CISA Integrating Climate Science & Decision Making in the Carolinas

CISA: Carolinas Integrated Sciences and Assessments, A NOAA RISA Team

CISA's Mission & History

CISA's Mission

The CISA team creates, tailors, and integrates climate information to advance equitable planning and management approaches to support healthy and resilient communities and environments for all in the Carolinas.

We believe this mission can only be achieved by integrating principles of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion:

  • Support inclusive participation
  • Create opportunities for all voices to be heard and included in decision-making
  • Partner with others to address issues which disproportionately impact marginalized, underserved, and under-resourced communities
  • Make climate information accessible to all

CISA's History

The CISA program was established in 2003 on the heels of a record-breaking drought, with a small team of researchers based at the University of South Carolina and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. CISA's work focused initially on the water resources sector and the development of information and tools to enhance drought management. Since then, the CISA program has evolved and expanded in order to meet regional needs for decision-relevant climate information and to support the capacity of communities to respond and adapt to climate-related stresses.

Major milestones in the program's development include

  • establishment of a coastal climate extension program with NC and SC Sea Grant in 2007;
  • research and stakeholder engagement for the third National Climate Assessment in 2010;
  • expansion of our portfolio of projects to include integrated climate-health work;
  • collaboration with the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) to support the coordination of a regional Drought Early Warning System for the coastal Carolinas;
  • additional outreach, communications, and engagement efforts across the Carolinas through materials such as a quarterly newsletter, Carolinas Climate Listserv, and the biennial Carolinas Climate Resilience Conference.

CISA has established long-term partnerships with many of our collaborating investigators, including partners at Sea Grant, the State Climate Offices, the Southeast Regional Climate Center, and the USGS South Atlantic Water Science Center. Working with these collaborators enables us to leverage expertise from other agencies and organizations and build robust and coordinated efforts around climate research and decision support activities.

Today, our interdisciplinary, multi-state team works with partners and decision makers across the Carolinas. We integrate social and natural sciences to characterize the risks, vulnerabilities, and potential impacts of climate variability and change. From the insights we gain, we develop decision-relevant tools and analyses that meet our stakeholders' specific needs and help build regional capacity to address climate concerns. By emphasizing processes that facilitate learning, we help to foster information exchange among decision makers, researchers, and climate service providers. This portfolio of research and engagement is designed to achieve CISA's overarching mission of increasing adaptive capacity in the Carolinas.