The University of Arizona is recognized nationally and internationally as a leader in the science of adaptation to climate change, and associated research and outreach to understand climate change, its observed and potential impacts, and possible responses.
Examples of Adaptation
One likely impact of climate change in the arid western United States is decreased reliability of surface water supplies due to reduced winter and spring snowfall, increased evaporation, and possible declines in overall precipitation.
Some adaptations to anticipate decreased surface water supplies include improved water use efficiency, developing alternative water supplies, such as desalinated ocean water, and developing mechanisms for interbasin water transfers during extreme drought.
Likely ecosystem impacts include increased stream temperatures and changes in species due to migration, habitat loss, or competition from invasive species.
Adaptations to address these issues may include resisting change, such as planting or encouraging regeneration of stream-side shade trees to maintain stream temperatures for fish species, or facilitating change through preservation of wildland corridors across the landscape to allow species migration.
University of Arizona Excellence in Adaptation
The University of Arizona (UA) provides a center for regional, national, and international expertise and leadership in science, planning, action implementation, and outreach on adaptation to climate change. UA researchers have a long history of serving as collaborators, consultants, and advisors to adaptation planning efforts. UA scientists, such as Diana Liverman, Katharine Jacobs, Jonathan Overpeck, David Breshears, Steve Archer are leading authors on national and international studies used as the basis to advise nations on adaptation planning, such as the recent America’s Climate Choices reports, commissioned by the National Academy of Sciences.
UA’s leadership in interdisciplinary science—including nationally renowned centers (SAHRA, CLIMAS, Superfund Research Program, Office of Arid Lands Studies, WET Center, NSF-IGERT (Amazon research) funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and NASA—fosters the kind of thinking and collaboration necessary to address complex and wide-reaching problems, such as climate change, sustainable growth and development, and adaptation to climate variations and changes.