The Oregon Climate Change Research Institute (OCCRI) was created in 2007 by the Oregon State Legislature under House Bill 3543. Among OCCRI’s charges from the Legislature is assessment of “the state of climate change science, including biological, physical and social science, as it relates to Oregon and the likely effects of climate change on the state.” State support to OCCRI has yielded an approximately 12-fold financial return on investment.
To meet its charges from the Legislature, OCCRI serves roles that include the following.
• Facilitate research on climate change and its effects on natural and human systems in Oregon. OCCRI’s research portfolio is broad and deep. We examine observed and projected future climate in Oregon and the Northwest, and contribute to national climate assessments. OCCRI also seeks to incorporate and protect Traditional Knowledges in all phases of preparation for and adaptation to climate change.
• Serve as a clearinghouse for climate change information. OCCRI regularly synthesizes the best science and information available on observed and projected climate and its effects on diverse regions, sectors, and populations throughout Oregon. Our network of researchers and partnerships allows us to rapidly provide policy makers, agencies, and the public with information and assistance that is tailored to their needs and interests.
• Provide climate change information to the public in integrated and accessible formats. OCCRI makes information available via self-service tools, media engagement, and public presentations. Additionally, the Oregon State Climatologist serves as a member of the Oregon Drought Monitor Advisory Committee, which supports the Governor’s office in assessments of water availability and issuance of drought declarations.
• Provide technical assistance to local governments in developing climate change policies, practices, and programs. OCCRI collaborates with communities, both coastal and inland, to explore potential effects of climate change on hazards such as sea level rise-induced flooding and erosion. Sustained relationships between OCCRI and these communities also contribute to assessment of adaptation scenarios as exposure to climate-related hazards increases.
• Produce a biennial assessment on the state of the science of climate change as it applies to Oregon and the likely effects of climate change on the state. The Oregon Climate Assessments provide legislators, nonprofit organizations, the media, and all Oregonians with in-depth knowledge about changes in climate and its potential effects in the near to moderate term.