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N.Y.'s climate change clearinghouse to offer info to all

Johnathan Corson-Rikert
Art DeGaetano
Mary Ochs

No longer an abstract concept, climate change is affecting the air, sea and land. To comprehend the effects on New York and the Northeast region, scientists begin collaborating this summer on the New York Climate-Change Science Clearinghouse, a Web-based, map-enabled reference library and climate database to be headquartered at Cornell.

A team of academic, nongovernmental, state and federal scientists will develop the project. At Cornell, Art DeGaetano, professor of climatology and director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Northeast Regional Climate Center, will lead the effort.

Climate change affects all sectors of the New York economy. “This project will provide the information necessary for policy- and decision-makers to reach scientifically sound decisions regarding climate change,” said DeGaetano. The public also will have access to the data.

Over the past two years, New York has experienced sufficient extreme weather, raising concern for climate change. “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 N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo in an Earth Day speech.

Cornell is New York’s land-grant university, and Mann Library – the agriculture and life sciences library – will play a key role by helping to create a seamless repository linking data, maps, and scientific and policy documents in disseminating information. “We see the climate-change science clearinghouse as a critical part of our land-grant, core mission,” says Mary Ochs, director of the Mann Library.

Jonathan Corson-Rikert, director of information technology services for Mann Library, explained that the clearinghouse will integrate maps, volumes of climate data and documents. The data includes air temperature, precipitation, sea level and extreme weather events. The clearinghouse will offer data and analysis on economics, agriculture, public health, water supply, transportation systems and emergency response.

Cornell’s formal partners include the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management, a nonprofit association of air quality agencies in the Northeast; the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse; and NOAA. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, will fund the project.

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John Carberry