CORVALLIS, Ore. - Four candidates seeking to become the first director of the new Oregon Climate Change Research Institute will visit Oregon State University during the next two months, beginning this Tuesday.

The institute was established in 2007 by the Oregon Legislature to help the state better plan for and respond to issues relating to climate change. The new entity, an Oregon University System institute, will be administered by OSU - where it will be physically located - and its institutional partners within OUS.

The candidates are David R. Easterling, chief of the Scientific Services Division of the National Climatic Data Center; David S. Gutzler, professor of earth and planetary sciences at the University of New Mexico; Philip W. Mote, state climatologist for Washington and a professor at the University of Washington; and Daniel M. White, director of the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy and a professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

"Climate change issues continue to present extraordinary challenges to policy-makers as well as the scientific community," said Mark Abbott , dean of the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, where the new institute will be housed. "All of these candidates have a great deal of experience in addressing these challenges and are well-positioned to help Oregon plan its future."

Each of the candidates will meet with Oregon University System faculty and administrators during two-day visits and present a public seminar. The schedule for the public seminars, located in Burt Hall 193, includes:

  • Sept. 2: Philip Mote, University of Washington, "Exploring the Impacts of Climate Change in the Northwest" - 3:30 to 5 p.m.
  • Sept. 25: David Gutzler, University of New Mexico, "Analyzing and Discussing Climate Change Lessons from the Southwest" - 3:30 to 5 p.m. 
  • Oct. 6: Daniel White, University of Alaska Fairbanks, "Climate Change Adaptation: An Opportunity Not to be Missed" - 3:30 to 5 p.m.
  • Oct. 8: David Easterling, National Climatic Data Center, "Observed and projected Changes in Climate Extremes" - 3:30 to 5 p.m.

Mote has been a research scientist with the University of Washington's Climate Impacts Group since 1998. He previously worked for NorthWest Research Associates studying the dynamics of the stratosphere, and was on the faculty of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. He was a lead author on an assessment report that was an integral part of the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Gutzler has been at the University of New Mexico since 1995. He previously worked as a physicist with NOAA's Aeronomy Laboratory in Boulder, Colo., as senior staff scientist with Atmospheric and Environmental Research, Inc. in Cambridge, Mass., and as a scientific programmer with the NASA Goddard Laboratory. His research focuses on interactions between the ocean and atmosphere and dissemination of climate science to the public and policy makers.

White is the director of the Institute of Northern Engineering at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where he has been since 1995. White is a consultant to Alaska governor's task force on climate change, as well as to numerous state commissions and legislators. He also directs the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy and is chairing a review of the National Science Foundation's Office of Polar Programs.

Easterling has been with the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., since 1990 and also has been an adjunct professor at Indiana University and the University of North Carolina at Asheville. He directs the Applied Research Center for NOAA's Climate Program Office, and is the science lead for the NOAA Climate Reference Network. Easterling also was a lead author on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.

The new Oregon Climate Change Research Institute, or OCCRI, is designed to: facilitate research by OUS faculty on climate change and its effects on natural and human systems in Oregon; serve as a clearinghouse for Oregon decision-makers on climate change information; provide climate change information to the public; support the new Oregon Global Warming Commission in developing strategies to mitigate the effects of climate change; and provide technical assistance to local governments to assist them in developing climate change policies, practices and programs.

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Mark Abbott,