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ESF Joins Effort to Make Climate Change Data Available

Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management also involves Cornell, NOAA

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced a partnership of federal, state and air quality experts, including the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), that that will create an online-based New York Climate Change Science Clearinghouse to make the state's climate science data and literature accessible and useful to the public, decision-makers in state and local government, scientists, universities, private business and non-governmental organizations.

"Over the past two years, New York State has experienced the first-hand effects of extreme weather. As we adjust to the reality of a changing climate, it is imperative that we understand the associated risks and challenges that greatly affect New York's natural resources, communities, public health and economy," said Governor Cuomo. "This database of resources on climate change will allow policy makers, academics, and members of the public to access troves of scientific information that will help guide decisions and future planning."

ESF's participation in the project is led by Dr. Colin Beier, a research ecologist.

"The clearinghouse website will provide the most authoritative, consistent and wide-ranging information available on climate change and its impacts on the economy, environment and communities of New York state," Beier said. "Thanks to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority's (NYSERDA) funding, this site will contribute to climate change science and adaptation planning across New York state and the broader region."

The searchable, web-based repository of scientific data and literature about climate change in New York state will be accessible to the public and used as a tool to inform research and policy decisions. At the completion of this project, New York state will have the tools and information necessary to strengthen its role as a national leader in effectively planning for the impacts of climate change across all sectors of the economy. Areas of focus will include data on sea level rise, precipitation, temperature and extreme events, as well as impacts of climate change on infrastructure, transportation, energy, water resources, emergency response, agriculture and public health. The database is part of a multipronged strategy by the governor to protect and prepare communities from extreme weather events such as Superstorm Sandy.

The Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM), a nonprofit association of air quality agencies in the Northeast, will develop the clearinghouse in partnership with ESF, Cornell University and the federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Funding for the clearinghouse is provided by NYSERDA through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative fund.

"Governor Cuomo has made it a priority to prepare the state to adapt to the challenges of climate change, and the New York State Climate Change Science Clearinghouse will allow us to continue to build upon our current data as we take steps to add resiliency to our systems and infrastructure statewide," said Francis J. Murray Jr., president and CEO of NYSERDA. "As Hurricane Sandy demonstrated so powerfully, climate change is an issue that cannot be ignored. By studying the effects brought upon by climate change, the state can explore mitigation efforts that will protect New Yorkers from extreme weather events."

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is supporting the development of the Climate Change Science Clearinghouse.

"New York communities, businesses and individuals already are seeing economic and public health impacts from climate change. Access to the best available information, research and tools is vital to help anticipate changes, develop effective responses and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that trap excess heat," said Joe Martens, DEC commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation and an ESF alumnus. "By facilitating coordination and data sharing across all sectors, the New York State Climate Change Science Clearinghouse will significantly improve the interface between climate change research and policy."

NESCAUM and its partners were chosen through a competitive solicitation and Cornell will host the clearinghouse.

"NYSERDA's investment in the New York Climate Change Science Clearinghouse has the potential to substantially improve the quality and effectiveness of climate change planning not only in New York, but throughout the Northeast," said Michelle Manion, Climate and Energy Program manager at NESCAUM. "NESCAUM is very excited to bring to bear our expertise in state and regional policy and planning into a partnership with NYSERDA, Cornell, SUNY and NOAA on this landmark project."

"I am looking forward to working with NYSERDA and our other partners at NESCAUM, SUNY-ESF and NOAA on the Climate Change Science Clearinghouse," said Art DeGaetano, a professor at Cornell University. "This project will provide the information necessary for policy-makers and decision-makers to reach scientifically sound decisions regarding climate change."

"NOAA's Regional Climate Services program focuses on the delivery of climate products and services to decision-makers," said Ellen Mecray, Eastern Region Climate Services director at NOAA. "The NYSERDA funds will help us package and provide the climate information needed by the state of New York and other states in the region, as they plan for and adapt to a changing climate."