The SFS Center for

Climate Studies




Patagonia: a stage for true wild. Soaring pinnacles clash with rivers of ice, and life persists here in the face of challenging seasonal extremes. Our research focuses on fragile ecosystems susceptible to climate change, on species found nowhere else on the planet, and on people with a will to live at the end of the world. The SFS Center for Climate Studies is located in Puerto Natales, Chile – allowing immediate access to the famous Torres del Paine National Park as well as Patagonian glaciers and fjords.

Issues we focus on


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Semester Program

Wild Patagonia: Fire and Ice

Study climate science in the iconic region of Patagonia. Explore soaring peaks, cleaving glaciers, and narrow fjords, while the trails of Torres del Paine National Park become your classroom for research and field work on issues of ecology, biodiversity, and conservation. Learn More
Fall 2019


September 9 - December 20

Our Research

Our Center’s research agenda mirrors the goals of the Chilean government’s 2017 national plan on climate change. This plan identifies four themes for action: adaptation, mitigation, means of implementation, and climate change management on the regional and communal levels. Chile also identifies record rains, fires, droughts, advancing desertification, and retreating glaciers as prominent issues that research should help address. Additionally, severe coastal storms and the alteration of marine ecosystems will have large impacts on both animal and human communities.

SFS will be well positioned to measure and observe vulnerable ecosystems and communities as Patagonian climatic conditions continue to change. Our goal is to understand the level of susceptibility and risk factors for animals, plants, and human communities and suggest ways that climate change adaptation can be implemented to protect biodiversity and human livelihoods.

Key Research Examples
  • Biodiversity assessment in parks and protected areas
  • Evaluation of phenological changes in Patagonian floral assemblages
  • Behavior monitoring of iconic and economically important Patagonian fauna
  • Assessment of sustainable practices in the tourism industry, especially in fragile ecosystems
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Mark Seifert

The wind owns Patagonia. Everything here knows it.

The rocks weather, the ice sculpts, the forests stunt, and the animals adapt or die. The people of Patagonia battle the constant force with fortitude and heart. Existing at the bottom of the world certainly isn’t easy. Our research won’t be easy either. But that’s why we need to be here.

Mark Seifert, Ph.D.
Dean of Academic Programs

Life at the Center


Surrounded by the jagged peaks of Cerro Benítez and the deep blue waters of the Señoret Channel lies the port city of Puerto Natales – the gateway to the famous Torres del Paine National Park. Located near this bustling tourist hub is the SFS Center for Climate Studies, your home base for expeditions throughout the region. Campus includes a number of shared bunk rooms, a dining hall and kitchen area, and lounge spaces for studying and relaxing.