • An Evaluation of the Utility of a Decision-Maker-Driven Climate Hazard Assessment Tool
  • August 2016 South-Central Louisiana Rainfall Event
  • SCIPP Investigator Presents at 18th Annual EPA Drinking Water Workshop
  • Southern Flounder and Climate Change in Texas
  • Engaging Artists, Scientists, and Educators in Learning
  • Recovery Efforts Following Hurricane Ida
  • SCIPP Team Member Highlight: Darrian Bertrand
  • Southern Plains Climate Science October Webinar: The Underwater Forest: A Time Capsule from the Last Ice Age
  • South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center Releases Temperature Projections for South Central U.S.


SCIPP Awarded NOAA Funding To Continue Work Over Next Five Years

We are pleased to announce that SCIPP is entering its fourth phase after receiving NOAA funding from the Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments program for a 5-year project entitled, “Planning for Long Term Change in a Short Term World.” The award totals $5.4 million to be distributed over the 2021-2026 period, contingent on congressional appropriations. Our team is led by the University of Oklahoma and includes previous partners Louisiana State University and Texas Sea Grant at Texas A&M University. Phase IV also includes a new formal partner, Adaptation International, which is based in Austin, Texas. 

The project encompasses four themes: climate-informed planning, developing governance and collaborative capacity, extreme events in a changing climate, and climate justice. Together, the themes are designed to help communities and states become more resilient to climate-related challenges.

Read More Here
SCIPP Begins Phase IV Under New Director Rachel Riley

As SCIPP begins its fourth consecutive phase since its genesis in 2008, we congratulate Rachel Riley as she begins her new position as SCIPP Director. Previously, she was SCIPP’s Deputy Director.

Ms. Riley has more than a decade of experience co-producing research and information designed to help communities and states in the South-Central U.S. effectively plan for and respond to climate-related challenges. Her areas of expertise include climate adaptation and hazard mitigation planning, communication, decision support tool evaluation, and social science methodologies.

Throughout her career, Ms. Riley has conducted research on a variety of topics involving hazard mitigation planning, land use planning with emergency management functions, climate decision support tool evaluation, climate needs assessments, and disaster response. In 2019, she received two awards for her involvement in developing the Simple Planning Tool for Oklahoma Climate Hazards, the national Route Fifty Navigator Award and the Oklahoma Chapter of the American Planning Association’s (APA) 2019 award for Outstanding Public Outreach.

Ms. Riley holds a B.S. in meteorology from Iowa State University and an M.S. in interdisciplinary studies (communication and meteorology) from the University of Oklahoma. Currently, she is a member of the American Meteorological Society, American Association of State Climatologists, American Society of Adaptation Professionals, and the Earth Science Women’s Network.

Read More Here

Research Results

An Evaluation of the Utility of a Decision-Maker-Driven Climate Hazard Assessment Tool

In January 2021, SCIPP Director Rachel Riley conducted an evaluation of SCIPP’s Simple Planning Tool for Arkansas and Oklahoma

The Simple Planning Tool is a decision-maker-driven climate hazard assessment tool developed in collaboration with stakeholders. It compiles online interactive climate tools, maps, and graphs that can assist planners and emergency managers in determining historical and future climate hazards for their jurisdiction(s).

The study assessed the tool's saliency, credibility, trustworthiness, and how the tool impacted information use and decision-making in both the Oklahoma and Arkansas versions. The evaluation, published in the peer-reviewed journal Weather, Climate, and Society, found that the tool has high utility despite a relatively limited user base due to the tool being less than one year old at the time of data collection. Among the individuals who used it, however, the tool was found to have high utility throughout a range of variables such as different jurisdictional sizes, geographical scales, and years of experience.

The full publication is available here.

Read More Here

August 2016 South-Central Louisiana Rainfall Event

In April 2020, SCIPP researchers at Louisiana State University Dr. Vincent Brown and Dr. Barry Keim published a paper focused on the historic August 10-14, 2016 rain event that affected south-central Louisiana. The manuscript, How Rare Was the August 2016 South-Central Louisiana Heavy Rainfall Event?, examines the spatiotemporal pattern of precipitation produced by the extreme rainfall event, and was published in the April 2020 issue of the Journal of Hydrometeorology.

Using the Storm Precipitation Analysis System (SPAS), Brown and Keim found that an area roughly 5000 mi2 received approximately 18.3 inches of precipitation in only 96 hours. SPAS also revealed that one location likely received over 34 inches of rain during the event, aligning well with a measured gauge value of 31.39 inches that occurred in 48-hours, a record for Louisiana.

Using the synoptic setting of the event and recurrence intervals to place the storm in a historical context, the manuscript describes two areas north and northeast of Baton Rouge, Louisiana that received 6-hour rainfall amounts, which corresponded to a greater than 1000-year event.

Image Source: Journal of Hydrometeorology 21, 4; 10.1175/JHM-D-19-0225.1

Read More Here


SCIPP Investigator Presents at 18th Annual EPA Drinking Water Workshop

On September 1, 2021, SCIPP Co-Investigator Renee Edwards presented findings from a project with Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy on building resilience to extreme events and water hazard planning in rural communities.

Small, rural coastal communities are especially vulnerable to extreme precipitation and flood impacts due to lack of capacity, resources, and expertise. Thus, the project aimed to reduce flooding risk to small community water systems in rural coastal Louisiana and Alaska. This was accomplished by examining 1) how weather and climate extremes impact water and wastewater systems, 2) contextual factors that shape the level of risk and impact, and 3) the role of networks in supporting community planning and response.

The four case study communities included: Nome, Alaska, Bethel, Alaska, Dillingham, Alaska, and Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana. Sixty (60) water and wastewater managers and support staff were surveyed, and the results allowed the researchers to compare water and wastewater manager information needs and identify key elements of regional networking, communication, and collaboration that can reduce risk and increase regional resilience to extreme events in rural coastal communities.

Image: Project Findings Handout. Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy. 2021.

Download the Project Findings Handout Here

Engaging Artists, Scientists, and Educators in Learning

Theatrical production of Gentilly Lily’s Mystical Porch.
SCIPP Co-Director Barry Keim and graduate student Jessie Parrott recently served as science leaders for a unique community initiative in New Orleans, Louisiana. Engaging Artists, Scientists, and Educators in Learning (EASEL) is a project that joins performing arts and community participatory approaches such as theatrical production to build knowledge on environmental change and encourage application of the science to decision-making. The project by funded by the National Science Foundation.
Keim and Parrott collaborated with artists and educators from Dillard University, STEM Nola, A Studio in the Woods, State University of New York-Buffalo, and ArtSpot Productions to produce an on-stage production entitled Gentilly Lily’s Mystical Porch about the local impacts of climate change. The Gentilly community, a predominantly Black neighborhood in New Orleans, was the focus of this engagement initiative, and the acting participants were drawn from the area. Because this neighborhood resides between 5-10 feet below sea level and faces persistent flooding problems, one of the goals of the project was to help the actors and the audience better understand the landscape in which they live.

As SCIPP continues to seek unique and effective ways to engage with underserved communities, this initiative provided a baseline for exploring new approaches that involve community leaders.
Learn More About EASEL Here

New Resource

Southern Flounder and Climate Change in Texas

SCIPP Research Associate Simone Speizer's most recent publication with Texas Sea Grant outlines the life of southern flounder. The 2-page fact sheet describes the species itself, their growth and development, environmental conditions that affect the population, and how climate change may affect them in the future. For example, warming ocean temperatures could lead to a reduction in the proportion of females in flounder populations, as well as decreased growth rates of larvae.
The fact sheet is available to view or download via the link below.

Download The Fact Sheet Here

Post-Extreme Event Summary

Recovery Efforts Following Hurricane Ida

More than one month has passed since Hurricane Ida made landfall near Port Fourchon, Louisiana, as a Category 4 hurricane. When Ida made landfall on Sunday, August 30, it produced storm surge in excess of 7 feet at Shell Beach, as shown on SCIPP's live surge tracker pictured below. This powerful surge combined with sustained winds of 150 mph caused widespread infrastructure damage throughout Louisiana. Recovery efforts were later inhibited by heavy rainfall from Hurricane Nicholas. 


Federal and state agencies, as well as non-profit organizations, continue to provide assistance to the affected communities. As of September 29, 2021, more than $660 million in grants have been distributed to aid in property damages, rental assistance, and other essential needs such as medical care. In a recent press release, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) details the recovery efforts that the agency is currently undertaking. Assistance includes but is not limited to: temporary housing assistance through the Transitional Sheltering Assistance program, disaster recovery centers offering face-to-face visits with recovery specialists, installation of blue roofs by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and expansion of the Critical Needs Assistance eligibility for survivors of Ida.

Read FEMA's Press Release Here

SCIPP Team Member Highlight

Darrian Bertrand joined the SCIPP team in November 2020 as SCIPP’s Climate Assessment Specialist and is located at the University of Oklahoma (OU). Through engagement with a variety of stakeholders, her current work focuses on the assessment of stakeholder risk and vulnerability to extreme weather and climate events in the south central U.S. and how the use of climate hazard data can better meet the needs of users in decision-making and adaptation efforts. Darrian received a B.S. in Meteorology (2015) and a M.S. in Geography (2017) from OU, where she worked for SCIPP as a Graduate Research Assistant. Previously, she worked for the State Climate Office of North Carolina as an applied climatologist, where she developed a heat stress forecast tool for high school athletes, created gridded forecasts of fire and smoke parameters for fire monitoring and management, and led the climate segment of the NC Drought Management Advisory Council. 

Darrian grew up in Broken Arrow, OK, and has lived in Oklahoma almost all of her life. Outside of work, she and her husband are bossed around by their two active Australian Shepherds.

From Our Partners

“Webinars & Workshops.” South Central CASC, 2021,

The Southern Plains Climate Science Webinar Series will hold its final webinar of 2021 on October 28 at 11:00 a.m CT. The series is a joint initiative between the South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Southern Plains Climate Hub, and SCIPP. 

The Underwater Forest: A Time Capsule from the Last Ice Age features Dr. Kristine DeLong, Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and Anthropology at LSU, discussing her work with a bald cypress swamp forest located 8 miles offshore of Alabama. This unique ecosystem flourished during the last glacial interval and has been a fascinating subject for paleoceanography and paleoclimatology for the last several years.

Registration is open to all who are interested, and participants may sign up at the link below. 
Register Here
South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center Releases Temperature Projections for South Central U.S.

The South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center recently released temperature-based climate projections for the south central U.S. for mid-century (2036-2065) and end-of-century (2070-2099). This collection of statistically downscaled future climate projections includes annual averages for daily high and low temperature, number of heatwaves, number of days the high temperature is greater than 100°F, and number of days the low temperature is less than 32°F.

Image: Dixon K.W., A.M. Wootten, M.J. Nath, J. Lanzante,  D.J. Adams-Smith, C.E. Whitlock, C.F. Gaitán, R.A. McPherson, 2020: South Central Climate Projections Evaluation Project (C-PrEP), South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center, Norman, Oklahoma, USA. DOI:  
View Temperature Projections Here

Follow SCIPP On Social Media

For the latest climate news, follow SCIPP on Facebook and Twitter. Research updates and other news may also be found on our website.
Comic Relief

Zimmerman, Sara. © 2013
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120 David L. Boren Blvd., Suite 2900
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Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program · 120 David L. Boren Blvd, Suite 2900 · Norman, OK 73072 · USA

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