NORMAN — Ten months after it was announced, a climate science center based in Oklahoma is beginning to get off the ground.
The South Central Climate Science Center is a consortium of four universities, two American Indian tribes and a federal agency. It is one of eight regional climate science centers managed by the U.S. Geological Survey.
In October, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced the University of Oklahoma had been selected to host the center. Since then, an office has been established on the OU Research Campus and this week a director was named for the center.
Kim Winton, the center's first permanent director, began work Monday. She has served as director of the U.S. Geological Survey's Oklahoma Water Science Center for the past 10 years and has also worked for the Environmental Protection Agency's National Groundwater Risk Management Lab in Ada. She holds a bachelor's degree in zoology and master's degree in agronomy from Oklahoma State University and a Ph.D. in agronomy from the University of Arkansas.
In the months and years ahead, she said, the center will provide information to resource managers and the public about what changes they can expect to see and how to plan for them.
The idea, Winton said, is to project the impact on the region as a result of climate change and give resource managers information they can use to make educated decisions based on what they're likely to see.
“Knowing that you may have more drought or knowing that you may have floods is one thing,” she said. “But what do you do about it?”
Robin O'Malley, policy and partnership coordinator with the U.S. Geological Center's National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center, said having the information available will allow agencies to dedicate their resources in areas where they'll do the most good.