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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...
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...
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.
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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 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 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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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...
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".
Abstract: Restoration of degraded wet meadows found on upland valley floors has been proposed to achieve a range of ecological benefits, including augmenting late‐season streamflow. There are, however, few field and modelling studies documenting hydrologic changes following restoration that can be used to validate this expectation, and published changes in groundwater levels and streamflow following restoration are inconclusive. Here, we assess the streamflow benefit that can be obtained by wet‐meadow restoration using a physically based quantitative analysis. This framework employs a 1‐dimensional linearized Boussinesq equation with a superimposed solution for changes in storage due to groundwater upwelling and...
Forests strongly influence snow processes and affect the amount and duration of snow storage on a landscape. Therefore, forest changes, from management activities or natural disturbances, have important consequences for spring and summer soil moisture availability, aquatic habitat, and water supply. Accounting for these effects of forest change on watersheds will become even more important under warming climate conditions, which will reduce the amount and duration of snow storage. In this webinar, Susan E. Dickerson-Lange presents on Northwest Climate Science Center supported research that led to the creation of a conceptual model that paired relevant spatial datasets for considering the combined impacts of forest...
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...
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...
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...
To improve understanding of streamflow permanence in the Pacific Northwest, we have developed a method for predicting the annual probability of year-round streamflow at 30-meter intervals. The approach involves collecting and processing nearly 24,000 streamflow observations into “wet” or “dry” values, and synchronizing them with 291 predictor datasets that represent physical (one-time values) and climatic (monthly or annual values) conditions associated with the upstream area for each 30-meter point along streams in the Pacific Northwest. Both of these datasets are among the first of their kind and shed light on the scientific opportunities that ‘Big Data’ techniques allow for. The predictive models developed from...
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In the Northwest U.S., warming temperatures and changing precipitation patterns will likely result in significantly altered snowpack, stream flows, and water availability. Along with these changes comes an increased risk of “ecological drought”, or periods of water stress that impact ecosystems and the services they provide –which can ultimately impact human communities. More frequent and severe ecological droughts have the potential to push ecosystems beyond their ability to recover, resulting in complete changes in ecosystem composition and function. Ecological drought will only worsen existing management challenges, such as competition for water resources, habitat degradation, invasive species, and more frequent...
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Ecological systems are already responding to modern changes in climate. Many species are moving in directions and at rates that correspond with recent climatic change. Understanding how species distributions and abundances are likely to be altered can inform management and planning activities resulting in more robust management. We projected climate-driven changes in the abundances and distributions of 31 focal bird species in Oregon and Washington using the latest downscaled CMIP5 climate projections and corresponding vegetation model outputs. We mapped these future projections and integrated them into an existing web-based tool (http://data.pointblue.org/apps/nwcsc/) to allow managers and planners to access and...
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Climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing natural resource management. The disruptions it is causing require that we change the way we consider conservation and resource management in order to ensure the future of habitats, species, and human communities. Practitioners often struggle with how to identify and prioritize specific climate adaptation actions (CAAs). Management actions may have a higher probability of being successful if they are informed by available scientific knowledge and findings; a systematic review process provides a mechanism to scientifically assess management questions. By evaluating specific actions on scientific knowledge and findings, we may be able to increase management...
We assessed the performance of the MTCLIM scheme for estimating downward shortwave (SWdown) radiation and surface humidity from daily temperature range (DTR), as well as several schemes for estimating downward longwave radiation (LWdown), at 50 Baseline Solar Radiation Network stations globally. All of the algorithms performed reasonably well under most climate conditions, with biases and mean absolute errors generally less than 3% and 20%, respectively, over more than 70% of the global land surface. However, estimated SWdown had a bias of −26% at coastal sites, due to the ocean's moderating influence on DTR, and in continental interiors, SWdown had an average bias of −15% in the presence of snow, which was reduced...


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 Visualizing the Future Abundance and Distribution of Birds in the Northwest The Available Science Assessment Process (ASAP): Evaluating the Science behind Climate Adaptation Actions Integrated Scenarios Tools: Improving the Accessibility of the Integrated Scenarios Data Using Genetic Information to Understand Drought Tolerance and Bark Beetle Resistance in Whitebark Pine Forests Extremes to Ex-Streams: Informing Ecological Drought Adaptation in the Northwest 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 Visualizing the Future Abundance and Distribution of Birds in the Northwest The Available Science Assessment Process (ASAP): Evaluating the Science behind Climate Adaptation Actions Integrated Scenarios Tools: Improving the Accessibility of the Integrated Scenarios Data Extremes to Ex-Streams: Informing Ecological Drought Adaptation in the Northwest USGS-USFS Partnership to Help Managers Evaluate Conservation Strategies for Aquatic Ecosystems based on Future Climate Projections