Climate Hub
6:19 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

NC State Is Becoming A Federal Government Favorite For Big Projects

NC State University
NC State University
Credit NC State

It's been a big year for NC State - and it's only February.

Back in January, President Obama visited NC State University to announce a new manufacturing hub focused on renewal energy. Just a couple weeks ago, the Southeast Climate Science Center, established by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 2010, finally had it's grand opening (the center says it's been too busy to formally celebrate).

Now, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is establishing a new consortium in the city - the Southeastern Regional Climate Hub, or "SERCH". It's one of seven regional hubs in the country, this one representing 11 states in the region, plus Puerto Rico.

The idea is to turn climate research into practical tools for farmers and landowners. Steven McNulty, an ecologist with the USDA's Forest Division, will head the project. He said that for last 20 years, climate scientists have done a great job of collecting data, but not such a good job of making that data useful for those dealing with the immediate effects of climate change.

"SERCH is designed to take science that already exists and translate that into tools that the land owner or the land manager can use on a day-to-day basis, or for planning purposes into the future."

"SERCH is really designed to turn that around," he said. "SERCH is designed to take science that already exists and translate that into tools that the land owner or the land manager can use on a day-to-day basis, or for planning purposes into the future."

So how drought might affect hay production or feed production. "And how that can affect livestock availability, and how that could impact consumer prices and markets for those goods," said McNulty.

It won't be a huge jobs creator, like the manufacturing hub announce last month. The climate hub is meant to be more of a clearinghouse for research already being completed, using organizations already working in the field. However, McNulty says making these commodities more sustainable will effect the work that large manufacturing hub is able to do. Climate change management is key to understanding how renewable energy will be a part of the marketplace.

The hub will be based at NC State's Centennial Campus.