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Evaporative demand (E0) both drives and responds to droughts based on interactions across the land surface-atmosphere interface, and can be exploited to signal agricultural, hydrologic, and ecological droughts. In this chapter, we argue that using a fully physically based measure of E0 moves the drought community toward a more complete understanding of drought processes that will enhance its abilities with regard to early warning and drought monitoring in the present day and drought-risk assessment under future climate change scenarios. We examine regional characteristics in E0 and their behavior during droughts in the recent historical period across different hydroclimates. We review physical mechanisms driving...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
Although drought is a natural part of climate across the north-central United States, how drought is experienced and responded to is the result of complex biophysical and social processes. Climate change assessments indicate drought impacts will likely worsen in the future, which will further challenge decision-making. Here, a drought management decision typology is empirically developed from synthesis of three in-depth case studies using a modified grounded-theory approach. The typology highlights 1) the entity or entities involved, 2) management sectors, 3) decision types, 4) spatial and temporal scale(s) of decision-making, and 5) barriers that inhibit decision-making. Findings indicate similarities in decision...
The Great Plains Grassland Summit: Challenges and Opportunities from North to South was held April 10-11, 2018 in Denver, Colorado to provide syntheses of information about key grassland topics of interest in the Great Plains; networking and learning channels for managers, researchers, and stakeholders; and working sessions for sharing ideas about challenges and future research and management opportunities. The summit was convened to better understand stressors and resource demands throughout the Great Plains and how to manage them, and to discuss methods for improved collaboration among natural resource managers, scientists, and stakeholders. Over 200 stakeholders, who collectively were affiliated with all of the...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
We used long-term observations of grassland aboveground net plant production (ANPP, 1939– 2016), growing seasonal advanced very-high-resolution radiometer remote sensing normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) data (1982–2016), and simulations of actual evapotranspiration (1912–2016) to evaluate the impact of Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and El Nino~ –Southern Oscillation (ENSO) sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies on a semiarid grassland in northeastern Colorado. Because ANPP was well correlated (R2 = 0.58) to cumulative April to July actual evapotranspiration (iAET) and cumulative growing season NDVI (iNDVI) was well correlated to iAET and ANPP (R2 = 0.62 [quadratic model] and 0.59, respectively),...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
Abstract (from PNAS): Recent decades have seen droughts across multiple US river basins that are unprecedented over the last century and potentially longer. Understanding the drivers of drought in a long-term context requires extending instrumental data with paleoclimatic data. Here, a network of new millennial-length streamflow reconstructions and a regional temperature reconstruction from tree rings place 20th and early 21st century drought severity in the Upper Missouri River basin into a long-term context. Across the headwaters of the United States’ largest river basin, we estimated region-wide, decadal-scale drought severity during the “turn-of-the-century drought” ca. 2000 to 2010 was potentially unprecedented...
Science communication scholarship claims that engagement, dialogue, and interaction are important communicative components. But there are relatively very few studies of dialogic science communication processes from a science communication perspective. This study bridges science communication, interpersonal communication, and science-policy interface research and practice to learn how an interpersonal theory models science-policy communication. When science informs policy and land management, myriad science and policy actors must work together to come to a shared understanding of how science will be used. However, there may be differences across the science-policy interface. How do scientists structure research...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
Gridded topoclimatic datasets are increasingly used to drive many ecological and hydrological models and assess climate change impacts. The use of such datasets is ubiquitous, but their inherent limitations are largely unknown or overlooked particularly in regard to spatial uncertainty and climate trends. To address these limitations, we present a statistical framework for producing a 30-arcsec (∼800-m) resolution gridded dataset of daily minimum and maximum temperature and related uncertainty from 1948 to 2012 for the conterminous United States. Like other datasets, we use weather station data and elevation-based predictors of temperature, but also implement a unique spatio-temporal interpolation that incorporates...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
Indigenous Knowledge (IK) is increasingly involved in the contemporary management of natural resources. Tribal wildlife management programs in the United States may be uniquely positioned to effectively and ethically integrate their IK. While a narrow focus on the body of IK and a particular management activity may suffice for project-level integration efforts, herein we consider how IK integration at the programmatic level may be best supported. We propose a holistic conceptual framework of preconditions including sovereignty, the North American Model management, funding, cultural resources, stakeholder support, and programmatic leadership. We assess the current status and common challenges with each precondition...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
An estimated 50–80% of North America’s ducks use the millions of wetland basins in the Prairie Pothole Region as breeding habitat. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) National Wildlife Refuge System has conserved approximately 1.3 million hectares of grasslands and wetlands in the United States portion of the Prairie Pothole Region with the primary purpose to support breeding duck habitat. A major assumption inherent to the current conservation approach is that wetlands that have historically provided the highest value to breeding ducks will continue to do so into the future. The dynamic nature of climate in the Northern Great Plains and continued increases in air temperatures and precipitation variability...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
The National Park Service (NPS) is responsible for managing livestock grazing in nearly 100 parks, and several park grazing management planning efforts are currently underway. However, there is a recognized need to update grazing management practices to be responsive and adaptive to future climate change. As a step toward developing a process to address this need, this project worked with Dinosaur National Monument to consider climate change in its grazing management planning process. In this project, we convened researchers, managers, subject-matter experts, and climate change adaptation specialists through a participatory climate change scenario planning workshop to develop and apply a small set of challenging,...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation, Report
Recent fires have fueled concerns that regional and global warming trends are leading to more extreme burning. We found compelling evidence that average fire events in regions of the United States are up to four times the size, triple the frequency, and more widespread in the 2000s than in the previous two decades. Moreover, the most extreme fires are also larger, more common, and more likely to co-occur with other extreme fires. This documented shift in burning patterns across most of the country aligns with the palpable change in fire dynamics noted by the media, public, and fire-fighting officials.
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
Time and money for conservation are limited, so there is a need for responsible investments that embrace the realities of climate change. Droughts, floods, wildfires, hotter temperatures, declining snowpack, and changing streamflow are already significantly affecting wildlife and their habitats. In some cases, managers may decide to make strategic adjustments in how their actions are designed, where those actions are located, and when actions are needed most, in order to achieve management goals. A key part of making these forward-looking decisions is having access to climate information that can be integrated into an agency’s decision-making process. When science is conducted without an understanding of how that...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation, Report
Abstract (from ScienceDirect): Paleohydrologic records can provide unique, long-term perspectives on streamflow variability and hydroclimate for use in water resource planning. Such long-term records can also play a key role in placing both present day events and projected future conditions into a broader context than that offered by instrumental observations. However, relative to other major river basins across the western United States, a paucity of streamflow reconstructions has to date prevented the full application of such paleohydrologic information in the Upper Missouri River Basin. Here we utilize a set of naturalized streamflow records for the Upper Missouri and an expanded network of tree-ring records...
Climate change is altering fire regimes and post-fire conditions, contributing to relatively rapid transformation of landscapes across the western US. Studies are increasingly documenting post-fire vegetation transitions, particularly from forest to non-forest conditions or from sagebrush to invasive annual grasses. The prevalence of climate-driven, post-fire vegetation transitions is likely to increase in the future with major impacts on social–ecological systems. However, research and management communities have only recently focused attention on this emerging climate risk, and many knowledge gaps remain. We identify three key needs for advancing the management of post-fire vegetation transitions, including centering...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
Abstract (from http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/10.1175/WCAS-D-16-0121.1): Much of the academic literature and policy discussions about sustainable development and climate change adaptation focus on poor and developing nations, yet many tribal communities inside the United States include marginalized peoples and developing nations who face structural barriers to effectively adapt to climate change. There is a need to critically examine diverse climate change risks for indigenous peoples in the United States and the many structural barriers that limit their ability to adapt to climate change. This paper uses a sustainable climate adaptation framework to outline the context and the relationships of power and authority,...
Vegetation phenology and productivity play a crucial role in surface energy balance, plant and animal distribution, and animal movement and habitat use and can be measured with remote sensing metrics including start of season (SOS), peak instantaneous rate of green-up date (PIRGd), peak of season (POS), end of season (EOS), and integrated vegetation indices. However, for most metrics, we do not yet understand the agreement of remotely sensed data products with near-surface observations. We also need summaries of changes over time, spatial distribution, variability, and consistency in remote sensing dataset metrics for vegetation timing and quality. We compare metrics from 10 leading remote sensing datasets against...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
Land cover change plays a critical role in influencing hydrological responses. Change in land cover has impacted runoff across basins with substantial human interference; however, the impacts in basins with minimal human interference have been studied less. In this study, we investigated the impacts of directional land cover changes (forest to/from combined grassland and shrubland) in runoff coefficient (RC; ratio of runoff to precipitation) and runoff volume across 603 low human interference reference basins in the conterminous United States (CONUS). The results indicate basins with significant (p<0.05) increasing trends in runoff and RC were across the northeast and northwest regions of CONUS, and basins with...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
Scenario planning is a useful tool for identifying key vulnerabilities of ecological systems to changing climates, informed by the potential outcomes for a set of divergent, plausible, and relevant climate scenarios. We evaluated potential vulnerabilities of grassland communities to changing climate in the Southern Great Plains (SGP) and the Landscape Conservation Design pilot area (LCD) for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Science Applications Program, Great Plains Landscape Conservation Cooperative. Four climate scenarios (warm-dry, warm-wet, hot-dry, and hot-wet) from atmospheric-ocean general circulation models were selected to represent a suite of plausible future climatic conditions. For each scenario,...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
This report explains scenario planning as a climate change adaptation tool in general, then describes how it was applied to Wind Cave National Park as the second part of a pilot project to dovetail climate change scenario planning with National Park Service (NPS) Resource Stewardship Strategy development. In the orientation phase, Park and regional NPS staff, other subject-matter experts, natural and cultural resource planners, and the climate change core team who led the scenario planning project identified priority resource management topics and associated climate sensitivities. Next, the climate change core team used this information to create a set of four divergent climate futures—summaries of relevant climate...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation