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Over the past four decades, annual area burned has increased significantly in California and across the western USA. This trend reflects a confluence of intersecting factors that affect wildfire regimes. It is correlated with increasing temperatures and atmospheric vapour pressure deficit. Anthropogenic climate change is the driver behind much of this change, in addition to influencing other climate-related factors, such as compression of the winter wet season. These climatic trends and associated increases in fire activity are projected to continue into the future. Additionally, factors related to the suppression of the Indigenous use of fire, aggressive fire suppression and, in some cases, changes in logging practices...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
The Conserving Climate Change Refugia for the Mojave Ecosystem workshop was held virtually via zoom on Wednesday, December 9, 2019, using funding from the Southwest Climate and the Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Centers (SW and NE CASCs). The objectives of this workshop were to bring together natural resource managers and researchers to 1) learn about current work in the Mojave ecoregion related to climate adaptation, 2) prioritize focal species/ecosystems for climate change refugia conservation/funding, and 3) identify research gaps, all in service of operationalizing climate change adaptation strategies in the Mojave ecoregion. The meeting began with presentations by researchers and resource managers who...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
Abstract (from AGU 100): This study investigates snowmelt and streamflow responses to cloudiness variability across the mountainous parts of the western United States. Twenty years (1996–2015) of Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite‐derived cloud cover indices (CC) with 4‐km spatial and daily temporal resolutions are used as a proxy for cloudiness. The primary driver of nonseasonal fluctuations in daily mean solar insolation is the fluctuating cloudiness. We find that CC fluctuations are related to snowmelt and snow‐fed streamflow fluctuations, to some extent (correlations of <0.5). Multivariate linear regression models of daily snowmelt (MELT) and streamflow (ΔQ) variations are constructed for each...
Natural climate variability can strongly temporarily enhance or obscure long-term trends in regional weather due to global climate change. We planned to explore (from our original proposal): (1) The influence of low frequency climate variability (interannual and decadal) on the seasonal probability distributions of daily weather (temperature and precipitation) within the Southwest, with a view on how natural variability modulates regional trends due to global warming. We explored natural climate variability and its impacts on extreme temperatures in Guirguis et al. (2015). We also explored natural climate variability and its impacts on precipitation extremes in Cavanaugh et al. (2015), Cavanugh and Gershunov (2015)...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
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Abstract Coastal marsh within Mediterranean climate zones is exposed to episodic watershed runoff and sediment loads that occur during storm events. Simulating future marsh accretion under sea level rise calls for attention to: (a) physical processes acting over the time scale of storm events and (b) biophysical processes acting over time scales longer than storm events. Using the upper Newport Bay in Southern California as a case study, we examine the influence of event-scale processes on simulated change in marsh topography by comparing: (a) a biophysical model that integrates with an annual time step and neglects event-scale processes (BP-Annual), (b) a physical model that resolves event-scale processes but...
Abstract (from AMS100): Between water years 2012 and 2017, the Truckee–Carson river system in the western United States experienced both historic-low and record-high Sierra Nevada snowpack, anomalously warm temperatures, and winter and spring flooding. As part of an ongoing collaborative modeling research program in the river system, researchers conduct annual interviews with key local water managers to characterize local climate adaptation strategies and implementation barriers, and identify science information needs to prioritize ongoing research activities. This article presents new findings from a third wave of interviews conducted with the same water managers following the historic 2017 wet year. Comparison...
Incorporating climate change considerations into land management and species conservation remains challenging for natural resource managers, because other stressors such as drought or invasive species currently have a larger impact. Thus, it is often difficult to prioritize long-term goals when resources for the immediate needs of species are already difficult to secure. This project aims to combine the latest decision science with climate change refugia modeling to create a novel decision-framework that emphasizes a collaborative approach to complex management issues, which aims to bridge the gap between managing for current priorities and long-term climate change adaptation. In doing so, this framework will be...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
On November 8, 2019, the first meeting of the Southwest Climate Change Refugia Research Coalition was held in Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, under funding from the Southwest and Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center (CASCs). The objective of this workshop was to bring together natural resource managers and researchers to move forward on climate change adaptation and begin to build a climate change refugia conservation strategy for the Sierra Nevada. Goals were to identify opportunities to apply existing data and modeling results to ongoing local conservation efforts in order to optimize limited resources.
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
Aim Invasive species prevention and management can be guided by comparisons of invasion risk across space and among species. Species distribution models are widely used to assess invasion risk and typically estimate suitability for species presence. However, suitability for presence may not capture patterns of abundance and impact. We asked how models estimating suitability for presence versus suitability for abundance aligned in their implications for risk assessment. Location Western United States. Methods We developed ensembles of species distribution models for presence and for abundance for four invasive plants. We visualized the distribution of presence and abundance in environmental and geographic space and...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
Abstract (from RMetS): Over the Upper Colorado River basin (UCRB), temperatures in widely used gridded data products do not warm as much as mean temperatures from a stable set of U.S. Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) stations, located at generally lower elevations, in most months of the year. This is contrary to expectations of elevation‐dependent warming, which suggests that warming increases with elevation. These findings could reflect (a) a genuine absence of elevation‐dependent warming in the region, (b) systematic non‐climatic influences on either the USHCN stations or high‐elevation stations, including known inhomogeneities related to changes in the time of observation and instrumentation, or (c) suppression...
Abstract (from AMS): The upper Colorado River basin (UCRB) is one of the primary sources of water for the western United States, and increasing temperatures likely will elevate the risk of reduced water supply in the basin. Although variability in water-year precipitation explains more of the variability in water-year UCRB streamflow than water-year UCRB temperature, since the late 1980s, increases in temperature in the UCRB have caused a substantial reduction in UCRB runoff efficiency (the ratio of streamflow to precipitation). These reductions in flow because of increasing temperatures are the largest documented temperature-related reductions since record keeping began. Increases in UCRB temperature over the past...
(Abstract from AMS Journals): Researchers are producing an ever greater number of web-based climate data and analysis tools in support of natural resource research and management. Yet the apparent absence or underreporting of evaluation in the development of these applications has raised questions as to whether, by whom, and for what they are utilized, and, relatedly, whether they meet the rationale for their development. This paper joins recent efforts to address these questions by introducing one approach to evaluation—developmental evaluation—and reporting on its use in the evaluation of the Southwest Climate and Environmental Information Collaborative (SCENIC). A web interface under development at the Western...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
(Abstract from Wiley): The growing season start and duration, along with other temperature-related measures of importance to premium wine grapes in Napa Valley, California have changed as climate over the western United States has warmed. The growing season start has varied from year to year with a standard deviation of about 3 weeks, but over the 1958–2016 record a linear fit to the time sequence shows it advanced by more than 4 weeks. Over the study period, advances in the growing season were strongly influenced by temperature increases beginning in the late 1960s with warm anomalies generally persisting through recent years. The date upon which the growing season accumulated 1400 growing degree-days also shifted...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
Climate change’s threat to the identity, culture, economy, and livelihoods of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe (PLPT) can be better understood through community-engaged participatory methods. Our research team of Indigenous and non-Indigenous scientists formed a tribal-university partnership with the PLPT Council to understand how climate change and upstream pressures threaten PLPT ecosystems, lands, and resources. The objectives are to: (1) consider how decolonizing, Indigenizing, and participatory methodologies can inform climate research engagement between scientists and Indigenous partners; (2) understand PLPT perspectives of climate change impacts and priorities for climate research; and (3) engage the PLPT community...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
(Abstract from Taylor & Francis Online): In response to the wildfire crisis across the American West, governments are increasing investments in forest health. Guidelines for these investments often include environmental justice (EJ) provisions. However, current processes for addressing EJ aren’t consistently meeting the needs of communities in forested areas. We analyze one source of wildfire mitigation funds in California, Forest Health Grants, to assess its adherence to distributive, procedural, and Indigenous aspects of EJ. We find that this program is not necessarily serving “disadvantaged” communities according to the State’s definition. We argue that current metrics for identifying “disadvantaged” communities...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
(Abstract from Springer): There is increasing interest among scholars in producing information that is useful and usable to land and natural resource managers in a changing climate. This interest has prompted transitions from scientist- to stakeholder-driven or collaborative approaches to climate science. A common indicator of successful collaboration is whether stakeholders use the information resulting from the projects in which they are engaged. However, detailed examples of how stakeholders use climate information are relatively scarce in the literature, leading to a challenge in understanding what researchers can and should expect and plan for in terms of stakeholder use of research findings. Drawing on theoretical,...
Abstract (from PLOS ONE): The responses of individuals and populations to climate change vary as functions of physiology, ecology, and plasticity. We investigated whether annual variation in seasonal temperature and precipitation was associated with relative abundances of breeding bird species at local and regional levels in southern California, USA, from 1968–2013. We tested our hypotheses that abundances were correlated positively with precipitation and negatively with temperature in this semiarid to arid region. We also examined whether responses to climate varied among groups of species with similar land-cover associations, nesting locations, and migratory patterns. We investigated relations between seasonal...


map background search result map search result map Multi-Decadal Simulation of Marsh Topography Under Sea Level Rise and Episodic Sediment Loads Multi-Decadal Simulation of Marsh Topography Under Sea Level Rise and Episodic Sediment Loads