Research & Engagement at the High Plains Regional Climate Center

The HPRCC is involved in a wide variety of activities, including: Stakeholder engagement ties all of our activities together, as we strive to benefit our stakeholders as best we can. Below are some examples of our current and recent projects.


High Plains Regional Climate Center

The High Plains Regional Climate Center (HPRCC) serves to increase the use and availability of climate data and information. We achieve this by providing climate services, developing climate data and information products, and engaging our stakeholders. Our six-state region covers Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. The Regional Climate Centers (RCCs) are supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as part of a three-tiered approach, emphasizing services that are local, regional, and national in scope.

Funding Agency: NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information

Timeline: August 2016 – March 2021



The Great Plains Irrigation Experiment (GRAINEX) for Understanding the Influence of Irrigation on the Planetary Boundary Layer and Weather Events

The Great Plains Irrigation Experiment (GRAINEX) is investigating the impacts of the rapid commencement of irrigation in the spring and subsequent sustained irrigation during the growing season on the evolution of planetary boundary layer (PBL) atmosphere in eastern Nebraska. In addition, this research team will investigate the intra-seasonal changes in applications in irrigation and their impacts on the PBL and related various processes and mechanisms that are involved in these changes.

Funding Agency: National Science Foundation

Timeline: August 2018 – August 2021


Project Partners:


North Dakota and South Dakota Tribal Adaptation Planning

This project aims to build tribal resilience to extreme climate events and climate change by bringing in experts to conduct workshops on hazard analysis, vulnerability assessments, climate summaries, climate adaptation planning, and drought early warning for tribal resource managers in the Dakotas. The HPRCC’s role in the project is to conduct a workshop with tribal resource managers on how to put together reservation-specific climate summaries. All tribes with reservation lands in North Dakota and South Dakota were invited to participate in the project.

Funding Agency: Bureau of Indian Affairs

Timeline: October 2019 – December 2020


Project Partners:

Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa Tribes Adaptation Planning

This project aims to build tribal resilience to extreme climate events and climate change by bringing in experts to conduct workshops on technical team training, hazard and vulnerability analysis, climate summaries, climate adaptation planning, GIS and remote sensing, and drought early warning systems for tribal resource managers in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7 (Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri). The HPRCC’s role in the project is to conduct a workshop with tribal resource managers on how to put together reservation-specific climate summaries.

Funding Agency: Bureau of Indian Affairs

Timeline: October 2018 – September 2020


Project Partners:


Wind River Drought Adaptation Planning

This project aims to assist the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes of the Wind River Indian Reservation with the development of a reservation-specific drought adaptation plan. The HPRCC’s role in the project is to review the plan and contribute to the monitoring section of the plan.

Funding Agency: Bureau of Indian Affairs

Timeline: October 2018 – May 2020


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Increasing the Capacity for Municipal Climate Adaptation Planning in the Lower Missouri River Basin States

This project brought together a team of researchers to help municipalities across the Midwest and High Plains plan for changes in climate. The project culminated with a website that offers climate reports for select communities and four tools that are available for use across the Missouri River Basin states. These tools aim to help communities assess their current and future climate conditions and provide an opportunity to explore planning strategies from across the country.

Funding Agency: NOAA Sectoral Applications Research Program

Timeline: July 2016 – July 2019


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Scenario Planning for Resilient Cropping Systems

This project aimed to align key future climate scenarios with management options for crop producers in the Northern Plains. Using scenario planning methods, several in-person discussions with Extension personnel and cropping system stakeholders led to the creation of sixteen interactive scenarios that can now be explored online.

Funding Agency: USDA Northern Plains Climate Hub

Timeline: January 2017 – March 2019


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Enhanced Accessibility of Climate Data for Research and Teaching through a THREDDS Data Server

The goal of this project was to implement a Thematic Realtime Environmental Distributed Data Services (THREDDS) Data Server at the HPRCC. By implementing the THREDDS Data Server, and providing netCDFversions of our gridded products, the HPRCC now delivers a new, more efficient method for researchers and students to access data and perform quantitative research with our products. In the spring of 2019, the HPRCC held a workshop so that the UNL community could learn more about the THREDDS Data Servers, how to access the datasets, and examples for use.

Funding Agency: Unidata

Timeline: July 2018 – March 2019



ACIS-based GIS Data Retrieval Portal

The Applied Climate Information System (ACIS) Climate Summary Maps have been generated by the High Plains Regional Climate Center (HPRCC) on a daily basis since 2003. With over 250,000 maps available in the ACIS Climate Summary Maps archive, it is easily one of the most popular products createdby the Center. The goal of this project was to enhance this product suite by producing ACIS Climate Summary Maps products in GIS formats. These files are produced on a daily basis for a range of time periods, including an archive for monthly, seasonal, and annual time scales. Both point and polygon (filled contours) options are available.

Funding Agency: NOAA’s National Integrated Drought Information System

Timeline: September 2017 – February 2019



Drought Planning Using Community Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment

This project utilizes climate data from the Platte River basin to develop and implement a decision-support model for drought planning using the Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA) process. THIRA is a Federal Emergency Management Agency-mandated risk assessment process to identify threats and develop capability targets to inform planning and preparedness. The Platte River basin serves as an ideal environment for the application of a THIRA to drought planning because of its importance to communities throughout the state, and its historic vulnerabilities to drought.

Funding Agency: NOAA Sectoral Applications Research Program

Timeline: July 2017 – January 2019


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Great Plains Tribal Water Alliance Climate Partnership: Development of Water Resource Vulnerability Assessments Process and Guidebook & Development of Water Resource Vulnerability Assessments to Build Tribal Resilience

This was two complementary projects that aimed to build tribal resilience to climate extremes and change. This was accomplished by conducting climate vulnerability assessments on the Rosebud, Pine Ridge, Standing Rock, and Flandreau Reservations in the Dakotas, building technical capacity to monitor and communicate short-and long-term climate conditions and related impacts, and developing tribal climate adaptation plans. The HPRCC’s role in these projects was to provide a climate data and tools training to tribal resource managers, conduct a workshop on how to put together reservation-specific climate summaries, and provide guidance and assistance after the workshop to help participants put together their own climate summaries. HPRCC staff also put together a climate dashboard for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe.

Funding Agency: Bureau of Indian Affairs

Timeline: October 2016 – September 2018


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Updating the UNL SoyWater Website

The SoyWater soybean irrigation scheduling web application uses minimal inputs to determine soybean crop water needs throughout the growing season. Producers are able to identify their location and specific crop information and determine irrigation needs. Weather and climate data are supplied to this web-based system from state mesonets in the region through the High Plains Regional Climate Center. Soybean evapotranspiration values are calculated daily and used to track water balance values for the crop and determine water depleted from the system thereby identifying when irrigation is required.

Funding Agency: Water, Energy, and Agriculture Initiative (WEAI); WEAI is jointly funded by Nebraska Soybean Board, Nebraska Corn Board, Agricultural Research Division of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the UNL Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences Research, with funding support from the Nebraska Public Power District.

Timeline: April 2017 – September 2017


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