What We Do

Reducing climate risks requires robust and reliable information that people can use when making decisions.

The Climate Impacts Group supports the development of climate resilience by advancing understanding and awareness of climate risks, and working closely with public and private entities to apply this information as they act to shape society’s future.

Our Approach

The Climate Impacts Group develops and delivers scientific information that is both useful to and used by the decision making community by fully integrating research with stakeholder engagement. Our approach involves:

  1. Identifying climate-related information needs and areas of concern in partnership with resource managers, planners and policy makers;
  2. Advancing scientific understanding of regional climate and climate impacts through interdisciplinary research;
  3. Developing, delivering, and supporting the application of targeted information and tools;
  4. Developing, testing, and delivering guidance for climate-smart planning and management; and
  5. Enhancing community understanding and capacity to address climate impacts, risks, and responses through outreach and engagement with natural resource managers, planners, policymakers, non-governmental organizations, businesses, the media, and others.

We work on spatial scales ranging from local communities to the entire western U.S. region, with most work to-date focused on the Pacific Northwest. Research at the Climate Impacts Group is primarily supported by project-based grants and contracts from federal, state, and local sources.

Ongoing Engagement

The Climate Impacts Group has wholly integrated outreach and engagement into its operating model, breaking with academia’s traditional “loading dock” approach to science (where scientific information is produced and “put out there” for people to find, interpret, and apply on their own). Climate Impacts Group team members regularly work with the media, give presentations, meet with stakeholders, and provide one‐on‐one technical support on the interpretation and application of research findings to decision making. Since our founding in 1995, we have developed close connections with the public, private, and tribal groups and agencies responsible for managing Pacific Northwest communities and natural resources. Our integrative approach helps ensure that our work is both useful to and used by stakeholders as they make decisions shaping our society’s resilience to climate impacts.

Our Expertise

Expertise within the Climate Impacts Group’s core staff and its affiliated network of scientists and technical experts includes climate dynamics, climate and hydrologic modeling, ecosystems modeling, impacts and vulnerability assessment, adaptation planning, and climate communications and outreach. These expertise are used to examine questions about climate impacts and risk management across a range of sectors, including:

  • water supply and wastewater management;
  • hydrologic extremes (drought, flooding);
  • hydropower production;
  • forest productivity and wildfire risk;
  • biodiversity and habitat restoration;
  • sea level rise and coastal hazards;
  • infrastructure and the built environment;
  • transportation; and
  • public health and urban air quality.

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