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Abstract (from http://www.nature.com/articles/srep24441): The 170 National Forests and Grasslands (NFs) in the conterminous United States are public lands that provide important ecosystem services such as clean water and timber supply to the American people. This study investigates the potential impacts of climate change on two key ecosystem functions (i.e., water yield and ecosystem productivity) using the most recent climate projections derived from 20 Global Climate Models (GCMs) of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 5 (CMIP5). We find that future climate change may result in a significant reduction in water yield but an increase in ecosystem productivity in NFs. On average, gross ecosystem productivity...
This recorded presentation is from the April 17, 2014 workshop for the "Integrated Scenarios of the Future Northwest Environment" project. The recording is available on YouTube. The Integrated Scenarios project is an effort to understand and predict the effects of climate change on the Northwest's climate, hydrology, and vegetation. The project was funded by the Northwest Climate Science Center and the Climate Impacts Research Consortium.
Wildfire refugia are forest patches that are minimally-impacted by fire and provide critical habitats for fire-sensitive species and seed sources for post-fire forest regeneration. Wildfire refugia are relatively understudied, particularly concerning the impacts of subsequent fires on existing refugia. We opportunistically re-visited 122 sites classified in 1994 for a prior fire refugia study, which were burned by two wildfires in 2012 in the Cascade mountains of central Washington, USA. We evaluated the fire effects for historically persistent fire refugia and compared them to the surrounding non-refugial forest matrix. Of 122 total refugial (43 plots) and non-refugial (79 plots) sites sampled following the 2012...
Monthly temperature and precipitation data from 41 global climate models (GCMs) of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) were compared to observations for the 20th century, with a focus on the U.S. Pacific Northwest (PNW) and surrounding region. A suite of statistics, or metrics, was calculated, including correlation and variance of mean seasonal spatial patterns, amplitude of seasonal cycle, diurnal temperature range, annual- to decadal-scale variance, long-term persistence, and regional teleconnections to El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Performance, or credibility, was assessed based on the GCMs' abilities to reproduce the observed metrics. GCMs were ranked in their credibility using two...
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Estimates of the probability of mortality in whitebark pine from mountain pine beetles as determined from a logistic generalized additive model of the presence of mortality as functions of the number of trees killed last year, the percent whitebark pine in each cell, minimum winter temperature, average fall temperature, average April - Aug temperature, and cummulative current and previous year summer precipitation. Analysis was done at a 1 km grid cell resolution. Data are a list of points in comma separated text format. Point coordinates are the center of each 1 km grid cell.
This story map explores the work being conducted in the project, Can We Conserve Wetlands Under a Changing Climate? Mapping Wetland Hydrology Across an Ecoregion and Developing Climate Adaptation Recommendations. Explore the story map to learn more about the work being done to understand how wetlands may change in the future.
Abstract (from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/hyp.10964/abstract): While the effects of land use change in urban areas have been widely examined, the combined effects of climate and land use change on the quality of urban and urbanizing streams have received much less attention. We describe a modelling framework that is applicable to the evaluation of potential changes in urban water quality and associated hydrologic changes in response to ongoing climate and landscape alteration. The grid-based spatially distributed model, Distributed Hydrology Soil Vegetation Model-Water Quality (DHSVM-WQ), is an outgrowth of DHSVM that incorporates modules for assessing hydrology and water quality in urbanized watersheds...
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As the impacts of climate change amplify, understanding the consequences for wetlands will be critical for their sustainable management and conservation, particularly in arid regions such as the Columbia Plateau. The depressional wetlands in this region (wetlands located in topographic depressions where water can accumulate) are an important source of surface water during the summer months. However, their health depends directly on precipitation and evaporation, making them susceptible to changes in temperature and precipitation. Yet few tools for monitoring water movement patterns (hydrology) in and out of these landscapes currently exist, hindering efforts to model how they are changing. This project provided...
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The Integrated Scenarios of the Future Northwest Environment project (an FY2012 NW CSC funded project), resulted in several datasets describing projected changes in climate, hydrology and vegetation for the 21st century over the Northwestern US. The raw data is available in netCDF format, which is a standard data file format for weather forecasting/climate change/GIS applications. However, the sheer size of these datasets and the specific file format (netCDF) for data access pose significant barriers to data access for many users. This is a particular challenge for many natural/cultural resource managers and others working on conservation efforts in the Pacific Northwest. The goal of this project was to increase...
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The rugged landscapes of northern Idaho and western Montana support biodiverse ecosystems, and provide a variety of natural resources and services for human communities. However, the benefits provided by these ecosystems may be at risk as changing climate magnifies existing stressors and allows new stressors to emerge. Preparation for and response to these potential changes can be most effectively addressed through multi-stakeholder partnerships, evaluating vulnerability of important resources to climate change, and developing response and preparation strategies for managing key natural resources in a changing world. This project supports climate-smart conservation and management across forests of northern Idaho...
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The Southeastern U.S. spans broad ranges of physiographic settings and contains a wide variety of aquatic systems that provide habitat for hundreds of endemic aquatic species that pose interesting challenges and opportunities for managers of aquatic resources, particularly in the face of climate change. For example, the Southeast contains the southernmost populations of the eastern brook trout and other cold-water dependent species. Climate change is predicted to increase temperatures in the South and is likely to have a substantial effect on extant populations of cold-water biota. Thus, aquatic managers are tasked with developing strategies for preserving cold-water dependent biota, such as eastern brook trout,...
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The distribution and abundance of cheatgrass, an invasive annual grass native to Eurasia, has increased substantially across the Intermountain West, including the Great Basin. Cheatgrass is highly flammable, and as it has expanded, the extent and frequency of fire in the Great Basin has increased by as much as 200%. These changes in fire regimes are associated with loss of the native sagebrush, grasses, and herbaceous flowering plants that provide habitat for many native animals, including Greater Sage-Grouse. Changes in vegetation and fire management have been suggested with the intent of conserving Greater Sage-Grouse. However, the potential responses of other sensitive-status birds to these changes in management...
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Forests are of tremendous ecological and economic importance. They provide natural places for recreation, clean drinking water, and important habitats for fish and wildlife. However, the warmer temperatures and harsher droughts in the west that are related to climate change are causing die-offs of many trees. Outbreaks of insects, like the mountain pine beetle, that kill trees are also more likely in warmer, drier conditions. To maintain healthy and functioning forest ecosystems, one action forest managers can take is to make management decisions that will help forests adapt to future climate change. However, adaptation is a process based on genetic change and few tools are currently available for managers to use...
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The Northwest Climate Conference (formerly called the Pacific Northwest Climate Science Conference) is the premier climate science event for the region, providing a forum for researchers and practitioners to share scientific results and discuss challenges and solutions related to the impacts of climate change on people, natural resources, and infrastructure in the Northwest. Conference participants include policy- and decision-makers, resource managers, and scientists from academia, public agencies, sovereign tribal nations, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector. More information can be found at the conference website: http://pnwclimateconference.org. The Seventh Annual Northwest Climate Conference...
Final Report for the Third Annual Pacific Northwest Climate Science Conference
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Northwest CASC, conference
Climate change is expected to have different effects in different parts of the world. For this reason, regionally-specific projections of climate and environmental change are important to help those who need to plan how best to adapt. The goal of this project was to use the latest global climate models and state of the science models of vegetation and hydrology, to describe what the latest science says about the Northwest’s future climate, vegetation, and hydrology. Researchers in the project began by evaluating the ability of climate models to simulate observed climate patterns in the Northwest region. The best performing models were ‘downscaled’, that is, remapped onto the finer grids used in models of hydrology...
Streams are classified as perennial (flowing uninterrupted, year-round) or intermittent (flowing part of the year) or ephemeral (flowing only during rainfall events). The classifications of “streamflow permanence” were primarily established in the middle 20th century and are often outdated and inaccurate today if they were not adjusted for changes in land use, wildfires, or climate. Understanding where streams are perennial is important for a variety of reasons. For example, perennial streams receive special regulatory protections under a variety of statutes, and provide important habitat for fish, wildlife, and other species. To predict the likelihood that streams are perennial, we compiled nearly 25,000 observations...
Abstract (from http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate2252.html): Climate change will decrease worldwide biodiversity through a number of potential pathways1, including invasive hybridization2 (cross-breeding between invasive and native species). How climate warming influences the spread of hybridization and loss of native genomes poses difficult ecological and evolutionary questions with little empirical information to guide conservation management decisions3. Here we combine long-term genetic monitoring data with high-resolution climate and stream temperature predictions to evaluate how recent climate warming has influenced the spatio-temporal spread of human-mediated hybridization between...
Abstract (from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2015WR017873/abstract): Spatially distributed snow depth and snow duration data were collected over two to four snow seasons during water years 2011–2014 in experimental forest plots within the Cedar River Municipal Watershed, 50 km east of Seattle, Washington, USA. These 40 × 40 m forest plots, situated on the western slope of the Cascade Range, include unthinned second-growth coniferous forests, variable density thinned forests, forest gaps in which a 20 m diameter (approximately equivalent to one tree height) gap was cut in the middle of each plot, and old-growth forest. Together, this publicly available data set includes snow depth and density observations...
This project gallery includes all project reports and associated assessment materials, including interactive and downloadable connectivity and climate datasets for the project " Creating Practitioner-driven, Science-based Plans for Connectivity Conservation in a Changing Climate: A Collaborative Assessment of Climate-Connectivity Needs in the Washington-British Columbia Transboundary Region".


map background search result map search result map USGS-USFS Partnership to Help Managers Evaluate Conservation Strategies for Aquatic Ecosystems based on Future Climate Projections Moving from Awareness to Action: Informing Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments and Adaptation Planning for Idaho and Montana National Forests Probability of Whitebark Pine Mortality from Mountain Pine Beetle, 1997-2009, Northern Rockies Study Area Integrated Scenarios Tools: Improving the Accessibility of the Integrated Scenarios Data Relations Among Cheatgrass, Fire, Climate, and Sensitive-Status Birds across the Great Basin Can We Conserve Wetlands Under a Changing Climate? Mapping Wetland Hydrology in the Columbia Plateau Using Genetic Information to Understand Drought Tolerance and Bark Beetle Resistance in Whitebark Pine Forests Support for the Seventh Annual Northwest Climate Conference Using Genetic Information to Understand Drought Tolerance and Bark Beetle Resistance in Whitebark Pine Forests Moving from Awareness to Action: Informing Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments and Adaptation Planning for Idaho and Montana National Forests Can We Conserve Wetlands Under a Changing Climate? Mapping Wetland Hydrology in the Columbia Plateau Probability of Whitebark Pine Mortality from Mountain Pine Beetle, 1997-2009, Northern Rockies Study Area Integrated Scenarios Tools: Improving the Accessibility of the Integrated Scenarios Data Support for the Seventh Annual Northwest Climate Conference Relations Among Cheatgrass, Fire, Climate, and Sensitive-Status Birds across the Great Basin USGS-USFS Partnership to Help Managers Evaluate Conservation Strategies for Aquatic Ecosystems based on Future Climate Projections