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2015 Southwest Climate Summit

January 7, 2015

Kandace Knudson, JMIE Academic Coordinator - Environmental and Community Outreach

More than 250 scientists, land managers, and climate science professionals gathered last month in Sacramento for the 2015 Southwest Climate Summit, facilitated by the UC Davis co-led Southwest Climate Science Center (SWCSC). Summit sessions focused on the data-informed problem-solving that scientists and land managers must engage in as a means of protecting natural resources from the dramatic impacts of climate change.

JMIE director and conference co-chair Dr. Mark Schwartz welcomes the 200+ attendees to the 2015 Southwest Climate Summit in Sacramento.

Keynote speakers including The Nature Conservancy Public Policy Director Lynn Scarlett and climate change researcher UCLA Professor and John Muir Memorial Chair of Geography Glen M. MacDonald called for collaboration between managers and scientists, between government agencies and non-profits, and between all of those entities in order to address the intractable challenges of climate analysis and effective modeling—all for the purposes of better management of natural resources.

Specifically, keynotes called for the breaking down of academic silos in order to produce:

* collaborative research between scientists and land managers

* more effective data modeling designed for land managers

* Tribal-informed decision-making in adaptation projects and planning

* agency-academy-land manager cooperative decision-making structures

Former Sec. of Interior Lynn Scarlett addresses attendees of the 2015 Summit

As Scarlett explained, these collaborative solutions are critical, considering that “no challenge is more complex than climate change.” Instead of just drought, climate change brings us complications such as “hot drought.” In that context, scientists aim to understand the additional complications while those managing the natural environment need to work even harder to understand the increasingly complex science. As one summit participant quipped, land managers need ‘science intermediaries’ or ‘climate therapists’ to navigate the tension between science’s need to explain and managers’ need to act.

For more information about the 2015 Southwest Climate Summit, visit


The Southwest Climate Science Center (SWCSC) is one of eight regional Climate Science Centers managed by the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center.  The SW CSC is a collaborative partnership among USGS scientists, resource management agencies, and a consortium of six academic institutions from across the region. Including UC Davis.

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