The Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program (SCIPP) is a climate hazards research program whose mission is to assist organizations with making decisions that build resilience by collaboratively producing research, tools, and knowledge that reduce weather and climate risks and impacts across the South Central United States. SCIPP focuses on climate challenges in Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and coastal Mississippi (see image below). The South Central United States experiences a multitude of hazard types, including severe storms, hurricanes, flood, drought, winter storms and wildfires coupled with climate-related stressors of relative sea-level rise and changes in the frequency and intensity of drought and floods.
Since 1980, The United States has experienced 246 weather-related disasters in which overall damages and costs reached or exceeded $1 billion, with the majority of these disasters occurring in the Southern United States. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), SCIPP states are among the most disaster declared in the United States. As of early 2019, all four SCIPP states were ranked within the top 20 most disaster declared states across the country since 2000, with two states (Oklahoma and Arkansas) being ranked in the top 3 over the past 10 years. The SCIPP region also suffers from a frequent recurrence of drought, which are rarely included in FEMA disaster declarations. Regardless of the methods of designating disasters, SCIPP aims to bring equal attention to all major climate hazards.
By integrating physical and social science knowledge into the hazard planning process, the SCIPP Team focuses on understanding decision processes, advancing knowledge of regional climate-related threats, synthesizing existing knowledge, and collaboratively identifying viable solutions. Through collaboration with regional stakeholders, SCIPP seeks to improve communities’ ability to plan for, absorb, recover from and successfully adapt to adverse effects of extreme weather events and climate change.
The overarching theme of SCIPP’s current grant phase (2018-2021) is helping communities build resilience to weather and climate extremes. This is enshrined in SCIPP’s core focus on planning and preparedness. Surrounding this core of planning and preparedness are four closely related research and engagement topics: coastal impacts, climate adaptation, drought, and use of seasonal to sub-seasonal predictions.
In Phase III, SCIPP seeks to address eleven objectives that aim to connect knowledge of current challenges and changes in the physical climate system, how information may be used to improve planning and preparedness, and how other local community resources can be brought into planning processes to improve resilience. The objectives include: projections, in planning processes applied to climate adaptation and planning efforts used for climate adaptation.
1.Assess changes in the frequency of events that may change hazard exposure profiles in communities within the region.
2.Improve the use of climate information, from sub-seasonal to seasonal forecasts to climate change.
3.Learn how under-utilized community resources can be brought into planning to build preparedness and resilience.
4.Assess the impacts of storm surge and flooding events on infrastructure.
5.Compare perceptions of risk related to flooding from hurricane storm surge to flooding from inland rainfall.
6.Information selection and use in assessing risk of coastal storms and floods.
7.Assess how climate information is used and accessed by stakeholders within the region and identify how it can be
8.Create a map of a regional knowledge management network related to the management and distribution of information
9.Document the impacts of rapid succession of wet and dry cycles on water resources, agriculture, and wildfire.
10.Assess gaps in research, products, and services applied to sector needs.
11.Identify types of information needed from seasonal to sub-seasonal forecasts.
The Regional Integrated Science Assessments (RISA) Program is a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) funded set of regional projects focused on strengthening the linkage between climate sciences and societal impacts. The program began in the mid 1990s to establish an increased level of communication between climate researchers and decision makers to enhance preparedness and mitigation for El Nino. In particular, RISA programs were developed to provide focus to regional climate variability issues such as water availability, agriculture, coastal issues, public health, wildfire vulnerability, coping with drought, energy issues, and many other areas of focus. Through RISA’s stakeholder-focused research, scientists and decision makers have successfully come together to openly discuss climate issues, share knowledge, and identify areas requiring more research and attention in the future. As of 2017, there are 11 RISA teams spanning much of the western, southern and eastern United States, as well as Alaska, and Hawaii.