Explorer staff report

U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced today the opening of a new climate research center at the University of Arizona.

Salazar met in Phoenix Wednesday, Oct. 20, with water leaders from the seven Colorado River Basin states where he said the university would house a regional Climate Science Center.

"The Colorado River Basin is ground zero for assessing the effects of climate change on our rivers and taking creative management actions to head off the related dangers posed to our water supplies, hydroelectric power generation and ecosystems," Salazar said in a news release. "We are with you for the long haul to protect our region and its water."

Numerous Climate Science Centers have been established across the country. They serve as regional hubs of the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center. The centers and their partners will work to assess the impacts of climate change.

The federal government gave the university a $3.1 million five-year grant to initiate the center. Total funding will increase substantially as the center's activities ramps up, according a release from the university.

The Southwest Climate Center is the fourth of eight regional centers the Department of Interior has planned.

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