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My research directly involves my role as state climatologist for Florida. The Florida Climate Center is the leading authority on climate variability in Florida, particularly as related to ENSO. The climate Center is involved with the Southeast Climate Consortium, one of the Regional Integrated Science and Assessment (RISA) teams funded by NOAA's Office of Global Programs. Through this involvement, we conduct research into downscaled and localized climate forecasts and their application to the sectors of agriculture, forestry, and water resources. Recent expansion of the consortium now includes the State Climate Offices of Georgia and Alabama, as well as agriculturist, hydrologists, and social scientists from the University of Florida, University of Miami, University of Georgia, University of Alabama Huntsville, and Auburn University. The Southeast Climate Consortium now receives additional funding through USDA and USDA Risk Management Agency.
An example of the climate information products developed by Florida Climate Center is a method of forecasting wildfire threat based on the Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI). The experimental forecast expresses wildfire threat in probabilistic terms and is used by the Florida Division of Forestry for planning management strategies and allocation of resources. This year the wildfire threat forecast was expanded include the states of Georgia and Alabama. These results were presented at the National Seasonal Assessment Workshop, Eastern and Southern States in January of 2006. The KBDI forecast for the Southeast was included as guidance in the final report.