The Pacific Northwest Climate CIGnal
The Climate Impacts Group (CIG) issues a quarterly electronic newsletter designed to provide updates on regional climate and climate-related research, meetings, and topics of interest to Pacific Northwest (PNW) decision makers and resource managers. The first newsletter was distributed in January 2005.
To subscribe to the newsletter, please visit the CIG's "climateupdate" listserve home page. You can also subscribe to the newsletter by sending a blank email to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Pacific Northwest Climate CIGnal
Issue #3, Summer 2005
In this Issue
- Climate forecast update
- Climate and water fall forecast meetings scheduled for October
- Washington State Climate Change Conference 2005: Planning for Climate Disruption
- City of Seattle report considers impacts of climate change on operations
- New paper examines influence of temperature versus precipitation in snowpack trends
- CIG website spotlight: About CIG
1. Climate forecast update
NOAA's latest expert assessment states that ENSO-neutral conditions are expected for the next 3-6 months. Current climate conditions in the tropical Pacific are near average, also indicating ENSO-neutral conditions. More details...
2. Fall climate and water forecast meetings scheduled for October
The CIG's annual climate and water fall forecast meetings are scheduled for Thursday, October 13th (Boise) and Wednesday, October 26th (Seattle). The Boise meeting will focus on water forecasts for the Snake River and Columbia River. The Seattle meeting will focus on water forecasts for the Columbia River and western Washington/Oregon river systems. More details on the meetings will be available on the CIG website in September.
3. Washington State Climate Change Conference 2005: Planning for Climate Disruption
King County is hosting a major climate change conference on October 27, 2005 at the Qwest Field Event Center in Seattle. The conference, titled “The Future Ain't What It Used To Be: Planning for Climate Disruption”, will bring a diverse range of representatives from Washington State governments, private businesses, non-profits, and the community-at-large to discuss climate change impacts and potential adaptation strategies. Key sectors for the break-out sessions include agriculture, coastal areas, fish, forests, hydropower, and water supply. The CIG will present updated climate change scenarios for the PNW and information on the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment report (due 2007). More information on the meeting is available on the meeting website.
4. City of Seattle report considers impacts of climate change on operations
The City of Seattle Auditor 's Office recently completed a report evaluating the potential impacts of climate change on operations, services, and infrastructure at the Seattle Department of Transportation. Major findings include the following:
- Climate change is expected to cause increased winter precipitation and more frequent flood and landslide events in Seattle;
- Climate change could cause rising sea levels and coastal inundation (with implications for the design standards for the new Alaskan Way seawall);
- Climate change could impact Seattle 's bridge conditions as warmer temperatures cause greater thermal expansion;
- Increased winter rainfall and warmer temperatures could cause an increase of potholes and cracking and buckling of paved surfaces; and
- Climate change will likely result in increased maintenance requirements for landscaped areas, impacts on private and public development, and impacts on fish habitat and water quality.
5. New paper examines influence of temperature versus precipitation in snowpack trends
A new paper by researchers at the CIG and the University of Colorado uses simulations of April 1 snow water equivalent (SWE) to determine the influence of temperature and precipitation variability on overall SWE trends in the western U.S. from 1916-2003. The analysis found that downward trends in April 1 SWE over the western U.S. are primarily due to widespread warming and are not well explained by decadal climate variability associated with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. Trends in SWE associated with precipitation trends, however, appear to be largely controlled by decadal variability rather than longer term trends in climate.
A PDF of the pre-print copy is available here. The paper will be published in the Journal of Climate later this year.
Citation: Hamlet A.F., P.W. Mote, M.P. Clark, and D.P. Lettenmaier (in press). Effects of temperature and precipitation variability on snowpack trends in the western U.S., to appear in the Journal of Climate.
6. CIG website spotlight: About CIG
The “About CIG” section of the website provides general information on the CIG and the group's research approach (note: summaries of specific research projects are available in the “Research” section). The section also includes information on major CIG accomplishments, a listing of agencies and other organizations the CIG has partnered with since 1995, and future research directions (2005-2010). A sampling of news stories featuring CIG researchers and/or research is located in this section. Finally, the section includes information on how to contact the CIG and individual researchers at the CIG. For more information on the CIG, please contact the web administrator.