South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center
Established in 2012, the South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center provides decisions makers with the science, tools, and information they need to address the impacts of climate variability and change on their areas of responsibility. The Center will transform how climate science is conducted and applied in the south-central United States. We support big thinking, including multi-institutional and stakeholder-driven approaches to assessing the impact of climate extremes on natural and cultural resources.
The Department of the Interior South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center (CASC) is part of a federal network of eight Climate Adaptation Science Centers managed by the U.S. Geological Survey National Climate Adaptation Science Center (NCASC). The NCASC and regional CASCs work with natural and cultural resource managers to gather the scientific information and build the tools needed to help fish, wildlife and ecosystems adapt to the impacts of climate change.
The regional CASCs and NCASC focus on the generation of data, decision-support tools, and other products that are practical and relevant to managers’ climate change monitoring and adaptation work.
South Central CASC
Dr. Renee McPherson is the University Director of the South Central CASC and an Associate Professor of Geography and Environmental Sustainability at the University of Oklahoma. Dr. McPherson’s background includes two B.S. degrees: Meteorology and Mathematics, as well as both M.S. and Ph.D. in Meteorology. Her research includes the societal and ecological impacts of climate variability and change, regional and applied climatology, mesoscale meteorology, land-air-vegetation interactions, surface observing systems, and applied meteorology. Prior to overseeing consortium-related activities at the South Central CASC, she was the State Climatologist of Oklahoma and Acting Director of the Oklahoma Climatological Survey. Before the degrees and outstanding contributions in her field, Dr. McPherson’s interest in meteorology was sparked after taking an introductory weather course as a sophomore in college. From there, it changed her entire career path. Outside of the world of weather and climatology, Dr. McPherson is a proud co-owner of the Green Bay Packers (Go Pack Go!) and received the honor of throwing out the first pitch of a Milwaukee Brewer game on her 16thbirthday.
Emma Kuster is the Program Coordinator for the South Central CASC. Emma received her undergraduate degree in Meteorology and M.A. in Geography from the University of Oklahoma. Her role as Program Coordinator includes being the point of contact between stakeholders and researchers, working with stakeholders on climate adaptation, assisting the University Director and event planning for the center. Emma’s passion for the climate science began as an undergraduate in Meteorology, ignited with the desire to make a difference in the world. This drive has led to her interests in climate adaptation, the impacts of climate change and climate education to both the public and decision makers. She works toward ensuring future generations grow up seeing the same planet she does. Outside of work, Emma can be found at the archery range, hiking, fishing, photographing wildlife or enjoying a pleasant ride on horseback.
USGS Acting Director
Dr. Carolyn Enquist currently serves as the Acting Federal Director for the South Central CASC. Dr. Enquist received her undergraduate degree in International Relations and French from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts and both M.S. & Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico in Biology, with a concentration in Ecology. Her role as Acting Director includes leading the federal side of the South Central CASC through distribution of research funding, strategic planning and identifying opportunities for collaboration and strategic planning. Dr. Enquist’s interest in the field of environmental conservation was sparked before stepping foot in a classroom, as she grew up in beautiful Colorado and developed a deep-rooted love and appreciation for the outdoors. While attending college and graduate school, her passion for the outdoors grew and ultimately led to working alongside the stakeholders and decision makers on climate adaptation and natural resource management. In her spare time, she enjoys outdoor adventures such as skiing and mountain biking with the family. Down the road, she is looking forward to relearning how to play her mandolin and dusting off her French language skills.
USGS Deputy Director
Dr. Mike Langston currently serves as the Deputy Director of the South Central CASC. Dr. Langston’s educational background includes a B.S in Wildlife Ecology from the Oklahoma State University (OSU), a M.S. in Ecology from the University of Central Florida and a Ph.D. in Environmental Science from OSU. Dr. Langston brings a diverse background to his current position with experience as the Assistant Director of the Oklahoma Water Resources Center, as well as 14 years of environmental research and consulting in Florida. His research interests and publications include: wastewater treatment in wetlands, threatened and endangered species, watershed management decisions, water policy, and the nexus of water and energy development. When Dr. Langston isn’t working with stakeholders, he can be found weightlifting, fishing, backpacking and spending time with his wife Jeri Fleming and their children and grandchildren.
Financial Administrator & Office Manager
Terri Sarsycki is the Financial Administrator and Office Manager at the South Central CASC. Terri received her (BLS) Bachelor’s of Liberal Studies from the University of Oklahoma. As the Office Manager and Financial Administrator for the center, she oversees all aspects of running an office and financial processes. Terri enjoys her work alongside the South Central CASC as she likes working with people and organizing multiple projects. Outside of the office, Terri appreciates being outdoors, hiking and the wonderful company of adorable dogs.
April Taylor is a Tribal Liaison. She received her B.S. from Texas A&M University in Marine Science and a M.S. from the University of South Carolina in Earth and Environmental Resource Management. At the South Central CASC, April works with the goal of building research relationships with the 68 tribes in the South Central region. She is actively involved with the training and development of resources for tribal health and vulnerability assessments. Aside from the climate world, April is an avid ballroom dancer and loves painting.
Assistant Sustainability Scientist
Atherton Phleger is the South Central CASC’s New Mexico Tribal Liaison. He received his B.A. from University of Colorado Boulder in Creative Writing. At the South Central CASC, Atherton collaborates with tribal stakeholders to develop and deliver capacity-building trainings and other educational workshops, leverages the resources of the University to provide technical assistance and relevant data to tribes in their pursuit of climate vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning, and serves as a representative of the CASC at workshops, conferences, and meetings. Atherton first became interested in working with Native Nations on natural-resource-related issues while guiding canoe trips in Northern Ontario in the traditional (and unceded) territory of several First Nations. Interest in the diverse reactions from these communities to a proposed chromium mine spurred Atherton to work on several related projects, ultimately developing into this current position addressing climate resilience in Native communities in New Mexico. Atherton has a difficult time reading analog clocks.
Dr. Irenea Lodangco is a Research Scientist for the South Central CASC. Dr. Lodangco’s educational background includes a B.S. in Computer Science from the Central Colleges of the Philippines, a Diploma in Meteorology and M.S. in Remote Sensing from the University of the Philippines and a Ph.D. in Meteorology from the University of Oklahoma. At the South Central CASC, Dr. Lodangco characterizes the North Atlantic Tropical Cyclones during different ENSO phases, investigates the link of historical Oklahoma droughts to global teleconnections and predicts drought severity of Oklahoma’s nine divisions through statistical modeling. Dr. Lodangco pursued her education after experiencing life in the “typhoon belt”. Growing up in the Philippines, Dr. Lodangco was fascinated with typhoons and how the lives of Filipinos revolved around these massive storm systems. Aside from her research, Dr. Lodangco enjoys working in her garden and planting her favorite flowers: azalea.
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Dr. Adrienne Wootten is a postdoctoral researcher who specializes in downscaling and climate modeling, the uncertainty and accuracy associated with the appropriate use of climate projections and data impact assessments and planning. Additionally, she helps stakeholders with technological assistance and the appropriate use of climate projections for decision making processes. She received her B.S. in Meteorology with a minor in statistics, M.S. and Ph.D in Atmospheric Science from North Carolina State University. Dr. Wootten’s passion for the field of climatology was strengthened after a trip to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Once there, she and a team of volunteers assisted with the debris cleanup and rebuilding process. It was during this trip and witnessing the immense devastation that she was able to connect meteorology with how it affects people’s lives. The experience left a permanent mark for Dr. Wootten and provided the fuel to continue researching and working toward a better understanding of weather and climate. When she isn’t working, she enjoys being a stained-glass crafter.
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Dr. Derek Rosendahl is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the South Central CASC. Dr. Rosendahl received his B.S., M.S., and PhD. in Meteorology from the University of Oklahoma. His research role at the South Central CASC focuses on assessing uncertainties in future climate projections from global climate models and their subsequent use in statistical and dynamical downscaling over North America and the south-central U.S.He works closely with downscaling experts at the South Central CASC and helps with communicating uncertainties in future climate projections to the scientific community, decision makers, and the general public. Additional tasks and projects he works on includes: mentoring undergraduates and graduates at the South Central CASC, managing climate observational and model output data, organizing early career researcher professional development training and leading a national working group focused on guidance of future climate projections. His passion for meteorology and climatology truly shine as he enjoys storm photography and being out in the elements.