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: email@example.com.
The Pacific Northwest Climate CIGnal
Issue #7, Summer/Early Fall 2006
In this Issue
- Pacific Northwest climate outlook
- Pacific Northwest streamflow forecast update
- CIG annual climate and water fall forecast meetings
- New GIS-based climate mapping tool
- Local government commitment to adapting to climate change
- Re-insurance industry urges dealing with climate change
- CIG in the news: Recent media stories
- New CIG publications
1. Pacific Northwest climate outlook
NOAA's National Climatic Data Center reported that PNW temperatures (OR-WA-ID) for May-July 2006 were the warmest on record (June-July-August was 3rd warmest for the PNW on record), and the first seven months of 2006 was the warmest January-July of any year in the U.S. since records began in 1895. For the fall, weak El Niño conditions have developed in the tropical Pacific and they are likely to continue and possibly intensify into early 2007. Read more about the outlook for fall...
The fall/winter climate outlook will also be discussed extensively at the CIG's annual climate and water fall forecast meetings in October.
2. Pacific Northwest streamflow forecast update
West-wide Seasonal Hydrologic Forecasts Update (Columbia R., Snake R., and other western-U.S. rivers)
** The University of Washington's West-wide Seasonal Hydrologic Forecast System is currently transitioning to run on a Linux cluster and utilize a new, fully automated initialization approach. As a result of this work, the September hydrologic forecasts are not available for this edition of the Climate CIGnal.
Readers are invited to check the West-wide Seasonal Hydrologic Forecast System website later in the month for updates. In general, these experimental real-time forecasts are updated monthly and are based on several climate forecast methods. A related effort, showing daily updates of hydrologic conditions throughout the U.S., can be found on the UW Experimental Surface Water Monitor website.
The streamflow forecasts will also be discussed extensively at the CIG's annual climate and water fall forecast meetings in October.
3. CIG annual climate and water fall forecast meetings
Registration is open for the CIG's annual climate and water fall forecast meetings.
Every fall, the CIG hosts workshops highlighting the seasonal climate forecast and water resource outlook for the Pacific Northwest (PNW) for the upcoming water year. The information presented at these meetings provides public and private resource managers the opportunity to consider how projected seasonal streamflow levels may affect operational decisions in the Pacific Northwest. The meetings also provide the opportunity to learn about new water resource forecasting techniques and tools.
Meetings will be held on the following dates at the following locations:
- October 3, 2006 - Kelso, Washington. This year's "west-side" forecast meeting, focusing on the Columbia River basin, western Washington/Oregon watersheds, and urban water issues, will be held at the Red Lion Inn in Kelso, Washington. Registration is required by September 29, 2006. More details on the Kelso meeting...
- October 17, 2006 - Boise, Idaho. The Idaho forecast meeting, focusing on the Columbia and Snake River basins, will be held at the Idaho Department of Water Resources in Boise, Idaho. Registration is required by October 13, 2006. More details on the Boise meeting...
4. New GIS-based climate mapping tool
The CIG has developed a new on-line climate mapping tool that allows users to see how climate varies in the Pacific Northwest by location and time. The maps, which can be customized based on user-selected criteria, show changes in climate associated with different patterns of climate variability (specifically the El Niño/Southern Oscillation and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation) compared to average conditions during 1915-2003. Mappable climate parameters include temperature, precipitation, snowpack, and soil moisture. Seasons include winter (Dec-Feb), Summer (Jun-Aug), April 1, and July 1. The larger PDF version of the maps generated by the tool are suitable for presentations or other documents.
The CIG will continue to increase the number of maps available through the mapping tool over the next several months. This includes maps of future climate change, which will allow users to compare how effects of projected warming compare to historic variability.
We welcome feedback on any aspect of the website, including the maps, the user interface, and the content. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
5. Local government commitment to adapting to climate change
Adapting to climate change is a necessary component of responding to climate change. Two communities, King County, Washington and the City of San Francisco, recently took steps to formalize their commitment to planning for climate change.
- King County Global Warming Team
On May 22, 2006, King County Executive Ron Sims announced the permanent establishment of the County's Global Warming Team, an inter-departmental "strike force" led by the Executive's office. The team is tasked with developing the County's climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies.
- San Francisco utilities commission preparing for global warming - The Mercury News, August 9, 2006
"The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission began Tuesday what could be a long-term plan to save the city and region from a catastrophic change in climate. Whether it's the rising of the ocean of more than three feet, leading to a collapse of the city's sewer system, or a dramatic reduction in the Sierra Nevada snow pack, resulting in a crippling drought and energy crisis, San Francisco will be ready, said the commission's General Manager Susan Leal." (Read more...)
6. Re-insurance industry urges dealing with climate change
Lloyd's, one of the world's leading re-insurance companies, has called for insurance companies to take adapting to climate change seriously given the potential economic costs of climate change impacts. Implications for the insurance industry are highlighted in Lloyd's 2006 report Climate Change: Adapt or Bust. See related press release:
7. CIG in the news: Recent media stories
Recent media stories featuring CIG research and/or researchers include the following:
- Dry weather likely into autumn - Tacoma News-Tribune, September 8, 2006
- Global warming: They're not laughing at Ron Sims now - The Seattle Times, July 12, 2006
- Sims unveils 10-year plan to repair county levees - The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, July 7, 2006
- Sims calls for new district to fix levees, control flooding - The Seattle Times, July 7, 2006
- Study: Most of continental US is getting wetter - Discovery Channel News, June 28, 2006
- An even grayer Seattle from global warming? - The Seattle Times, June 1, 2006
- Analysis rates Oregon risks if oceans rise - The Oregonian, May 30, 2006
- Temperature rising: Feeling a bit warm? You may just have to live with it - U.S. News and World Reports, May 30, 2006
- A warmer world may, or may not, be wetter - USA Today, May 30, 2006
Additional news items are available at CIG in the News.
8. New CIG publications
- Andreadis, K. M., and D. P. Lettenmaier. 2006. Trends in 20th century drought over the continental United States. Geophysical Research Letters 33, L10403, doi:10.1029/2006GL025711.
- Mote, P. W., E. P. Salathé, and C. Peacock. 2006. Energy-relevant Impacts of Climate Change in the Pacific Northwest. Report prepared for Puget Sound Energy by the Climate Impacts Group, University of Washington, Seattle. 19 pp.
- Whitely Binder, L. C. 2006. Climate change and watershed planning in Washington State. Journal of the American Water Works Association 42(4):915-926.