While a state climatologist is nothing new for Nebraska, the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is providing more resources to the position.
The Nebraska State Climate Office will have four full-time and two part-time employees.
Administrators say they want it to be the primary source of climate information for Nebraska.
Dr. Martha Shulski is an associate professor in the School of Natural Resources as well as the new state climatologist.
She says people need climate data and information for a variety of reasons.
“It could be monitoring current conditions. It could be understanding a prediction or forecast. It could be understanding local drought conditions,” Shulski says. “So, there’s certainly a well-documented need for climate information in Nebraska.”
Shulski expects the office will serve farmers and ranchers as well as lawyers, insurance adjusters, and others.
She says the office will not take a lead role in the debate over climate change.
“That won’t be a focus of our research, but we’ll help people interpret projections that other organizations are making and what does that mean for them and how can they better plan,” Shulski says. “It will be part of our office, but not necessarily a main focus.”
The climate office monitors 70 weather observing stations across Nebraska.
Those measure such things as soil temperature and moisture, relative humidity, air temperature, rainfall, and wind.