MANHATTAN, Kan. – An increased investment in climate research and climate/weather data management at Kansas State University has paid off with national recognition for the program.
The Department of Agronomy recently achieved the American Association of State Climatologists Recognized State Climate Office (ARSCO), designation, according to Gary Pierzynski, agronomy department head and professor. This represents an important milestone.
“The demand for climate-related research and education is increasing, and we are committed to providing the best possible information for the state of Kansas, the Central Plains region, and on a national and global scale,” Pierzynski said.
“In addition to work on climate change issues, climate research will help improve irrigation scheduling and water use efficiency in Kansas, which is so very important in preserving our valuable water resources for the future,” he added.
One of the keys to attaining ARSCO designation was the recent hiring of Xiaomao Lin as state climatologist and assistant professor in the department of agronomy, Pierzynski explained. Lin brings the research credentials needed for the program to achieve ARSCO status.
As the state climatologist, Lin will be involved in gathering, organizing and reporting agricultural climate data for Kansas. He will be working with others in the climate team in agronomy to set up a mesonet system in the state.
His current and future research will involve investigating the atmospheric mechanisms related to drought in western Kansas, interpreting extreme events from a climate perspective, and assessing the more general impacts and adaptations related to climate change in Kansas.
This is in line with the kind of work he had been involved with in his previous position with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he was assessing the quality assurance of historical and current climate data; climate change detection and visualization, mesonet organization; bio-atmospheric interactions, and soil water/drought-related research.
In addition to the hiring of Lin, the department of agronomy also hired Christopher Redmond as manager of the Weather Data Library; Brian Petersen as a web/database developer for the Weather Data Library web site; and Fred Caldwell as a full-time technician for establishment and maintenance of weather monitoring equipment. Mary Knapp also serves in the Weather Data Library.
“Taken together, all of these changes and additions represent a major investment in climate research, climate data gathering, and outreach in Kansas,” Pierzynski said.
“Also, as an important part of this overall effort, we established an advisory board for our new climate program. This board consists of representatives from the Kansas Water Office, Ground Water Management Districts, crop consulting companies, faculty, and producer organizations,” Pierzynski added.
All state ARSCO programs in the country are expected to engage in a variety of activities and services that include one or more of the following:
- Coordinate and collect weather observations for the purpose of climate monitoring.
- Summarize and disseminate weather and climate information to the user community.
- Demonstrate to the user community the value of climate information in the decision making process.
- Perform climate impact assessments and weather event evaluations.
- Conduct climate research, diagnosis, and projections.
The American Association of State Climatologists, National Climatic Data Center, and the Regional Climate Centers are fully committed to supporting the development of the ARSCO program.