The Southwest Climate Adaptation Science Center (SW CASC) is a collaborative federal-
university partnership between the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and seven academic
institutions from across the U.S. Southwest (see map and list below). The SW CASC is one of
eight regional Climate Adaptation Science Centers under the Department of the Interior (DOI)
managed by the USGS National Climate Adaptation Science Center (NCASC). See our National
tab to learn more.


The mission of the SW CASC is to work with natural and cultural resource managers to develop and deliver scientific information and techniques to anticipate, monitor, and adapt to climate change in the southwestern United States.

The science activities undertaken by the SW CASC are informed primarily by the Strategic Science Agenda and the Science Workplans. The Strategic Science Agenda articulates general science objectives, staffing needs, and operating principles for the SW CASC over a five-year period that started in 2013. The Science Workplans detail the specific research priorities and planned actions for the SW CASC during the funding year. The development of the SW CASC’s strategic direction is guided by its Advisory Committee (AC) which is comprised of representatives from federal and state resource-management agencies and tribes.


-To foster and support the highest quality climate and biological sciences research by connecting the scientific strengths of the USGS with those of the SWCASC partner institutions.

-To coordinate and collaborate with users and other providers of climate information to ensure that the research pursued by CASC-affiliated scientists results in tools, techniques, models, and actionable information to facilitate robust decision-making by resource managers, policy makers, and other stakeholders.

-To build enduring relationships with stakeholders that enable meaningful collaboration, clear communication, and effective translation of scientific results.


The Southwest region formally comprises the states of Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah. The Colorado River Basin plays a large role in the ecosystems, water resources, and economic health of the SW CASC region. SW CASC activities also encompass parts of the upper Colorado River basin, particularly with respect to direct and indirect effects of climate change and river management on water delivery to the lower basin.

-University of Arizona (Host Institution) (Gregg GarfinAlison Meadow)

-Colorado State University (Brad UdallErica Fleishman)

-Desert Research Institute (Tim BrownTamara Wall)

-Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego (Dan CayanAlexander Gershunov)

-University of California, Davis (Erica FleishmanBeth Rose Middleton, Mark Schwartz)

-University of California, Los Angeles (Richard AmbroseGlen MacDonald)

-Utah State University (Michelle BakerNancy Huntly)