Climate Check

Climate change was discussed during the National Climate Assessment meeting held at the Patel Center.


Kala Vairavamoorthy, dean of the Patel College of Global Sustainability, addresses attendees at the climate meeting.    Photo: Beti Gathegi | Patel CGS


From USF News


TAMPA, Fla. (Feb. 20, 2013) – The Florida Climate Institute held the National Climate Assessment Southeast Regional Meeting at the University of South Florida’s Patel Center for Global Solutions on Feb. 19 for a daylong discussion on the state of climate change in the region and assessment of future plans.


The Global Change Research Act of 1990 established a federal mandate for a report every 4 years that investigates the impact of climate change. Scientists, water managers, public health professionals and countless contributors have put together the current draft National Climate Assessment report ( that the public can comment upon through April 12, 2013 after which the report will be officially submitted to Congress.


The National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee (NCADAC) is seeking feedback on the scientific foundations of the report as well as the way the information is presented. The report is meant for decision makers at every level, therefore the information needs to be accessible. People can comment on the value of the report, where they see the information being useful and they can provide additional information.


The meeting hosted by the Patel College of Global Sustainability was the 7th town hall meeting held since January 2013.  These meetings are an effort by NCADAC to do public outreach and generate discussion around the topic of climate change. Breakout sessions for this southeastern region meeting included Florida specific topics including sea level rise and coastal communities.


Interest in climate change has grown considerably in the past decade, as evidenced by the weekend rally in D.C. that reportedly drew over 35,000 people. The report will serve as a source of reliable scientific information about potential changes so that policymakers can make decisions that are economically beneficial and environmentally sound. This is particularly important given the wide range of opinions and, often conflicting, interpretations of available evidence that are presented to the public.


The Florida Climate Institute will promote cooperation with the private sector, with a Florida-centric focus to help develop a climate-ready workforce and provide detailed information on climate-related risks unique to Florida. The broadened institute will bring together outstanding scientists from multiple state and private universities to conduct research and educational initiatives critical to the future of Florida and its residents. The research and educational initiatives will address vital issues regarding climate change, sea level rise, and the economic and environmental opportunities and risks associated with each.


The FCI was originally developed through a partnership between the University of Florida and Florida State University with the goal of adding complementary expertise from other universities in Florida. A clustering grant funded by the Board of Governors further emphasized the need for Universities and external stakeholders throughout the state to collaborate. To that end, the Florida Climate Institute has expanded to include USF, the University of Central Florida, Florida Atlantic University, and the University of Miami. The expanded capacity will allow each of the respective programs to be more competitive for national and international funding opportunities. 


USF will be joining forces with the partner universities to develop a stronger climate science community within Florida, the nation, and abroad. USF’s efforts will be led by Kala Vairavamoorthy, Dean of the Patel College of Global Sustainability and will be joined on the Florida Climate Institute Executive Board by Gary Mitchum, Associate Dean of the College of Marine Science. The effort will include participation from multiple colleges within the university.