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Thermokarst is the process whereby the thawing of ice-rich permafrost ground causes land subsidence, resulting in development of distinctive landforms. Accelerated thermokarst due to climate change will damage infrastructure, but also impact hydrology, ecology and biogeochemistry. Here, we present a circumpolar assessment of the distribution of thermokarst landscapes, defined as landscapes comprised of current thermokarst landforms and areas susceptible to future thermokarst development. At 3.6 × 106 km2, thermokarst landscapes are estimated to cover ∼20% of the northern permafrost region, with approximately equal contributions from three landscape types where characteristic wetland, lake and hillslope thermokarst...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Nature Communications
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In the southwestern U.S., the meteorological phenomenon known as atmospheric rivers (ARs) has gained increasing attention due to its strong connections to floods, snowpacks, and water supplies in the West Coast states. Relatively less is known about the ecological implications of ARs, particularly in the interior Southwest, where AR storms are less common. To address this gap, we compared a chronology of AR landfalls on the west coast between 1989 and 2011 and between 25°N and 42.5°N to annual metrics of the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI; an indicator of vegetation productivity) and daily resolution precipitation data to assess influences of AR-fed winter precipitation on vegetation productivity across...
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The coast has long provided communities with a multitude of benefits including an abundance of natural resources that sustain economies, societies, and ecosystems. Coasts provide natural harbors for commerce, trade, and transportation; beaches and shorelines that attract residents and tourists; and wetlands and estuaries that are critical for fisheries and water resources. Coastal ecosystems provide critical functions to cycle and move nutrients, store carbon, detoxify wastes, and purify air and water. These areas also mitigate floods and buffer against coastal storms that bring high winds and salt water inland and erode the shore. Coastal regions are critical in the development, transportation, and processing of...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
This report identifies needs and opportunities in the United States Affiliated Pacific Islands (USAPI) region relative to climate change science, management, and adaptation strategies. The region includes the territories of Guam and American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas (CNMI), and the independent states of Palau, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI). This inventory is responsive to the Pacific Islands Climate Science Center (PICSC) Strategic Science Agenda and its articulation with the region.
Categories: Data, Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Pacific Islands CASC
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The coastal region of California supports a wealth of ecosystem services including habitat provision for wildlife and fisheries. Tidal marshes, mudflats, and shallow bays within coastal estuaries link marine, freshwater and terrestrial habitats, and provide economic and recreational benefits to local communities. Climate change effects such as sea-level rise (SLR) are altering these habitats, but we know little about how these areas will change over the next 50–100 years. Our study examined the projected effects of three recent SLR scenarios produced for the West Coast of North America on tidal marshes in California. We compiled physical and biological data, including coastal topography, tidal inundation, plant...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Open-File Report
A beautiful plant found only on Haleakala may become rarer. A recent study coauthored by UH researcher Paul Krushelnycky shows changing climate patterns allowing fog and rain to reach higher elevations are threatening the plant but he cautions all is not lost. He joined us in our studio to tell us more. Paul is currently Assistant Researcher, at the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources at the University of Hawaii in Manoa.
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Reserve design is a process that can address ecological, social, and political factors to identify parcels of land needed to sustain wildlife populations and other natural resources. Acquisition of parcels for a large terrestrial reserve is difficult because it typically occurs over a long timeframe and thus invokes consideration of future conditions such as climate and urbanization changes. In central Florida, a new protected area, the Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge, has been authorized by the United States Government. The new refuge will host important threatened and endangered species and habitats, as well as be located to allow for species adaptation from climate change impacts. For this study...
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The ice formed by cold-season rainfall or rain on snow (ROS) has striking impacts on the economy and ecology of Alaska. An understanding of the atmospheric drivers of ROS events is required to better predict them and plan for environmental change. The spatially/temporally sparse network of stations in Alaska makes studying such events challenging, and gridded reanalysis or remote sensing products are necessary to fill the gaps. Recently developed dynamically downscaled climate data provide a new suite of high-resolution variables for investigating historical and projected ROS events across all of Alaska from 1979 to 2100. The dynamically downscaled reanalysis data of ERA-Interim replicated the seasonal patterns...
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Located in the northern tropical Pacific Ocean, Majuro is the capital of the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Majuro Atoll consists of a large, narrow landmass and a set of smaller perimeter islands surrounding a lagoon that is over 100 square miles in size. The waters surrounding the Majuro Atoll land areas are relatively shallow with poorly mapped bathymetry. However, the Pacific Ocean on the exterior of the coral atoll and the lagoon within its interior consist of deep bathymetry with steep slopes. The highest elevation of the Majuro Atoll is estimated at only 3-meters above sea level, which is the island community of Laura located on the western part of the atoll. At the eastern edge of the atoll lies the capital...
Categories: Data; Tags: 3D Elevation Program, 3DEP, American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, Base Maps, Bathymetric, All tags...
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In this paper we examine the variations of the boreal summer season sea breeze circulation along the Florida panhandle coast from relatively high resolution (10 km) regional climate model integrations. The 23 year climatology (1979–2001) of the multidecadal dynamically downscaled simulations forced by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction–Department of Energy (NCEP-DOE) Reanalysis II at the lateral boundaries verify quite well with the observed climatology. The variations at diurnal and interannual time scales are also well simulated with respect to the observations. We show from composite analyses made from these downscaled simulations that sea breezes in northwestern Florida are associated with changes...
The Climate Adaptation Science Centers (CASCs) deliver science to help fish, wildlife, water, land, and people adapt to a changing climate. Learn more about our work and accomplishments in the reports below or visit our website at www.usgs.gov/casc.


map background search result map search result map Coastal impacts, adaptation, and vulnerabilities: a technical input to the 2013 National Climate Assessment One Meter Topobathymetric Digital Elevation Model for Majuro Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands, 1944 to 2016 One Meter Topobathymetric Digital Elevation Model for Majuro Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands, 1944 to 2016 Coastal impacts, adaptation, and vulnerabilities: a technical input to the 2013 National Climate Assessment