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Abstract (from http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JCLI-D-15-0088.1): A comprehensive understanding of the spatial, seasonal, and diurnal patterns in cloud cover frequency over the Hawaiian Islands was developed using high-resolution image data from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensors aboard the Terra and Aqua satellites. The Terra and Aqua MODIS cloud mask products, which provide the confidence that a given 1-km pixel is unobstructed by cloud, were obtained for the entire MODIS time series (10-plus years) over the main Hawaiian Islands. Monthly statistics were generated from the daily cloud mask data, including mean cloud cover...
Floodplains pose challenges to managers of conservation lands because of constantly changing interactions with their rivers. Although scientific knowledge and understanding of the dynamics and drivers of river-floodplain systems can provide guidance to floodplain managers, the scientific process often occurs in isolation from management. Further, communication barriers between scientists and managers can be obstacles to appropriate application of scientific knowledge. With the coproduction of science in mind, our objectives were the following: (1) to document management priorities of floodplain conservation lands, and (2) identify science needs required to better manage the identified management priorities under...
The impacts of different emission levels and climate change conditions to landscape-scale natural vegetation could have large repercussions for ecosystem services and environmental health. We forecast the risk-reduction benefits to natural landscapes of lowering business-as-usual greenhouse gas emissions by comparing the extent and spatial patterns of climate exposure to dominant vegetation under current emissions trajectories (Representative Concentration Pathway, RCP8.5) and envisioned Paris Accord target emissions (RCP4.5). This comparison allows us to assess the ecosystem value of reaching targets to keep global temperature warming under 2°C. Using 350,719 km2 of natural lands in California, USA, and the mapped...
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...
Abstract (from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/hyp.11144/full): The extensive forests that cover the mountains of the Pacific Northwest, USA, modify snow processes and therefore affect snow water storage as well as snow disappearance timing. However, forest influences on snow accumulation and ablation vary with climate, topography, and land cover and are therefore subject to substantial temporal and spatial variability. We utilize multiple years of snow observations from across the region to assess forest-snow interactions in the relatively warm winter conditions characteristic of the maritime and maritime-continental climates. We (1) quantify the difference in snow magnitude and disappearance timing...
Snow conditions are extremely important to a wide range of hydrologic and ecosystem components and processes, including those related to surface energy and moisture stores and fluxes, vegetation, mammals, birds, and fish. The required snow datasets currently do not exist at the required spatial and temporal resolutions needed by end users such as scientists, land managers, and policy makers.
Abstract (from http://jcom.sissa.it/archive/15/01/JCOM_1501_2016_A01): Whereas the evolution of snow cover across forested mountain watersheds is difficult to predict or model accurately, the presence or absence of snow cover is easily observable and these observations contribute to improved snow models. We engaged citizen scientists to collect observations of the timing of distributed snow disappearance over three snow seasons across the Pacific Northwest, U.S.A. . The primary goal of the project was to build a more spatially robust dataset documenting the influence of forest cover on the timing of snow disappearance, and public outreach was a secondary goal. Each year's effort utilized a different strategy, building...
Recent extreme floods on the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers have motivated expansion of floodplain conservation lands. Within Missouri there are more than 85,000 acres of public conservation lands in large-river floodplains. Floodplain lands are highly dynamic and challenging to manage, particularly as future climatic conditions may be highly variable. These lands have the potential to provide valuable ecosystem services like provision of habitat, nutrient processing, carbon sequestration, and flood-water storage that produce economic values in terms of recreational spending, improved water quality, and decreased flood hazards. However, floodplain managers may need tools to help them understand nonstationary conditions...
Climate change is projected to cause earlier and less snowmelt, potentially reducing water availability for terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and for municipal and agricultural water supplies. However, if forested landscapes can be managed to retain snow longer, some of these environmental and financial impacts may be mitigated. Results from our research team demonstrate that in the Pacific Northwest (PNW), opening dense forest canopies through creating forest gaps will generally lead to more snow accumulation and later melt (i.e., up to 13 weeks later). However, under certain conditions, such as locations on ridges with high wind speeds and sunny south-facing slopes, the snow that accumulated in the forest is...
Abstract (from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277379115300329): Delineating the climate processes governing precipitation variability in drought-prone Texas is critical for predicting and mitigating climate change effects, and requires the reconstruction of past climate beyond the instrumental record. We synthesize existing paleoclimate proxy data and climate simulations to provide an overview of climate variability in Texas during the Holocene. Conditions became progressively warmer and drier transitioning from the early to mid Holocene, culminating between 7 and 3 ka (thousand years ago), and were more variable during the late Holocene. The timing and relative magnitude of Holocene climate...
This project is working closely with web developers (California Climate Commons, http://climate.calcommons.org; and the California Landscape Conservation Cooperative) to provide user-friendly tools and guidance from site to regional scales with direct feedback from natural resource managers for utility, understandability, relevance, and accessibility. Ongoing projects and relationships across multiple disciplines, organizations, and applications provide this forum. An important aspect of the project was to build capacity of the Commons and engage a larger management community in issues associated with water availability/water supply analysis.
Clouds often come in contact with vegetation (often named fogs) within a certain elevation range on Hawaii’s mountains. Propelled by strong winds, cloud droplets are driven onto the stems and leaves of plants where they are deposited. Some of the water that accumulates on the plants in this way drips to the ground, adding additional water over and above the water supplied by rainfall. Prior observations show that the amount of cloud water intercepted by vegetation is substantial, but also quite variable from place to place. It is, therefore, important to create a map for the complex spatial patterns of cloud water interception (CWI) in Hawaii. In this project, we created the CWI map at 0.8-km resolution based on...
Abstract (from Water): Climatically driven changes in snow characteristics (snowfall, snowpack, and snowmelt) will affect hydrologic and ecological systems in Alaska over the coming century, yet there exist no projections of downscaled future snow pack metrics for the state of Alaska. We updated historical and projected snow day fraction (PSF, the fraction of days with precipitation falling as snow) from McAfee et al. We developed modeled snowfall equivalent (SFE) derived from the product of snow-day fraction (PSF) and existing gridded precipitation for Alaska from Scenarios Network for Alaska and Arctic Planning (SNAP). We validated the assumption that modeled SFE approximates historical decadally averaged snow...
Significant efforts are underway to translate improved understanding of how climate change is altering ecosystems into practical actions for sustaining ecosystem functions and benefits. We explore this transition in California, where adaptation and mitigation are advancing relatively rapidly, through four case studies that span large spatial domains and encompass diverse ecological systems, institutions, ownerships, and policies. The case studies demonstrate the context specificity of societal efforts to adapt ecosystems to climate change and involve applications of diverse scientific tools (e.g., scenario analyses, downscaled climate projections, ecological and connectivity models) tailored to specific planning...