The Climate Impacts Group (CIG) is working to enhance our capability to analyze climate impacts and adaptive policies in the context of interacting climate, natural, and human systems. More specifically, the CIG is striving to move our research to a higher level of integration in two dimensions:
- vertically, within a single sector such as water resources (integrating from climate dynamics to human response strategies), and
- horizontally, focusing on linkages across sectors.
Our efforts in horizontal integrated assessment will initially focus on the consequences of climate variability within integrated coastal watersheds. This work will examine the interactions among terrestrial hydrology, forest ecology, coastal watershed management, and estuarine and coastal ecosystems using the life cycles of coho and chinook salmon as the natural integrators across these varied environments. Advances in understanding the integrated system will be used to support analysis of multiple purpose or coordinated management possibilities (e.g., the National Marine Fisheries Service’s salmon recovery plan). To support regional planning, we intend to develop and provide decision support tools that show the cadence of climate drivers at the watershed level in the Pacific Northwest (PNW).
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Work with the Stakeholder Community
Developing regional capacity to successfully manage the impacts of climate fluctuations requires ongoing dialogue between the CIG and regional resource managers and policy makers. The CIG fosters this dialogue, working with regional stakeholders (via workshops and one-on-one consultancies) to identify their informational needs and to characterize the types of useful products CIG might develop.
The CIG continues to provide the regional stakeholder community with state-of-the-art information about predicting and preparing for the impacts of climate variability and change. The CIG supplies stakeholders with the understanding and scientific resources needed to investigate the potential utility of climate forecasts for their own management applications.
The primary mechanism for moving forecasts from CIG research and outreach activities into actual operations is partnerships and technology transfer. The CIG’s fall water workshops, for example, have been instrumental in providing the awareness and training required to integrate climate forecasts and climate-based resource forecasts into PNW water resource management.
The CIG also engages senior level policy makers and resource managers in discussion on the implications of climate variability and change for the region’s resource management practices and policies. These discussions are aimed at shaping the broader policies and practices governing how PNW resources are managed. For an example of the CIG’s work with senior stakeholders, please see the executive summary for the CIG’s July 2001 climate and water policy workshop at Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, Washington.