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The Institute of the Environment strives to create larger research projects and programs that stretch far beyond the single investigator and discipline to create an array of integrated knowledge that more effectively serves the public. These larger efforts are based on broad partnerships, often across three or more colleges on the UA campus, and often with partners in other universities, the private sector, government agencies, and the public arena. Interdisciplinary IE-related initiatives include:
Climate Assessment for the Southwest
Climate Assessment for the Southwest (CLIMAS) assesses the impacts of climate variability and longer-term climate change on human and natural systems in the Southwest. CLIMAS is designed to improve the ability of the region to respond sufficiently and appropriately to climatic events and climate changes.
Southwest Climate Science Center
The Southwest Climate Science Center (SWCSC) is part of a network of eight climate science centers created by the U.S. Department of the Interior to provide scientific information, tools, and techniques that land, water, wildlife, cultural resource, and municipal managers can use to anticipate, monitor, and adapt to climate change. The SWCSC is hosted by a consortium of six institutions in the Southwest: University of Arizona, Tucson; University of California, Davis; University of California, Los Angeles; Desert Research Institute, Reno; University of Colorado, Boulder; and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego.
Translational Environmental Research
Supported by the Technology and Research Initiative Fund (TRIF), Translational Environmental Research (TER) is designed to support and promote seven interrelated initiatives at UA: engineering for a sustainable environment; environmental informatics and decision-support; economics, law, policy, and the environment; environmental entrepreneurship; biogeochemistry and ecosystem dynamics; hydrometeorology and climate; and environment and health. These initiatives serve critical needs in the development of environmental technology and knowledge that can address challenges posed by environmental and societal changes in Arizona and around the world.
CHANGE, the Climate and Hydrology Academic Network for Governance and the Environment is a knowledge exchange and research coordination network between academic researchers and experts from non-governmental and governmental organizations in North America. The explicit goal of the network is to foster cross-border cooperation to enhance the use of climate and hydrologic research and better inform North American water policy challenges. Knowledge from CHANGE will be communicated to policy-makers working on issues related to water stress, drought impacts, adaptation to changing water regimes due to climate and land use changes, and monitoring water-related issues.
Sustainability Under Uncertainty
Sustainability Under Uncertainty explores the possibility of building an integrated, collaborative, interdisciplinary program at The University of Arizona that specifically focuses on the sustainability of ecosystems in the arid and semiarid borderlands.
Wildfire Alternatives is an interdisciplinary research initiative aimed at improving our understanding of the processes and consequences of interactions among wildfire, climate, and society. WALTER seeks to capitalize on advances in geospatial, analytical, and web delivery technology to provide access to scientific research activities and findings, educational materials, and decision support tools.
Climate variability and change present both challenges and opportunities for the United States. To be better prepared, the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) led a National Assessment of the Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change. As part of this project, The University of Arizona's Institute of the Environment coordinated the Southwest Regional Assessment to determine the potential consequences of climate change and variability for key sectors in the Southwest.