UNL Climate Center May Earn New Funding

Senate bill to be considered this month.

The High Plains Regional Climate Center, headquartered at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and five other centers around the nation would share in a $5 million appropriation under a recommendation in the 2008 Senate Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations bill.

The High Plains Regional Climate Center collects near real-time weather and climate data, conducts research on weather and climate and its impact on crop production, and provides educational and informational services. An online system provides information about weather, crop water use and performance for major crops, pest development, livestock conditions, soil water and heat indices.

"The High Plains Regional Climate Center is an incredible resource for Nebraska and the nation, providing data to anyone interested in climate and its impacts," says Prem Paul, UNL vice chancellor for research. "The 34.5 million hits the climate center's Web site received in 2006 are evidence of the intensive use of its data."

The High Plains Regional Climate Center Web site is at hprcc.unl.edu.  

The funds were included in the bill at the request of Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb, a member of the Appropriations Committee.

"The High Plains Regional Climate Center is doing great work," Nelson says. "It provides valuable information to farmers, ranchers and businesses as well as researchers. I was pleased the committee recognized the significance of this work and provided the funds necessary for the climate center to pursue its mission to increase the use and availability of climate data in the region."

Other regional climate centers included in the bill are the Illinois State Water-Survey, Champaign, Ill.; Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.; the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Columbia, S.C.; Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, La.; and the Desert Research Institute, Reno, Nev.

The Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations bill, which contains funding for the center, will be considered on the Senate floor in July.

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