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Established in 2005, PCIC is a regional climate service provider that is federally registered as a not-for-profit corporation of the University of Victoria. Since its inception, PCIC has grown significantly while maintaining focus on its original vision to “bridge the gap” between the climate science community, which is largely based at universities and large international climate modelling and analysis centres, and regional users of climate information. The vision was defined in a 2005 meeting of climate researchers and regional stakeholders who recognized the need for an organization to support the BC region, with its unique topography and climatic diversity, in its efforts to prepare for the impacts of future climate change.
An initial strategic plan for the development of PCIC and its programs was finalized in 2007, defining PCIC’s applied research themes as Regional Climate Impacts, Hydrologic Impacts, Climate Analysis and Monitoring, and Ocean Influences. During this time, PCIC’s reputation as a user-focused organization began to take hold. In 2007, BC Hydro and PCIC entered into a four-year research agreement, marking the beginning of a very important and enduring relationship. In 2008 the BC Government endowed UVic with funding to provide long-term support to PCIC and create the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS).
The endowment provided PCIC with base funding and solidified the Province of British Columbia as a long-term stakeholder in PCIC and the provision of regional climate information. PCIC grew rapidly with the advent of the endowment, focused the mission of PCIC and laid out a strategy for ongoing program development. The goal was to build the first three of the applied research themes to fully functional programs.
PCIC has grown to meet these expectations. Work in the Regional Climate Impacts and Hydrologic Impacts themes supported stakeholders in BC communities, the provincial government and industry. Both have enjoyed considerable support from stakeholders, including renewal of the BC Hydro agreement with a substantially higher level of support. Work under the Climate Analysis and Monitoring theme was also initiated with support from PICS and provincial government stakeholders. This theme took on additional importance with the 2010 signing of the Climate Related Monitoring Program agreement that positioned PCIC as the data-centre for climate related data in the province. The Ocean Influences theme has remained an element of the three research programs but did not develop into an independent PCIC program due to resource constraints.
Now with a full staff complement that varies between about 15 and 18 people depending upon resources and current project needs, PCIC continues to develop its role as one of the primary providers of climate services for stakeholders in the Pacific and Yukon Region of Canada. PCIC’s user base now includes stakeholders at the municipal, provincial and federal government levels, as well as publicly and privately owned industries and the general public.