From The Director
Welcome to the Texas Center for Climate Studies (TCCS). The center was established at Texas A&M University in 1993 to initiate, encourage, and support climate-related programs in research, education, service, and outreach, particularly as they relate to improving the quality of life and economic health of residents of the State of Texas. Since that time, many advances have been made. We are in the final stages of developing comprehensive prediction models of the regional climate system that can help us estimate and project how weather patterns, particularly extreme events, such as hurricanes, droughts and heat waves, may change. That, in turn, is linked to everything from energy demand to water availability, agricultural productivity to land use, human and animal health to property loss, and on and on. Because our climate is so deeply connected with human and environmental sustainability, changes in climate may well drive or disrupt many of the major economic sectors of Texas (agriculture, energy, tourism, manufacturing). The future resilience of the Texas economy, society, and environment will depend on how well informed we are and how well we can mitigate changes and/or adapt to them before they damage quality of life.
The TCCS mission is to advance understanding of why and how the climate is changing, and what those changes will mean for the State of Texas. Texas is uniquely susceptible to climate change, perhaps more than almost any other state, because it is situated in a region that divides the moisture-surplus climates to the east and the Chihuahuan Desert to the west. Any changes to the east-west divide between wet and dry regimes will have dire consequences to the region along this divide that includes the major cities of San Antonio, Austin, Waco, and Dallas-Forth Worth. Our coastal cities, including Galveston, Corpus Christi, and Houston, are highly vulnerable to large hurricanes and coastal flooding that are projected to change in the future. For these reasons, Texas has been identified as one of the climate change hotspots in the US. A primary research objective of TCCS is to advance understanding of the climate system and climate impacts, improve climate predictions and projections, and better inform adaptation and mitigation strategies. Anticipating possible impacts of climate change on Texas can be accomplished by developing reasonable projections of a changed climate at a regional scale. Doing that requires the integrated expertise of atmospheric scientists, oceanographers, hydrologists, ecosystem scientists and many others. Therefore, TCCS is providing a hub for multidisciplinary research teams from institutions across Texas and the nation to work together to solve these complex problems.
We hope TCCS will be one platform for helping Texas become climate resilient. That will require the effective transfer of climate knowledge to the sectors that will be impacted. Our goal is to take an active role in communicating information about climate change and its potential impacts to the public. There is a great deal of uncertainty about climate change and how it may ultimately affect communities and individuals. Misconceptions, skepticism, and innumerable communication barriers continue to cloud the effective exchange of climate change information. We want to establish a culture of open exchange that acknowledges the diversity of opinions and world-views on climate change.
Addressing the many aspects of climate change across Texas will require time, effort, and expertise. We invite you to join us in this important endeavor through collaborative research, education and outreach programs, citizen science, and knowledge-transfer.
Thank you for your interest in the climate of Texas.