The University of Arizona

New Site Combines Social Networking and Climate Change

By Stephanie Doster, Institute for Environment and Society | January 22, 2009

The newly launched Southwest Climate Change Network Web site will link experts and community memberrs who are concerned about climate change issues in the Southwest.

Scientists, policy makers and general community members are expected to use the Southwest Climate Change Network, a virtual community that seeks to inform experts and the public about issues related to climate change in the Southwest.
Scientists, policy makers and general community members are expected to use the Southwest Climate Change Network, a virtual community that seeks to inform experts and the public about issues related to climate change in the Southwest.

The Institute for Environment and Society along with the Climate Assessment for the Southwest, both at The University of Arizona, are launching the first Web site known to combine social networking with climate science to help people and organizations understand and plan for climate change in the Southwest.

The Southwest Climate Change Network Web site is a virtual community in which scientists, decision makers and the public share information on climate change and collaborate on solutions to adapt to the impacts of climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"There is a lot of novelty to what we are doing," said Joe Abraham, the network's project manager.

"We've incorporated some newer Web technologies to create a network that, like social networking Web sites, has features that allow people to form groups, collaborate, and communicate effectively and virtually across the Web," Abraham said.

The site, he said, has been designed in a way to support planning and action among government, business and members of the public.

Abraham will unveil the new site during the conference, "Adaptation to Climate Change in the Desert Southwest: Impacts and Opportunities," on Thursday at 9 a.m. The conference will be held at the Westward Look Resort in Tucson.

"The Southwest is the climate change hot spot for our nation, and we need real-world approaches to understanding and meeting the challenge," said Jonathan Overpeck, the lead climate scientist on the project and co-director of the Institute for Environment and Society.

"The Southwest Climate Change Network is an exciting new approach to bring everyone together to deal with climate change in our region," Overpeck said.

A recognition of the growing need for information about the changing climate fueled the development of the network. Arizona, New Mexico and the greater Southwest are projected to be warmer and drier in the coming decades as a result of greenhouse gas emissions.

The network is designed to bring together a diverse group of scientists and other experts from a variety of organizations across the Southwest who have a deep knowledge of climate change science and solutions.

The Web site will include a database and feature articles and other publications in which experts share their knowledge of climate science and low-carbon solutions.

The site also will include a database and moderated discussions, scientific information from basic principles to complex processes. It will also feature online news about research, low-carbon business and information about local climate change issues from around the Southwest.

"We realize the challenge of climate change is great, and I don't think any one organization posses the resources or expertise to take on that challenge alone," Abraham said.

"The network is an effort to organize the resources in the region to make information more accessible, reveal interconnections, and stimulate those synergies and find those opportunities that will help the region address the challenge of climate change," he added.

Contacts

Jonathan Overpeck

Institute for Environment and Society 

520-907-6480

jto@email.arizona.edu


Joe Abraham

Southwest Climate Change Network

520-792-2246

jabraham@email.arizona.edu