Funding: Agriculture and Food Research Initiative – Agriculture and Natural Resources Science for Climate Variability and Change Challenge Area

NIFA requests applications for the AFRI Agriculture and Natural Resources Science for Climate Variability and Change (AFRI ANRCVC) Challenge Area Program for fiscal year (FY) 2016 to support research to facilitate the adaptation of agroecosystems and natural resource systems to climate variability and the implementation of mitigation strategies in those systems. The anticipated amount available for grants in FY 2016 is approximately $8.4 million.

There are two program areas, each with different application deadlines:

Climate and Land Use

Letter of Intent Deadline – September 14, 2016 (5:00 p.m., Eastern Time)
Application Deadline – November 17, 2016 (5:00 p.m., Eastern Time)

For FY2016, the AFRI Agriculture and Natural Resources Science for Climate and Variability Challenge Area (AFRI ANRCVC) encourages proposals that address the patterns, processes, and consequences (including GHG emissions and other climate feedbacks) of changes in land use and their drivers, particularly considering intensive farming and forestry systems at multiple spatial and temporal scales, studies that examine the social and behavioral aspects of adoption of adaptive measures and best management practice in the context of changing weather patterns and climate, to ultimately support sustainable and resilient agricultural landscapes into the future.

This program area explores how the mosaic of land use types affect and are affected by climate variability and change through integrated projects that focus on sustainable intensive agricultural systems, including crop, livestock, and forestry production. Projects should aim to promote and enhance resilient and sustainable food/fiber supply chain systems under a changing climate, and address mitigation-adaptation dynamics of responses to climate variability and change. Land use and how this might be impacted by climate change should be the focus. The goal of this program is to produce a greater understanding of underlying processes, drivers and consequences of land use change, including bio-physical and biogeochemical processes, climate feedbacks, and environmental outcomes, and social, behavioral, economic and land use interactions. Projects should use a holistic and systems approaches to identify and quantify the climate adaptation and mitigation tradeoffs associated with changes and trends in intensified agricultural production systems across the landscape to inform decision makers of best management practices, land use, and policies for resilient and sustainable agriculture and forestry production systems.

Applications should examine the entire food/fiber supply chain to 1) identify critical points of intervention along the entire supply chain that are most vulnerable to climate impacts in order to establish best practices; and 2) determine points of intervention that have greatest potential to reduce emissions and increase carbon sequestration for the mitigation of climate change. In addition to the ecological, biogeochemical and technical processes, the project should also evaluate tthe socio-economic matrix and land use impacts along the food/fiber supply chain system.

Applications for CAP Grants must take a holistic and systems approach to address each of the following technical questions with an emphasis on land use and climate change:

  • Where are the points along the supply chain that are vulnerable to climate variability and change? Proposals should evaluate the impacts of climate on the bio-physical and biogeochemical components of intensified agricultural production systems. Bio-physical aspects may include but are not limited to: water quantity and quality, flood control, soil retention and productivity, microbial communities, nutrient cycling, pest biology and ecology, pollinator health, biodiversity, and carbon sequestration.
  • What are potential adaptation and mitigation strategies that can make the food and or fiber supply chain system resilient and sustainable in a changing climate? What are the points along the food chain system that can be adapted to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, enhance carbon sequestration, and lessen environmental impacts?
  • What are the drivers, effects, vulnerabilities, or resiliencies of the socio-economic system in relation to the sustainability of intensified agricultural production and in the context of climate variability and change? What are the behavioral and social responses, policy incentives or institutional frameworks that will foster desirable and sustainable food supply chain systems, enhancing the environment, human well-being, and the community and mitigating risks and consequences resulted from increasing climate variability and change?

Climate Masters Outreach and Extension

Letter of Intent Not Required for this Program Area
Application Deadline – September 14, 2016 (5:00 p.m., Eastern Time)

For FY2016, the AFRI ANRCVC encourages proposals that will bring together a team of extension professionals, along with educators, researchers, non-profits, businesses, policymakers, and other stakeholders to design an innovative approach to conducting community-based educational outreach for better understanding of climate, extreme weather events, energy, conservation, preparedness by people and community leaders, and the impact of informed decision-making. The long-term goal of the program is to support communities and build their capacity to independently plan, initiate, and carry out programs that address these issues.

The design for an innovative program strategy should include, but not be limited to:

  • A feasibility study of implementing a climate-smart communities outreach model
  • An inventory of current community-based initiatives in the public and private sector and best management practices from previous work to enhance climate resiliency.
  • Documentation of research on what makes communities resilient and how this research was utilized to best design the program.
  • A synthesis of literature, reports, and programs that provide insight on what has and has not worked in past climate outreach efforts. The synthesis should include characteristics of a climate-smart community, efforts to improve household and community readiness; and attitudes or behaviors that lead to climate-resilient decisions.

The expected outcomes from the application is that the team will design an innovative program strategy and approach that will address regional needs for developing a climate outreach and extension program that involves volunteers as Climate Masters. At the termination of the project, the team should deliver a document, such as a white paper or report, which establishes criteria for a regional, community-based climate outreach program that has a broad model that could be replicated in communities across the national. The document should describe best practices and evidenced-based promising solutions for conducting outreach to encourage climate-smart living and agricultural practices that positively impacts the environment. The document should include an executive summary and references to relevant sources.

Climate change in your county: Plan with this new tool


Residents, communities and businesses now have easy access to climate projections, through a few easy keystrokes, for every county in the contiguous United States.

NOAA’s newly updated Climate Explorer offers downloadable maps, graphs, and data tables of observed and projected temperature, precipitation and climate-related variables dating back to 1950 and out to 2100.

Built to accompany the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit, the Climate Explorer helps community leaders, business owners, municipal planners, and utility and resource managers understand how environmental conditions may change over the next several decades.

Climate Explorer projections are based on two global climate model scenarios that describe how the abundance of heat-trapping gases in Earth’s atmosphere may change through 2100. The tool provides projections for parameters such as changes in the number of days over 95 degrees F, number of days with heavy rain, and heating and cooling degree days.

“The Climate Explorer is designed to help users visualize how climate conditions may change over the coming decades,” said David Herring, communication and education program manager at NOAA’s Climate Program Office. “Projections of how much and how fast change is happening is crucial to help communities prepare and become more resilient.”

Additional enhancements to the Climate Resilience Toolkit include:

  • Redesigned interface that is simpler and works better on mobile devices;
  • New “Reports” section with state and municipal climate vulnerability assessments, adaptation plans and scientific reports; and
  • Revised “Steps to Resilience” guide and spreadsheet, which communities and businesses can use to confront climate vulnerabilities and implement a plan to build resilience.

“We updated the Climate Explorer in response to requests from communities and businesses across the nation for downscaled climate projections to help them manage their climate-related risks and opportunities,” said Fred Lipschultz, the toolkit’s climate projections team leader based at the U.S. Global Change Research Program.

The U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit and Climate Explorer are managed by NOAA’s Climate Program Office and hosted by NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. The tool was built by NOAA, U.S. Geological Survey, Bureau of Reclamation, Environmental Protection Agency and NASA, with guidance by the U.S. Global Change Research Program and President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.


The art of changing the climate debate

Read the full story in The Irish Times.

Scientific knowledge is vital but on its own will never change our environmental behaviour. The key to that is to incorporate skills from the other side of the traditional science-humanities divide, say Trinity College academics.

Ahead of the Election, Americans’ Climate Concerns Slosh

Read the full story at Dot Earth.

Fresh analysis from a research group tracking voter views on global warming shows the country’s range of attitudes sloshing more than surging.

There was some drama on this issue as liberals and centrists sparred over the Democratic climate and energy platform in recent days. But given such findings, and now that Bernie Sanders has endorsed Hillary Clinton, don’t expect global warming to take center stage in the fall fight.

Since 2008, the “Six Americas” survey by researchers at Yale and George Mason University has provided a valuable running view of the range of American views on climate change and related issues. A new analysis in the context of the election, drawing on data from March, shows we’re going back in time, in essence.

Why sending an email can increase your carbon footprint

Read the full story at Inhabitat.

Your carbon footprint is greater than just the fossil fuels burned in traveling and construction—it encompasses your digital activities too. As if spam emails weren’t bad enough, Fuel Fighter points out how an action as seemingly innocuous as a Google search could add to your carbon footprint. Data centers, which are the engines of the Internet, require massive amounts of energy to run and, according to Gartner, are said to account for almost a quarter of global carbon dioxide emissions. Fuel Fighter created an infographic to break down the carbon footprint of the digital age, from emails to streaming Netflix, as well as interesting stats on the energy it takes to power the Internet and what some companies are doing to offset their global footprint.

Climate tipping points: What do they mean for society?

Read the full story at

The phrase “tipping point” passed its own tipping point and caught fire after author Malcolm Gladwell’s so-named 2000 book. It’s now frequently used in discussions about climate change, but what are “climate tipping points”? And what do they mean for society and the economy?

Scientists at Rutgers University and Harvard University tackle the terminology and outline a strategy for investigating the consequences of climate tipping points in a study published online today in the journal Earth’s Future.

Gauging the impact of climate change on U.S. agriculture

Read the full story from MIT.

To assess the likely impact of climate change on U.S. agriculture, researchers typically run a combination of climate and crop models that project how yields of maize, wheat, and other key crops will change over time. But the suite of models commonly used in these simulations, which account for a wide range of uncertainty, produces outcomes that can range from substantial crop losses to bountiful harvests. These mixed results often leave farmers and other agricultural stakeholders perplexed as to how best to adapt to climate change.

Now, in a study published in Environmental Research Letters, a research team at MIT and the University of California at Davis, has devised a way to provide these stakeholders with the additional information they need to make more informed decisions. In a nutshell, the researchers complement the results of climate/crop model runs with projections of five useful indices of agriculture/climate interaction — dry days, plant heat stress, frost days, growing season length and start of field operations — that clarify what’s driving projected yields up or down.