The National Institute for Climatic Change Research (NICCR) is sponsored by the Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER) of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The goal of NICCR is to mobilize university researchers, from all regions of the country, in support of the climatic change research objectives of BER.
The NICCR program is hosted by five universities nationwide. Four of those are the following Regional Centers: Pennsylvania State University (Northeastern Region), Duke University (Southeastern Region), Michigan Technological University (Midwestern Region) and Northern Arizona University (Western Region).
The School of Science and Engineering at Tulane University hosts the Coastal Center of NICCR. The NICCR Coastal Center funds basic research that aims at reducing scientific uncertainty about the response of coastal ecosystems to changes in climate and sea level during the next 50-100 years. The spatial coverage includes all the seaboards of the United States.
The current NICCR program RFP supports research carried out within five focus areas. The four focus areas of inland terrestrial ecosystems research include:
Focus 1 projects will address potential effects of climatic change on terrestrial ecosystems. Projects should determine the theoretical and/or empirical basis of whether, and how, changes in temperature and/or changes in precipitation might affect the structure and functioning of important U.S. terrestrial ecosystems.
Focus 2 projects will improve the scientific basis for detecting or projecting changes in the geographic boundaries of U.S. terrestrial ecosystems (or biomes), and the populations of their dominant organisms, in response to potential climatic changes. Climatic changes of interest are the annual mean and seasonal and diel cycles of temperature and the annual amount, frequency, and temporal distribution of precipitation.
Focus 3 projects will address the measurement and analysis of contemporary exchanges of mass and energy between the atmosphere and regionally important terrestrial ecosystems or landscapes, and the use of those measurements and analyses to evaluate mechanisms that might be included in climate and carbon cycle models.
Focus 4 projects will carry out synthesis activities related to effects of climatic variability and change on U.S. terrestrial ecosystems, or feedbacks from terrestrial ecosystems to climatic change, principally with a regional focus. Projects should advance mechanistic understanding of how future climatic variability and change might influence terrestrial ecosystem structure and functioning.
The fifth focus area specifically concerns coastal ecosystems:
Focus 5 projects are associated with coastal ecosystems and are administered by the Coastal Center. Projects will reduce scientific uncertainty about potential effects of climatic change on coastal ecosystems in the United States. The environmental changes of interest are sea-level rise, coastal subsidence, and the possibility of increased intensity and/or frequency of storms, including hurricanes.