Oregon's Network of Climate Knowledge

The Oregon State Legislature established the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute (OCCRI) within the Department of Higher Education in 2007. OCCRI is a network of over 150 researchers at Oregon State University (OSU), the University of Oregon, Portland State University, Southern Oregon University, and affiliated federal and state labs. OCCRI is administered by OSU and has a staff of about 15.

OCCRI is tasked with:

  • facilitating research by faculty at Oregon’s public universities on climate change and its effects on natural and human systems in Oregon
  • serving as a clearinghouse for climate change information
  • providing climate change information to the public in integrated and accessible formats
  • supporting the Oregon Global Warming Commission in developing strategies to prepare for and to mitigate the effects of climate change on natural and human systems, and
  • providing technical assistance to local governments to assist them in developing climate change policies, practices, and programs.

The institute also develops periodic assessments of climate change science as it relates to Oregon, and the likely effects of climate change on the state. OCCRI helps Oregonians, government agencies, and the private sector understand the potential impacts of climate variability and change on the state. The institute also helps individuals, agencies, and companies develop new strategies to prepare for climate change.

In September of 2010, OCCRI was named as the anchor institution for two federally funded regional climate science centers. The Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Pacific Northwest Climate Science Center (CSC) is one of eight CSC’s. The CSC serves as a resource for DOI agencies and other partners in providing necessary science in advising policy decisions. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Pacific Northwest Climate Impacts Research Consortium (CIRC) is one of 11 Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) projects. The CIRC is engaging a broad number of stakeholders, including municipalities, utilities, emergency management organizations, irrigators, agricultural and Sea Grant extension, and state and federal agencies. In support of these stakeholders, CIRC is working on developing regional downscaled climate scenarios using integrated climate, hydrological, and vegetation models; PNW region and basin scale climate impacts assessments; social science and network analysis; coastal climate hazard, risk and vulnerability assessments; decision scenario visualization and planning tools; climate extension; public health risk management guidance; and community level adaptation approaches (see http://pnwclimate.org).

Other major 5-year OCCRI projects include Regional Approaches to Climate Change for PNW Agriculture, Forest Mortality and Climate, and Willamette Water 2100.