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           Sept 22nd, 2016

Dear <<First Name>>,

The Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions (CICSS) Quarterly Chronicle summarizes announcements, upcoming events, news/past events, and highlights some of our constantly-developing climate-based resources, tools, and videos. Please spread this newsletter far and wide to whomever you believe would find it useful.
                                                                 - Jonathan, Allison, and Mike


What's New?


As you may know, the Cornell Institute for Climate Change and Agriculture (CICCA) has recently become the Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions (CICSS - prouounced "kicks"). This decision to change our name was made after many months of thoughtful discussion and input from faculty and stakeholders, the Climate Smart Farming (CSF) Extension team, CALS Communications, and with full support of the CALS Dean. CICSS will continue to focus on facilitating interdisciplinary climate change-related research, grant proposal development, and extension and outreach projects. A core focus will also continue to be on climate change and agriculture, with the Cornell Climate Smart Farming (CSF) Program, and CSF Extension Team. But changing the name of the institute will offer us a broader agenda – in many cases work that the Institute is being asked to help address. For example, affiliated social science faculty are working on research projects related to municipal action on climate change, stakeholders belief and action, and climate change communication.  CICSS has been helping facilitate climate change projects on campus (such as climate change literacy), developing new youth education and proposals for Master Volunteer training programs, working on policy outreach, co-organizing the University-wide climate change seminar series, and helping organize the Cornell Delegation to COP 21 and COP 22. Many of these initiatives would not happen without the leadership from the Institute. Come visit us online, or in Rice Hall (102-105).

Summer Climate Change Interns

During the summer of 2016, CICSS welcomed three summer interns to the team! Abbie Kramer, Giorgi Tsintsadze, and Savannah Acosta (Cornell undergraduates) contributed to an incredibly productive summer at CICSS, in which we: started a new social media climate change infographic campaign (examples pictured below), filmed new decision tool tutorial and farmer interview videos, conducted various climate change-related research projects, applied for high-profile grants including to the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, secured the Cornell delegation to COP22 in Marrakech, maintained a Climate Smart Farming exhibit in Mann Library, and reached out to over 100 youth on climate change. We look forward to building on this work throughout the academic year as well, and have invited our summer interns to work with CICSS as Research Assistants this fall.

Climate Smart Farming Online Course

As part of the Cornell Small Farms Program, Beginning Farmers Project, CICSS will be offering a course entitled BF 107: "Climate Smart Farming, Being Prepared can Keep You in Business" from Jan 17th to Feb 21st in 2017. The course will equip farmers with the knowledge to understand their risk to climate change and extreme weather, empowering them to implement measures that not only respond to climate change, but also maintain their bottom line by promoting sustainability, preparedness, and best management practices. 

For more information on the Beginning Farmers Project and online courses, visit their website, where a full list of courses and information on registering can be found. An informational video is also available below.

Helping CICSS Grow

CICSS currently has a platform for accepting tax-deductible donations on our website. CICSS and the Climate Smart Farming (CSF) Program were launched through the backing of several small grants and foundations, and we still need and welcome your support to continue to produce climate-change related research, education, outreach/extension, and partnerships. Funds raised will go toward these goals and are paramount in helping CICSS grow.


COP 22 in Marrakech

CICSS, along with the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, is helping plan Cornell's delegation to the 22nd annual Conference of the Parties (COP 22) global climate change summit. This COP is incredibly important - termed the “COP of Action” by the Moroccan Government - as it will assume responsibility from the accomplishments at COP 21 and focus on action items needed to achieve the priorities of The Paris Agreement. COP 22 will follow up on Cornell's strong presence at COP 21 last year.

Weather and Climate Decision Tools Conference

Over the past few months, CICSS faculty have been working with a team across the country (led by Clyde Fraisse and Caroline Staub at the University of Florida) to organize a conference entitled “Weather and Climate Decision Tools for Farmers, Ranchers, and Land Managers,” at the University of Florida from December 5-7, 2016. The goal of the conference is to "explore the state-of-the-art in weather and climate technology for agriculture." The first two days of the conference will feature keynote speakers and sessions covering challenges and opportunities for the development of climate information and decision support tools. The last day of the conference will be a half-day workshop for tool developers and members of the audience who are interested in the technical aspects of tool development including data sources, processing and management. For more information, visit the website or click on the flyer to the right.

NYS IPM Conference

On August 15th, the entire CICSS team traveled to Albany, NY for the one-day NYS IPM Climate and Weather Conference. CICSS Executive Director, Mike Hoffmann, presented on the links between climate change and our food system, and CICSS Director, Allison Chatrchyan presented on the unique Climate Smart Farming Program Decision Tools. Other organizations presenting included: the USDA NE Climate Hub, Northeast IPM Center, Cooperative Extension, the NYS Dept of Health, NYS Mesonet, and the Network for Environment and Weather Applications.

4-H Career Explorations

On June 29th and 30th, Jonathan Lambert and CICCS summer intern, Abbie Kramer, took part in the annual 4-H Career Explorations on Cornell's campus, educating nearly 100 8th and 9th graders from NY and PA on climate change and possible career opportunities in the climate and environmental field. Jonathan and Abbie walked students through an introduction to the basics of climate change, taught students how to think critically about climate change and its causes and effects, and fostered a deeper understanding of how climate change connects to some of the world’s most pressing issues. This project was also featured by the Cornell Chronicle.

Empire Farm Days

Each year, the Cornell Climate Smart Farming (CSF) Team, a program of CICSS, participates in the annual Empire Farm Days in Seneca Falls, NY. This year's event was from August 9th to the 11th, and was attended by farmers, extension professionals, and gardeners from New York State and beyond. The CSF Team displayed its new CSF Decision Tools on an interactive, touch-screen computer. Farmers were able to enter their farm's location and see outputs on tools such as the GDD Calculator, Irrigation/Water Deficit Calculator, and Frost/Freeze Risk Tool, which can help them make informed, climate-smart decisions.

Other Conferences and Events

CICSS staff and faculty have contributed to a number of meetings and have given various talks over the past months. These events allow the Institute to broaden its reach, and gain insights from stakeholders, policymakers, and the general public. A list of our events attended is below:
  • North American Symposium on Climate Change Adaptation in New York, NY
  • Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture (GACSA) Annual Forum in Rome, Italy
  • Northeast Regional Climate Center (NRCC) Webinar - Northeast Monthly Climate Update: Climate Change and Agriculture
  • Youth Farm Project Climate Smart Farming Discussion in Ithaca, NY 
  • "Climate Change: It's a HOT Topic at Cornell" Orientation for Incoming Students 
  • Cornell Staff Development Day - "Our Rapidly Changing Climate: What is Going On and What We Can Do About It"
  • Climate and Agriculture Focus Groups with Dairy Producers in St Lawrence County, NY and Grape Producers in Portland, NY
CICSS faculty and staff will be represented at several upcoming meetings and conferences over the next few months, including:
  • 22nd Annual UNFCC Conference of the Parties (COP 22) in Marrakech, Morocco
  • Climate and Pest Conference in Washington, DC
  • NRCC Drought Webinar: Irrigation Tool Spotlight
  • NYS Climate Clearinghouse Tools Presentation & Demo: New York Climate Tools and Information Symposium in Albany, NY
  • Weather and Climate Decision Tools for Farmers, Ranchers, and Land Managers Conference in Gainesville, FL 
  • Encuentros Barcelona 2016: Talk on "New dynamics for agricultural development in light of a changing climate"
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension Agriculture, Food & Environmental Systems In-Service in Ithaca, NY
  • The American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America Annual Meeting in Phoenix, AZ
Please email us if you would like us to participate in an event you are organizing.

Your Seasonal Forecast

Every month, The NOAA NWS Climate Prediction Center releases a 3-month seasonal outlook for the upcoming months. This is the best available prediction for what the climate will be like in the next few months, and is also available on the CICSS CSF Tools webpage. For the fall months from October to November, it looks like a higher chance for above average temperatures here in the Northeast, with New England looking at the greatest chance for above average warmth. In terms of precipitation, there appears to be an equal chance for all three scenarios this fall (below average, average, and above average), which might not be the best news for the current drought.

CICSS Team Spotlight

Each quarter, we highlight members of our CICSS team, including those working in Ithaca, and those working throughout New York State. In this edition, we highlight CICSS Advisory Committee member, Dr. Toby Ault, and Climate Smart Farming Extension Team member, Jesse Strzok.
Faculty Advisory: Dr. Toby Ault is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Cornell, and serves as a member of the CICSS Advisory Committee. Dr. Ault's research focuses on 3 areas: (1) estimating the risk of prolonged drought under climate change; (2) understanding the dynamics of seasonality, particularly spring; and (3) characterizing variations in the Tropical Pacific on timescales of decades to centuries, and their influence on global climate. His work is highly interdisciplinary, affording him the opportunity to collaborate closely not only with climate scientists and modelers, but with colleagues in many other disciplines, including geography, paleoclimatology, and ecology.
CSF Extension Team: Jesse Strzok is a Production Economics Specialist with the Eastern NY Commercial Horticulture team at Cornell Cooperative Extension in Hudson Falls, NY. Jesse is also a member of the Cornell Climate Smart Farming Extension Team, and provides education related to climate change and farm economics/management, while conducting relevant research throughout Eastern NY. Jesse earned his Master's degree from Iowa State University in economics where he was involved in a number of projects focused in agriculture, and is always excited to use his diverse background to sustain and improve commercial horticulture through the development of new and existing programs.
Collaboration at all levels: CICSS also works closely with graduate students and postdoctoral scholars at Cornell University. Dr. Carlos Carrillo and Dr. Shannan Sweet (postdocs in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and Horticulture, respectively), and Jennifer Fownes (Masters student in the Dept of Natural Resources) have recently become affiliated with CICSS. These collaborations foster interdisciplinary graduate and post-doctoral collaborations  within the Institute, and we are excited to have them as part of the CICSS team.

Multimedia Spotlight

Climate Smart Farming Story: Oechsner Farm

Oechsner Farm

The Climate Smart Farming videos capture farmers’ perceptions of risk from extreme weather and climate variability in the Northeast, and the practices they are putting in place to adapt to these changes and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. In the video featured here, Thor Oechsner of Oechsner Farm located in Newfield, NY discusses the challenges of farming with more extreme weather and variability.

Additional Resources

A World at War! We're under attack from climate change - and our only hope is to mobilize like we did in WWII.
This article, by Bill McKibben (, is a call to action, which compares global climate change to a world war, and states that in order to combat climate change, a mobilization similar to that of WWII is needed.

Managing Heat Stress of Broccoli with Heat Tolerant Varieties
This article, by Thomas Bjorkman, of the NYS Agricultural Experiment Station, Department of Horticulture, looks at heat stress in broccoli, given the recent high temperatures in the Northeast.

Climate Smart Farming: How is the Changing Climate Affecting your Farm?
This article, by Jonathan Lambert, and published in the Cornell Small Farms Quarterly Newsletter, delves into climate change and the effects it can have on farms, particularly in the Northeast. A follow-up article on mitigating and adapting to these effects will be subsequently published.

For additional news about climate change and Cornell's response, see the Cornell Climate Change website.  And, for supplementary information to this newsletter, please visit the Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions website and the Climate Smart Farming Program website.



CICSS research, education, and outreach work is made possible through funding from several grants, including USDA NIFA Federal Capacity Funds (Hatch and Smith Lever funds), the USDA NE Climate Hub (through an Agricultural Research Service, Cooperative Agreement), and through the insightful funding from the New World Foundation, Local Economies Project. We gratefully acknowledge our funders' support.

Thank You

Thank you very much for supporting the Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions!
Let us know if you have any feedback or further ideas for CICSS by emailing us here.

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