John Abatzoglou, University of Idaho
Observations over the last half-century show that changes in the Pacific North American (PNA) pattern augmented warming during late winter and spring across western North America. This alignment of “natural” and anthropogenic forcing has hastened the decline in water resources, contributing to nearly a third of the reduction of precipitation falling as snow in the lower elevation mountains in the Cascades and Northern Rockies. By contrast, the recent “cool” springs across the Pacific Northwest coincide with several years of opposite polarity in the PNA. These observations suggest natural modes of variability including that associated with the PNA will factor strongly in determining the pace regional climate change. A suite of climate models are examined to assess their ability to resolve the spatial pattern associated with the observed PNA, as well how the PNA pattern changes under historical and future climate scenarios. While the PNA is well resolved by the models, they generally fail to capture observed changes in the PNA response over the late 20th century. However, under future climate scenarios, a majority of models suggest a shift toward the positive phase of the PNA resulting in amplified regional warming across western North America. Furthermore, changes in the PNA alone are shown to explain a bulk of the intermodel variability of projected late winter temperature change across western North America, thus elucidating a source of model uncertainty that is independent of climate model sensitivity.
Hedia Adelsman and Joanna Ekrem, WA Department of Ecology
The level of public skepticism about climate change and the ongoing budgetary crisis demand a high level of cooperation and collaboration among regional and local organizations; ready access to climate science and policies; and an information infrastructure that enables local communities and citizens to engage in the climate dialogue. The Department of Ecology, in cooperation with several other state agencies, is currently in the process of finalizing a State Integrated Climate Change Response Strategy to better enable state and local agencies, public and private businesses, non-governmental organizations and individuals to prepare for, address, and adapt to the impacts of climate change. The Response Strategy identifies opportunities to build the necessary scientific and institutional readiness and to better integrate climate science into existing State policies, programs and decision-making processes. It identifies opportunities to strengthen collaboration and partnerships, emerging policy and management goals, methods to improve public awareness of climate change and build support for meaningful action, and additional information and research needs to improve our understanding of how natural and human systems will respond to future climate change.
Wen Zhao, University of Idaho; Rick Allen, University of Idaho; Matt Germino, Idaho State University; Venkat Sridhar, Boise State University; Clarence Robison, University of Idaho; Jeremy Greth, University of Idaho; Ramesh Dhungel, University of Idaho; Henk deBruin, Scintec Corp
Surface energy partitioning is an essential component of water consumption, especially for natural vegetation systems in semiarid climamtes. In Idaho, we have strong interest in developing a better understanding of the time-based release of precipitation, in the form of evaporation and transpiration, from extensive systems of sagebrush, invasive cheatgrass, and forest, in order to better predict impacts to ground-water and ecosystem health under land-use and climate change, and tendencies for cheatgrass invastions to spread. Sensible heat fluxes over sagebrush, invasive cheat grass, and lodgepole pine systems have been measured since late 2009 using multiple eddy covariance stations and large aperature scintillometers (LAS). In addition we have measured radiation, water vapor and CO2 fluxes. We have used combinations of CSAT3 and RM Young 81000 3D sonic anemometers with LI-7500 CO2/H2O analyzers placed along transects of Scintec BLS900 LAS systems to independently derive H at each site. We are combining these data with extensive measures of net radiation and soil water content, potential and temperature, along with a Bowen ratio method at our cheatgrass site, to produce robust sets of somewhat independent assessments of all components of the energy balance as well as fluxes of CO2.
Sensible heat fluxes from the BLS900 systems have been computed in a number of ways to assess sensitivities of calculations: using wind speed measurements combined with fixed estimates for displacement height and roughness length to derive Monin–Obukhov (M-O) stability estimates; using friction velocity measurements directly from the EC systems in the M-O computations; and using measured H and friction velocity from the EC systems directly in the M-O computations. These applications create increasingly less independence between EC and LAS estimates, but indicate relative increases in consistencies and agreement among calculations. Results show the H derived by the scintillometry method to closely agree with that derived by the eddy covariance over both sagebrush and cheatgrass ecosystems during fall, winter, spring and summer, including during nighttime, when boundary layer conditions are sometimes highly stable. Differences between the Scintillometer-based H and H from any of the eddy covariance systems were generally of the same magnitudes as differences among the eddy covariance systems. Large aperture scintillometry is a recently developed method to estimate H from a relatively large footprint (source) area and relies on measuring small fluctuations in the refractive index of air caused by variation in temperatures of eddies.
Richard Fenske, UW Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences; Michael Yost, UW Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences; Ann Bostrom, UW
Fire is an essential ecological process. However, forest fire burn area in the Pacific Northwest is likely to double or even triple by the end of the 2040s based on projected climate change models and ecosystem evaluations. The projected increase in forest fires has negative health implications because of air quality impacts. The relationship between climate change, wildfires, and human health in Washington has not been examined closely. This research lays the groundwork for assessing climate change-related health and economic effects of forest fire exposures in Washington, to better inform related public policies. The analysis of wildfire events in Washington for the past ten years reported here shows events of varying sizes with established links to air quality degradation, in some cases in proximity to more populated areas. Analysis of these wildfire events also demonstrates gaps and inconsistencies in the availability of air quality monitoring and related event characterization data from governmental agencies. Methods will be described for combining geospatial estimates of exposures from historical wildfires with projected forest fire frequencies from climate models to estimate climate-related changes in forest fires and their health and cost consequences for the next several decades.
Jarod Blades, Kerry Kemp, Zion Klos, Troy Hall, Jo Ellen Force, Penelope Morgan, Philip Higuera, Timothy Link, Katy Kavanagh, and John Abatzoglou, University of Idaho
Climate change threatens the mountainous ecosystems of the northern Rockies and will impact social structures that manage and depend on them for ecosystem services and livelihoods. Our work integrates biophysical process-based research and site-specific predictive science with an assessment of social understanding and processing of local climate change effects and support for management interventions.
Recent work has shown that lower elevation forests in the northern Rockies region may become more vulnerable to a transition from snow-dominated during the winter to rain-dominated in the future. These changes influence water infiltration and subsurface hydrology, affecting hillslope and downstream water availability for forest species and human communities. Further, the spatial pattern and distribution of low elevation tree species may change given the altered water availability, especially when combined with increases in the probability, severity, and extent of fires in the northern Rockies.
Our interdisciplinary research team has begun quantifying some of these biophysical patterns at local scales, and we aim to understand the motivations and drivers that may influence regional stakeholders understanding, acceptance, and adaptation to local climate change effects. Our goal is to strengthen social and ecological resilience to local climate change effects by improving information and knowledge transfer channels among stakeholders. The vulnerability of social and ecological resources to local climate change, and the ability to adapt, not only depends on understanding the problem, but on synergy among stakeholders and preparedness for change. Furthermore, how stakeholders understand and address these changes can exacerbate or alleviate ecosystem resilience to climate change.
We are developing and testing a deliberative workshop framework that will serve as a boundary object for local and regional-scale collaborative groups, land managers, and community leaders. The workshops are based on visualization of local climate change vulnerability, participatory GIS, mental mapping, small group deliberation, and the evaluation of mitigation scenarios (e.g., prescribed fire, forest thinning, and water conservation). Improving the transfer of knowledge between scientists, land managers, and public stakeholders will increase the entire systems capacity to cope and adapt to a variety of challenges facing human communities and forests of the northern Rockies.
This poster will illustrate the integration and interdisciplinary research questions of our NSF IGERT research team, recent scientific findings of anticipated changes in the rain-snow transition zone of the Northwestern U.S., and a synopsis of our upcoming research related to social-ecological vulnerability to climate change, mitigation scenario development, and a framework for deliberative stakeholder workshops.
Ann Bostrom, UW; Travis Reynolds, Colby College; Rebecca Hudson, Arizona Chamber of Commerce
The effectiveness with which democratic societies respond to climate change depends on how the problem is understood by the lay public. Citizens must decide which public policies to support, and whether and how to consider ecological implications when making personal consumption choices. Survey research can reveal where citizen knowledge is lacking, but is generally not well designed to predict how individuals will incorporate new information into pre-existing knowledge and belief structures (i.e. mental models). In this study we used a mental models approach to characterize public understanding of climate change. The results of 56 open-ended interviews with educated laypeople in the Pacific Northwest of the United States suggests that respondents regard climate change as both negative and very likely, and demonstrate a basic familiarity with the issue. Nevertheless their knowledge of climate change processes exhibited some of the same idiosyncrasies observed in mental models of climate change in the early nineties, albeit to a lesser degree. A scant majority of 2008 respondents (51%) cited fossil fuel use as a cause of climate change, and nearly a third cited carbon dioxide specifically (20% mentioned both). Respondents nominated ozone depletion as a cause of climate change almost as frequently as carbon dioxide emissions (and more frequently than other greenhouse gas emissions). Furthermore, while industrialization in developing countries was correctly cited as another cause, domestic electricity use in the U.S. was volunteered by almost no one. Finally, nearly half of the sample cited “ natural processes ” as a major contributor to climate change at some point in their interview, although concepts such as feedback loops and ecological thresholds were almost entirely absent from people ' s mental models. The specter of global climate change has brought the issue of climate change and the related concepts of carrying capacity and ecological thresholds to the forefront of scientific and political debates. But to have practical value, some form of such core concepts must make their way to all decision makers, including individual citizens. Understanding prior beliefs and how laypeople are likely to process new information will strengthen such communications efforts.
Levi Brekke, Tom Pruitt, Subhrendu Gangopadhyay, and David Raff, Bureau of Reclamation, Denver CO
The SECURE Water Act § 9503(b)(2) authorizes the U.S. Department of Interior's Bureau of Reclamation to assess climate change risks for water and environmental resources in eight "major Reclamation river basins" in the Western United States (i.e. Colorado, Columbia, Klamath, Missouri, Rio Grande, Sacramento, San Joaquin, and Truckee basins). The legislation calls for Reclamation to provide periodic reports on implications for water supplies, water deliveries, hydropower generation, fish and wildlife, water quality, flood control, ecological resiliency, and recreation.
Leveraging the “Bias-Corrected and Downscaled WCRP CMIP3 Climate Projections” archive (Maurer et al. 2007), Reclamation has developed a west-wide ensemble of corresponding hydrologic projections. The resulting hydrologic information has the same space and time attributes as the underlying downscaled climate information: 112 projections of monthly downscaled CMIP3 conditions from 1950-2099 at 1/8º resolution over the western U.S. These hydrologic projections were derived using applications of the macro-scale variable infiltration capacity (VIC) hydrology model developed by the University of Washington.
Presentation will highlight development of this hydrologic projections resource and a related web-service to publically share this information to the broader Western U.S. water resources management community. Web data products include the following monthly gridded projection variables (all time-aggregated from daily VIC inputs and outputs): precipitation, daily minimum temperature, daily maximum temperature, wind speed, potential evapotranspiration, actual evapotranspiration, soil moisture, snow water equivalent and runoff. The web products also include as the daily gridded projections for five of these nine variables: the four weather input variables and runoff. The web-service also features a data-subsetting interface to access monthly gridded products for basins tributary to user-specified pour-locations.
Betsy Breyer, Heejun Chang, and Hossein Parandvash, Portland Water Bureau
For urban water providers, adaption to climate change requires a complex understanding of the relationship between water demand and local climate. While previous studies have revealed nonstationarity in water demand over space or time, no study has yet to jointly model both spatial and temporal nonstationarity in water demand. We use GIS and multivariate statistics to examine the effect of temperature and precipitation on single-family residential water demand in Portland, Oregon. We implement a geographically and temporally weighted regression (GTWR) to simultaneously model nonstationarity in the error term of the model over both time and space.
We first establish functional relationships between biophysical variables and water demand, using georeferenced monthly household water consumption data from 2002-2009 aggregated to reflect the average household use at the census block-group level. Our model captures localized spatiotemporal heterogeneity in explanatory variable coefficients through a set of weighted space-time matrices. We then extrapolate these functional relationships to forecast water demand under six future climate scenarios derived from the combinations of three downscaled global climate models (GCM) and two greenhouse gas emission scenarios. Model results equip water providers with detailed, scenario-driven information on the scope and extent of global climate change impacts on demand for local water resources.
Scott D. Bridgham, Laurel Pfeifer-Meister, Timothy Tomaszewski, Lorien Reynolds, Maya Goklany, Hannah Wilson, and Bart R. Johnson, University of Oregon
Extensive efforts are being expended on restoring Pacific Northwest prairies because of their imperiled status, but the viability of these restored native communities under future climate change is unknown. Additionally, climate effects on soil respiration and carbon stores in grasslands globally may have significant implications for future atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. We are experimentally increasing temperature by 3 ° C and increasing precipitation by 25% above ambient in three upland prairie sites along a natural climate gradient from southwestern Oregon to central-western Washington to determine how future climate change will affect (i) plant community composition and the relative success of native versus introduced plant species and (ii) above- and belowground carbon and nutrient dynamics. Sixty 7-m2 plots (20 at each site) were restored by mowing, raking, and herbicide application followed by the sowing of the same 34 native grass and forb species in each plot.
Differences in total cover, net primary productivity, and community composition were much greater among sites than among treatments within sites in both 2010--the establishment year, and 2011—the first full year of treatment. Strong successional dynamics occurred over the two years as competition intensified, but these were dependent on a site-treatment interaction, with lower native plant survival in heated plots because of competitive exclusion by exotic, invasive plants. A strong treatment – season interaction in canopy cover (as determined by canopy reflectance) also occurred, with heating causing greater cover during the wet season and lower cover during the dry season. This effect was strongest in the southernmost site which experiences earlier and more intense drought conditions. Heating increased nutrient availability in all but the northernmost site, and that site also had overall much lower nutrient availability. Plant dynamics among the sites are likely strongly controlled by these differences in nutrient availability. In the winter, heat increased soil respiration, but this effect was lost as the sites warmed and dried during the growing season. Overall, we have observed many significant effects of the warming and precipitation treatments on plant and ecosystem dynamics, but these effects are often seasonally dependent and of lesser importance than strong differences among sites, driven by differences in soils and the pressure from invasive species. Our experiment shows the importance of placing climate change impacts on natural ecosystems within a context of local ecosystem controls.
Laura Brophy, Estuary Technical Group, Institute for Applied Ecology, Corvallis, Oregon USA
How will Pacific Northwest estuarine wetlands respond to sea level rise and climate change? We examine the "controlling factors" that will determine the future of our tidal wetlands under current SLR scenarios: coastal geomorphology, precipitation regime, salinity regime, sediment deposition and organic matter accumulation rates, and activities of "system engineers" (particularly beaver). We present our research linking these drivers to biotic responses, and our recent modeling work to characterize combined fluvial and tidal inundation regimes -- critical to evaluation of future spatial distribution of estuarine wetlands. We examine regional studies of sediment deposition and organic matter accumulation that shed light on the potential for tidal wetlands to keep pace with rising sea levels. Summarizing these patterns and relationships, we outline practical adaptation strategies to protect our coastal wetlands, and discuss data gaps and research needs. Data presented will be drawn from our active monitoring program which includes more than 30 tidal wetland restoration and reference sites on the Oregon coast, and our comprehensive "ocean to head-of-tide" assessments of estuarine wetland resources for the Necanicum, Nehalem, Yaquina, Alsea, Siuslaw, and Umpqua River estuaries of Oregon.
Cheryl Brown, US EPA; Darrin Sharp, Oregon Climate Change Research Institute; Heejun Chang, Portland State University; Madeline Steele, Portland State University; Christopher Janousek, US EPA; Deborah Reusser, U.S. Geological Survey
As part of a larger study to examine the effect of climate change (CC) on estuarine resources, we simulated the effect of rising sea level, alterations in river discharge, and increasing atmospheric temperatures on water properties in estuaries along the Pacific coast of the United States. Due to uncertainty in the effects of climate change, model simulations were performed for the Yaquina Estuary, Oregon (USA) for different steady river discharge rates that span the historical range in inflow, and for a range of increases in sea level and atmospheric temperature. Model simulations suggest that in the central portion of the estuary (19 km from mouth), a 60-cm increase in sea level will result in a 2-3 psu change in salinity across a broad range of river discharges. For the oligohaline portion of the estuary, salinity increases associated with a rise in sea level of 60 cm are only apparent at low river discharge rates (< 30 m3 s-1). Simulations suggest that the water temperatures near the mouth of the estuary will decrease due to rising sea level advecting cool ocean water into the estuary, while water temperatures in upriver portions of the estuary will increase due to rising atmospheric temperatures and freshwater inflows. Results demonstrate how the interaction of changes in river discharge, rising sea level, and atmospheric temperature associated with climate change produce non-linear patterns in the response of estuarine salinity and temperature, which vary with location inside the estuary and season. We also discuss the importance of presenting results that incorporate uncertainty in climate projections, as well as relating changes in water properties to distribution of estuarine resources and biotic thresholds.
Karin Bumbaco, Office of Washington State Climatologist; Kathie Dello, Oregon Climate Service; Nicholas Bond, Office of the Washington State Climatologist
A retrospective study of heat waves in a region of the Pacific Northwest (specifically, west of the Cascade Mountains in WA and OR) has been conducted. A variety of ways to define heat events were tested due to the lack of a regional definition; we focus here on results based on heat events defined as three consecutive days above the 99th percentile for either the maximum or minimum temperatures separately. The synoptic characteristics of the maximum temperature and minimum temperature defined heat events indicate differences between the two types of events. An event that occurred in the region in 2009 was particularly extreme in terms of the duration of the minimum temperatures over the 99th percentile threshold and the all-time record maximum temperatures broken in many locations, and that event is put into perspective upon examining the rest of the historical record. Current literature suggests that the frequency and duration of heat waves is expected to increase in much of the US. Tendencies in our region are also explored indicating a significant increasing trend in the occurrence of minimum temperature events but not necessarily in those associated with just maximum temperatures. Finally, a potential link between our heat events and mortality is examined.
Kara Cardinal, School of Marine and Environmental Affairs, University of Washington; Lara Whitely Binder, Climate Impacts Group, Center for Science in the Earth System, University of Washington; Emma Timmins-Schiffman, School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington; P. Sean McDonald, Program on the Environment, University of Washington
This paper synthesizes what is known about the life history of Pacific whiting, the history of the Pacific whiting fishery, and how natural climate variability and climate change may affect the fishery, focusing specifically on a range of factors that influence the fishery's vulnerability to climate. Vulnerability to climate change is shaped by the interaction of three primary components: 1. The degree to which a stock or fishery experiences changing climatic conditions (its exposure to climate and climatic change); 2. How much the stock or fishery changes in response to changing climatic conditions (its sensitivity to climate and climate change); and 3. The stock or fishery's ability to adjust to changing climatic conditions and related impacts (its adaptive capacity). This particular fishery was chosen as a representative of west coast fisheries because it is an important commercial fishery in Washington, Oregon, and California, and has varying distributions and characteristics which may be sensitive to climate variability and change. This paper first looks at the life history of the coastal Pacific whiting fish stock, followed by the human dimensions of the fishery, including the history, management and socioeconomic factors. We then identify and evaluate a range of climate attributes, which can influence the exposure and sensitivity of the Pacific whiting fishery to climate and climate change. The attributes are then rated to determine the overall exposure and sensitivity of the Pacific whiting fishery. Vulnerability of a fishery also depends on how adaptive a fishery is to these sensitivities and changes in climate dynamics. Measures of adaptive capacity were identified and discussed at the “Assessing Vulnerability of West Coast Fisheries to a Changing Climate” workshop held on May 25-26, 2011, in Seattle, Washington. The workshop brought together scientists, managers, and members of the fishing community to evaluate the impacts of climate change on four U.S. West Coast fisheries using a combination of two rapid vulnerability assessment methodologies. Workshop participants, along with the authors of this paper, analyzed the exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity attributes to determine the overall vulnerability of the Pacific Whiting fishery. Adapting fisheries to climate change requires an understanding of the extent to which stocks and their fisheries are vulnerable to climate change and what factors contribute to that vulnerability. Understanding this vulnerability and how it shapes climate impacts on a fishery is beneficial to developing targeted adaptation strategies for managing the impacts of climate change.
Heejun Chang, Department of Geography, Portland State University ; Il Won Jung, Institute for Sustainable Solutions, Portland State University
Climate change and land cover change are the two main driving forces of global change, which could have significant impacts on the spatial and temporal distribution and magnitude of runoff. While there are numerous studies investigating the effects of changing climate on the hydrology of the Pacific Northwest basins, only a few studies investigated the combined impacts of climate change and land cover change at a local scale. Using the Willamette River basin as a case study, we assessed the sensitivity of runoff under the combined scenarios in the 218 sub-basins of the Willamette River basin that represent different hydrologic landscapes. Our integrated environmental change impact assessment uses downscaled climate change simulations from multiple GCMs, a physically-based hydrologic simulation model (precipitation runoff modeling system - PRMS), and stakeholder-driven land cover change scenarios. Unlike previous climate impact assessment models, we modified PRMS parameters that are sensitive to precipitation, temperature, and land cover types for future scenarios. Results show that climate change will lead to higher runoff changes than land cover change, although the uncertainty of runoff projections is high, particularly in the Western and High cascade areas. Land cover change has recognizable impacts on runoff in low Valley areas, with higher winter runoff near urban centers. The combined impacts of climate change and land cover change are also pronounced in the lower Willamette River Valley with nonlinear increases in winter runoff. These findings suggest that parameter adjustments and the complex nonlinear response of heterogeneous hydrologic landscape to the combined impacts of climate change and land cover change should be considered in future climate impact assessment in the Pacific Northwest basins.
Heejun Chang, Portland State University; David Ervin, Portland State University; Terrance Anthony, Portland State University; Madeline Steele, Portland State University; Gretchen Daily, Standford University; Driss Ennaanay, Standford University; Manu Sharma, Standford University; John Lambrinos, Oregon State University; Erik Nelson, Bowdoin Colleage
Climate change and urbanization are rapidly changing the provision, use, and value of ecosystem services on rural-urban fringe landscapes. Most previous ecosystem service studies addressed the effects of either land conversion or climate change, but not both, on individual ecosystem services. Additionally, most ecosystem services models have yet to be well-validated with plot-level data and observed dynamic effects. As a result, methodologies for measuring the changes in the magnitude and the spatial patterns of ecosystem services and tradeoffs among multiple ecosystem services are still being developed and tested. An interdisciplinary team of scientists, including geographers, hydrologists, environmental economists, ecologists, and policy analysts engaged with community partners, use two ecosystem service assessment approaches (InVEST and site-scale metrics), hydrology and water temperature models (SWAT and Wet-Temp), and modern spatial econometric analysis to quantify expected changes in ecosystem service provision, use, and value in the Northwestern Lower Willamette Valley of Oregon. We analyzed the biophysical provision, use, and economic value of ecosystem services on the current landscape at the plot scale and the sub-basin scale. The investigators assessed how these levels and values of ecosystem services are expected to change in the study region as a result of land use/land cover and climate change, separately and jointly, at multiple spatial scales. We are determining what areas, if used less intensively or conserved, would most cost-effectively prevent any expected declines in the value of ecosystem services on the landscape where cost-effectiveness is measured as ecosystem service value generated per economic opportunity cost of conservation. This project will compare the outputs of two ecosystem service models and recommend improvements when possible. We have been engaged with policy stakeholders in the analysis to explore the interaction of ecosystem service science, scale, and complex policy negotiations. This project will deliver essential decision-relevant information for improving the ecosystem service provision. It will also yield valuable analytical methodologies and advance the theory of ecosystem service modeling by testing two models with field data. This research will thus illuminate the unexplored area of tradeoffs and complementarities among multiple ecosystem services shifts and spatial targeting for land conservation to sustain ecosystem services in a rapidly growing metropolitan fringe.
Luciano Chiaramonte, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Oregon State University; Jerri Bartholomew, Department of Microbiology, Oregon State University
Salmonids migrating through certain portions of the Klamath River, California/Oregon, USA are subject to significant infection from the parasite Ceratomyxa shasta. This myxozoan parasite has a complex lifecycle requiring a salmonid host and the freshwater polychaete host Manayunkia speciosa. Fish become infected by the parasite's free-floating actinospore stages, which attach to the gills, enter into the bloodstream and finally reach their target tissue, the intestine. In severe infections, the fish dies, releasing myxospores into the environment where some are eventually ingested by M. speciosa. In the polychaete the parasite replicates and develops into actinospores , thus completing the lifecycle. Many factors affect the severity of the disease including temperature, dose, and parasite genotype. The timing of the lifecycle is sensitive to temperature, which is projected to increase 1.1 to 2.0°C by the years 2035-2045 in the Klamath River Basin. Environmental monitoring has demonstrated an increase of parasite abundance with warming spring temperatures followed by a decrease in parasites during peak summer temperatures.
With climate warming expected in the future, parasites responses may include faster rates of development and maturation, resulting in more generations per year and affecting transmission. Other responses may be decreased survival of free living spores during peak annual temperatures. The precise relationship between the parasite lifecycle and temperature is currently only generally understood, in the sense that increased temperatures appear to accelerate the spore maturation process in both hosts. The proposed research will reveal the generation time of the C. shasta parasite at different temperatures by determining 1) the degree days required for parasite development in the fish and polychaete hosts and 2) the longevity of both free living parasite stages. For the first objective, polychaetes will be experimentally exposed to C. shasta myxospores and held at temperatures ranging from 8°-23°C until actinospores are released. Additionally, data from studies demonstrating the effects of temperature on ceratomyxosis in the salmonid host will be used to estimate development time in that host. For the second objective, actinospores and myxospores will be incubated at present day temperatures and those projected by climate change models and their survival tested over time by exposing them to naïve hosts. This information will be useful in epidemiological models and also in assessing sensitivity to climate change and other environmental alterations such as dam removal.
Jennifer Adam, Washington State University; Jeremy Avise, California Air Resources Board; Serena Chung, Washington State University; Tiffany Duhl, National Center for Atmospheric Research; Gonzalez Rodrigo Abraham, Washington State University; Alex Guenther, National Center for Atmospheric Research; Julian Reyes, Washington State University; Eric Salathé , University of Washington; Christina Tague, University of California at Santa Barbara; Yongxin Zhang, National Center for Atmospheric Research
The 21st Century's Grand Challenges include understanding how changes in the balance of nutrients -- carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, sulfur, and phosphorus -- in soil, water, and air affect the functioning of ecosystems, atmospheric chemistry, and human health. In the Pacific Northwest (PNW) region the interactions among nitrogen, carbon, climate and human activities are complex. The PNW has extensive and diverse agricultural lands, interspersed with pristine natural ecosystems as well as heavily populated urban areas. To address the challenge of nutrient cycling and impacts on the environment, we are creating an earth system modeling framework (BioEarth; http://www.cereo.wsu.edu/bioearth) over the PNW region by integrating a suite of state-of-the-science process-based models that are currently in existence and that are undergoing continuous development. The framework includes atmospheric models (for meteorology and atmospheric chemistry), land surface models (for hydrology, cropping systems, and biogeochemical cycling), aquatic models (for reservoir operations and nutrient export in rivers), and economic models. By choosing among the most sophisticated models, the BioEarth framework can be continually improved as each contributory component develops. The end product will be a regional earth system modeling framework that explicitly addresses nitrogen and carbon flows in the context of inter-annual and decadal climate variability.
As an initial step in understanding potential future changes in biogeochemical cycles, we evaluate the impact of global change on atmospheric deposition of nitrogen (ADN) in the PNW in terms of the sensitivity of future conditions to changes in climate, global anthropogenic emissions, land use and biogenic emissions, and US anthropogenic emissions. This analysis is based on climate and chemistry downscaling using the Weather Research Forecast (WRF) and Community Multi-scale Air Quality (CMAQ) models. Further, we employ CMAQ ADN results and observed ADN data from the National Atmospheric Deposition Program (NADP) as external inputs to the Regional Hydro-Ecologic Simulation System (RHESSys). We test whether introducing time-series data of nitrogen deposition into RHESSys improve simulations of past and current stream nutrient export, compared with simulations that use a constant annual-average value. We also use the model to examine the sensitivity of plant uptake and soil N-cycling processes to different time series of N-deposition.
Lisa Crozier, NOAA-Fisheries; Brian Burke, NOAA-Fisheries; Matthew Keefer, University of Idaho; Chris Caudill, University of Idaho
Life-history diversity contributes substantially to resilience in the face of environmental variability. In salmon, variation in migration and spawn timing play a crucial role in regional biocomplexity. Salmon migrate up the Columbia River to spawning grounds every month of the year. Individual populations, however, have very restricted migration timing, reflecting local adaptation to diverse constraints associated with specific spawning grounds. I here explore how the bioenergetic cost of migration plus holding near the spawning grounds varies with migration date for particular populations. Detailed records of individual migration times and energy usage through dams and reservoirs provide a very rich picture of these costs. I test the hypothesis that current migration timing reflects the optimal timing predicted by bioenergetic constraints and thermal tolerances. I assess how changing hydrological conditions with global warming will shift the optimal phenology. By incorporating potential evolutionary and plastic responses to this shift in optimal phenology into population-specific life cycle models, I assess the impact of climate change on the diversity of life histories currently exhibited in the Columbia River Basin.
Sandra DeBano, David Wooster, Bruce Sorte, and Donald Horneck, Oregon State University
The Umatilla Subbasin in northeastern Oregon is a high value agroecosystem whose croplands, riparian areas, and streams are at high risk of losing multiple ecosystem functions because of significant changes anticipated relative to climate change and agricultural intensification. High value irrigated crops and threatened salmonids are ecosystem services provided by this agroecosystem. Climate change is expected to decrease summer flows in lower order streams in the subbasin, causing perennial streams to shift to intermittent streams and reducing riparian buffer quality. Agricultural intensification is expected to result in reduced riparian buffers.
Here we give an overview of a new study designed to: 1) empirically quantify selected ecosystem services associated with woody and herbaceous buffers, 2) empirically quantify ecosystem services associated with perennial streams with woody and herbaceous buffers, and provide an estimate of how that might change if those streams become intermittent with climate change by measuring ecosystem services associated with intermittent streams with similar buffers, 3) use an existing spatially explicit model of drivers of steelhead production and abundance to investigate scenarios of global climate change and riparian buffer reduction at the watershed level, and 4) use the data and information obtained from Objectives 1-3 to develop decision support tools for users at two levels: individual growers managing farms, and managers and policy makers managing lands at the watershed level.
These support tools will aid in managing riparian buffers and streams in a way that maximizes multiple ecosystem services. The ecosystem services focused on are: steelhead production, macroinvertebrate abundance, stream health, and pollinator and natural predators services. The experimental approach for addressing objectives 1-2 involves conducting field studies quantifying invertebrate-mediated ecosystem services associated with herbaceous vs. woody buffers on intermittent and perennial streams. Objective 3 involves the Ecosystem Diagnosis and Treatment model as a tool to investigate the impact of climate change and agricultural intensification on steelhead production. Objective 4 involves creating management guides that provide the quantitative information obtained from objectives 1-3, estimating values of the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem services associated with streams and riparian buffers listed above, and developing economic tools that can be used to compare costs and benefits associated with different management and climate change scenarios. Completing the project will give watershed managers and policymakers quantitative information on the magnitude of change in ecosystem services expected with these two stressors, and provide both growers and watershed managers with support tools to guide land management decisions.
Carol Aubry; Warren Devine, USFS Consultant; Robin Shoal; Andrew Bower; Jeanne Miller, USFS Consultant (GIS specialist); Nicole Maggiulli, Consultant (Natural Resource Specialist)
We performed an analysis to determine how the national forests of western Washington could conserve forest biodiversity and increase resiliency given projected changes in climate. In this project, we: (1) conducted a climate change vulnerability assessment of forest tree species, (2) assessed the vulnerability of non-forested habitats to climate change, and (3) proposed practical management actions that can be implemented by national forests in cooperation with other land managers. Although our emphasis was on national forests, we also worked with the National Park Service and Washington State Department of Natural Resources to reach a coordinated action plan. After exploring multiple options for assessing the climate change vulnerability of tree species, we selected the Forest Tree Genetic Risk Assessment System (ForGRAS) (Potter and Crane 2010). Using this model, we determined that high-elevation tree species, including Pacific silver fir, subalpine fir, and Engelmann spruce, were most vulnerable to climate change. The most common tree species of the region, Douglas-fir, western hemlock, and western redcedar, had low predicted vulnerability. Based on regional knowledge and the scientific literature, we identified three non-forested habitat types especially vulnerable to climate change: alpine and subalpine ecosystems, native dry grasslands, and wetlands. In our action plan, we made specific recommendations for managers that fell under three categories: (1) learn about and track changes in plant communities as the climate changes, (2) maintain and increase biodiversity and increase resiliency through vegetation management and gene conservation, and (3) prepare for the future by choosing management activities that will work under a variety of climate scenarios. The results of our western Washington analysis have been published, and we are now analyzing the other forested areas of Washington and Oregon. A region-wide analysis will be published in 2012.
Potter, K.M.; Crane, B.S. 2010. Forest tree genetic risk assessment system: a tool for conservation decision-making in changing times. Version 1.2. http://www.forestthreats.org/current-projects/project-summaries/genetic-risk-assessment-system
Kara DiFrancesco, Oregon State University
Discussions around adapting water management systems to climate change often profess the need to increase system flexibility and adaptive capacity, presuming that our current water systems lack these traits. Intuitively, a flexible, easily modifiable system seems desirable when faced with a wide range of uncertain, plausible future climate conditions. Yet, while the term flexibility has been used in the manufacturing and information technology fields for years and more recently applied to socio-ecological systems and policy, very little work has examine what it means to have a flexible water management system or what makes one system more flexible than another. This study will present a methodology for assessing the flexibility of the structural and non-structural components of flood management systems using developed flexibility indicators. The second portion of this study will assess the extent to which flexibility increases the adaptive capacity of a flood management system, defined as the ability of the system to achieve flood risk reduction objectives under uncertain, changing hydrologic conditions, landuse patterns, and management objectives. The study methodology and preliminary results from a case study of the Sacramento River flood management system will be presented here.
Bruce Duncan, EPA R10 - Office of Environmental Assessment; Laurie Mann, EPA R10 - Office of Water and Watersheds; Don Martin , EPA R10 - Office of Water and Watersheds; Leigh Woodruff, EPA R10 - Office of Water and Watersheds; Ben Cope, EPA R10 - Office of Environmental Assessment
EPA Region 10 is launching a climate change adaptation strategy that includes a pilot implementation process. The Office of Environmental Assessment (OEA) will deliver program-specific presentations on projected scenarios in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska to R10 Program Offices. In this pilot, OEA is partnering with the Office of Water and Watersheds (OWW) to determine the climate change impacts projected for the Pacific Northwest and Alaska that will affect EPA's ability to implement its water quality programs, starting with the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) program that sets the pollution reduction goals for impaired waterbodies. The goal of the pilot is to identify and fill science and data needs, and highlight any policy needs, so that projected climate change scenarios are integrated into the TMDL program. While states conduct most of the TMDLs, EPA is very involved with those that are multi-jurisdictional.
This pilot uses the "Awareness, Analysis, Action, Assessment, Adaptative Management" paradigm and includes the following steps: share information on likely changes in the region under climate change scenarios; evaluate several completed TMDLs and identify opportunities for integrating projected changes for specific TMDL parameters; select a TMDL in its earliest stages of development to incorporate relevant climate change impact data in the most appropriate stages of analysis; and then evaluate how the TMDL development process may need to adapt as a result of the pilot. Expected outcomes are that OWW will modify its TMDL analyses to include relevant projected climate change scenarios and that OEA will develop information and provide suggestions for action on needed tools, guidance, policy, and research. This presentation will provide a discussion of lessons learned thus far in the implementation of this newly initiated pilot. It will suggest an initial approach for including climate change scenario information in TMDLs that EPA Region 10 is participating in directly, explore research and policy needs, and share the approach and results from analyzing several existing, recent TMDLs.
Marketa Elsner, UW Climate Impacts Group; Alan Hamlet, UW Climate Impacts Group, UW Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Richard Woodsmith, PNW Research Station, USDA Forest Service; Jeremy Littell, UW Climate Impacts Grouup; Erkan Istanbulluoglu, UW Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
The spatial heterogeneity of forest recovery following disturbance events over the last several decades can provide important scientific information about the role of hydroclimatological processes on vegetation recruitment. The Entiat Experimental Watersheds in north central Washington State exhibit interesting patterns on the landscape where young trees have not successfully established themselves following the 1970 stand replacing fire. These patterns include “stripes” of poor recruitment along the ridge lines, and significant differences in vegetation recovery in areas with broadly similar aspect, elevation, and slope. By constructing a physically based land surface model (using the Distributed Hydrology Soil and Vegetation Model, DHSVM) and empirically relating recovery processes to physical parameters (such as soil moisture and evaporative stress), we can map areas with a high probability of recurrent drought stress. In particular we evaluate the extent to which DHSVM can explain the observed patterns of forest regeneration since 1970 in the Entiat experimental watersheds, and explore the impacts of climate change on drought stress in the study region during summer months (June-August). In many areas of the experimental watersheds soil moisture stress simulated by the hydrological model is able to clearly identify areas of poor tree recruitment, supporting the hypothesis that soil moisture stress is the major control in these areas. Some areas of poor recruitment, however, are not well explained by the model simulations, highlighting the fact that other controls on recruitment are present as well. Under the climate change scenarios, drought stress typically increases due to loss of snowpack, increased evaporation, and projected dryer summers, which increases both the likelihood of forest disturbance (fire, insects), while simultaneously increasing the cumulative area in the watersheds where recruitment is unlikely to be successful. The model provides explicit maps of these areas of poor recruitment that may help guide vegetation recovery strategies under a changing climate.
Gordon Grant, USDA Forest Service, PNW Research Station; Mohammad Safeeq, Dept. of Geosciences, Oregon State University; Christina Tague, Bren School of Environmental Science, UC Santa Barbara; Sarah Lewis, Dept. of Geosciences, Oregon State University
The prospect of rapidly changing climate over the next few decades poses distinct challenges to resource managers seeking to maintain and restore rivers, watersheds, and aquatic ecosystems. Changing amounts and timing of precipitation, as well as diminishing snowpacks as climate warms will inevitably affect streamflow regimes. The magnitude of these changes are not likely to be uniform across the landscape, however, and understanding the geography of where changes are likely to occur, and how large these changes are likely to be, is essential for making wise investments in resource conservation and restoration.
The goal of this project is to develop a spatially-explicit analysis that maps out the potential changes in both timing and magnitude of streamflow as a result of climate warming. To do this, we use hydrologic theory to distinguish different hydrologic regions within the state of Oregon, based on the extent of snowmelt contribution to runoff, and whether the underlying geology results in deep or shallow groundwater systems. Using this framework and data from 50 unregulated basins with long-term streamflow and precipitation records, we show that regions dominated by deep groundwater, such as the High Cascades, display much greater low flow sensitivity to climate change than shallow sub-surface flow dominated landscapes, such as the Western Cascades or Coast Range. Because deep groundwater-dominated watersheds discharge water throughout the summer season, both timing of snowmelt and annual fluctuations in total precipitation are reflected in changes in late summer streamflow. Shallow sub-surface systems, in contrast, displays much less late season sensitivity to changing climate; streamflow is always very low in late summer regardless of winter recharge. Current regional-scale hydrologic model predictions based on downscaled GCM scenarios do not show this sensitivity in uncalibrated basins, suggesting that models linking climate and streamflow changes need to account for differences in groundwater storage as a first-order control.
Rachel Gregg, Jessica Hitt, and Lara Hansen, EcoAdapt
The Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange (CAKE) is a joint effort by EcoAdapt and Island Press to create an innovative community of practice on climate change adaptation. CAKE, an interactive online resource, is about supporting the changes that conservation and resource management have to make to keep up with the changing planet. CAKE is intended to support individuals interested in developing the discipline of adaptation to climate change by facilitating the identification of important information and its accessibility; building a community via an interactive online platform; connecting practitioners to share knowledge and strategies; and networking with other relevant materials around the web. This poster will showcase the different components of CAKE, including the availability of a georeferenced database of adaptation case studies, a directory of adaptation-interested people, a virtual library of resources that can support adaptation efforts, advice for conservation and information exchange, and links to tools and data that are available to support and build the adaptation community. We invite you to learn from and join CAKE.
Alan F. Hamlet, UW/CIG; Eric P. Salathé, UW/CIG and UW Bothell; Matt Stumbaugh, UW/CIG ; Se-Yeun Lee, UW/CIG
Previous assessment of changing hydrologic extremes using statistically downscaled monthly time step GCM data and physically based hydrologic models has demonstrated that many areas in the Pacific Northwest are likely to experience substantial increases in flooding in response to regional climate change. In particular, many mountain watersheds in WA and OR west of the Cascades are projected to experience increases in the 100-year flood (Q100) of 20-30% by the 2040s. These initial estimates of changing flood risk are very conservative in that they are fundamentally based on monthly GCM data, and do not include potential changes in precipitation extremes at daily time scales. Furthermore, initial studies using Regional Climate Models (RCMs) have shown robust increases in precipitation intensity on the west slopes of the Cascades, suggesting increased flood impacts in these areas. To further evaluate these potential changes, we downscale daily precipitation, temperature, and wind simulations from the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) RCM implemented at 12 km resolution, and use the resulting data to drive a physically based hydrologic model (The Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) model at 1/16th degree resolution). From the resulting daily time step simulations of streamflow, we fit probability distributions to the extreme events extracted from each water year, and estimate flood statistics for various return intervals. Preliminary results from the study for the ECHAM5 A1B scenario for the 2050s show substantial increases in future flood risk in many Pacific Northwest River basins in the early fall due both to more extreme (and earlier) storms, and coincident shifts from snow to rain dominant systems due to warming. Unlike statistical downscaling techniques, the RCM provides an explicit, physically based simulation of the size, location, and intensity of historical and future extreme storms, including atmospheric rivers. These daily-time-step extreme weather scenarios for the 2050s also provide valuable information for other planning purposes related to hydrometeorological extremes.
Alan F. Hamlet, Amy K. Snover, Marketa McGuire Elsner; Jeremy Littell, and Ingrid Tohver, UW/CIG
In collaboration with the WA State Dept. of Ecology and a group of regional stakeholders in OR, WA, ID, MT, and BC, the Climate Impacts Group has conducted a two-year climate change study over the Columbia River basin and coastal drainages in WA and OR. The study, which is one of the most comprehensive of its type in the country, provides detailed hydrologic data for 297 river locations in the PNW as well as a regional database of gridded hydrological data over the entire study domain ( http://www.hydro.washington.edu/2860/). Using climate change scenarios from the 10 best global climate models for the Pacific Northwest from the IPCC AR4 and three different statistical downscaling approaches, the study provides hydrological projections for 77 climate change scenarios and historical conditions. The analysis and data delivery were designed to support water resources planning as well as terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems research. The study results are already being used by a wide range of regional stakeholders including the USGS, Bonneville Power Administration, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Boise Aquatic Research Laboratory, and the National Marine Fisheries Science Center.
Joe Hamman, UW CEE; Alan F. Hamlet, UW CIG; Jeremy Littell, UW CIG
Since about 1975, cool season (Oct-March) precipitation in the Western U.S. has increased in variance, autocorrelation, and regional covariance. These changes have manifested themselves in increasing flood risk, increasing covariance of regional hydropower resources, and increasing drought and fire impacts in the west. We explore these changes in precipitation variability using three approaches: statistical analysis of regionally averaged cool season precipitation (mean, variance, autocorrelation, and regional covariance), an EOF analysis of 1/8th degree gridded cool season precipitation anomalies over the western U.S., and analysis of paleoreconstructed annual streamflow records for the Colorado River basin (CORB), Sacramento San Joaquin (SSJ,) and Columbia River basin (CRB) from 1500 to present. The changes in cool season precipitation are characterized by statistically significant changes in the variance (p=0.05). Increases in autocorrelation and regional covariance, although substantial on an absolute scale, are not statistically significant (p=0.05). The EOF analysis shows increased amplitude of the PC associated regional covariance (EOF1) starting around 1975, and the PC associated with the NW/SE dipole (ENSO/PDO) (EOF2) also shows evidence of expanding variance at about the same time. The paleo streamflow record for the CORB and SSJ suggests that periods of simultaneously high interannual variability and regional covariance have occurred twice before in 500 years, once in about 1580 and then again about 1780. Thus these events are (probably coincidentally) evenly spaced in the historical record at 200-year intervals.
We are currently incorporating new reconstructions of the CRB in this analysis to determine if these earlier patterns also extend to the PNW. Although the paleological record supports the argument that natural variability is sufficient to explain the late 20th century patterns in the CORB and SSJ, it remains unclear whether global climate change is contributing to the effects or not. GCMs do not reliably simulate the changes in precipitation variability seen in the observed record (thus conventional detection and attribution studies typically fail in the initial step), however this could also be related to other factors such as GCM deficiencies in simulating cool season precipitation variability at the regional scale. That said, there is currently little evidence to support the hypothesis that recent changes in cool season precipitation variability are an expression of global greenhouse forcing.
Lara Hansen and Jessica Hitt, EcoAdapt
Proposed for 2012, the National Conference on Climate Change Adaptation aims to convene the practitioners of climate change adaptation (managers, policymakers) and climate change adaptation supporting science who are actively engaged or interested in becoming engaged in climate change adaptation activities as part of their conservation and management efforts. Participants will include federal, state and local agencies, tribal governments, private resource managers, scientists, engineers and environmental interest groups. The meeting aims to create a professional community for adaptation ideas to be shared and developed by professionals from across the United States, with open invitation to those beyond the borders.
The conference is presently looking for partners interested in creating the meetings. Volunteers are sought to help design, fundraise, plan and carryout the meeting. There is an existing model for this type of meeting with the National Conference on Ecosystem Restoration, which is convened in a partnership between the same variety of participants as this meeting. Attendees will be asked to give presentations of their efforts and approaches to date in topically organized break-out sessions in order to share lessons and stimulate conversation, allowing for others to use their successes and help them build the next iteration of their own work. The meeting can also offer training opportunities relevant to climate change adaptation practice.
Since adaptation is such a new field this conference can provide great value as a teaching conference. To foster this approach, we will provide guidance to participants on helpful ways to present to maximize exchange of ideas. This will include some presentation format tips, as well as suggested points of conversation and lines of questioning for discussions during concurrent sessions. This approach will be modeled in plenary. Post-meeting communication of ideas, case studies and emerging resources can continue through the Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange (www.cakex.org) and other online tools. We will also work to integrate online and social media into this conference so that there can be meaningful remote participation in the meeting itself. This has several benefits, including greater student participation, access for those on travel restriction, and it can decrease the carbon implications of a national meeting.
Lara Hansen, Jennie Hoffman, Eric Mielbrecht, Rachel Gregg, Alex Score, Jessica Hitt, and Jessi Kershner, EcoAdapt
Successful conservation and resource management requires incorporating the science of climate change in our efforts. As the body of work to do this sort of integration is nascent there are a few things we need to work on to make the field more mature. These include:
- Building the field of adaptation by coordinating, magnifying, and making climate change adaptation capacity and resources more accessible.
- Building capacity of current and future professionals in conservation, planning, and development so they can engage in climate change adaptation.
- Supporting implementation of adaptation strategies by providing capacity to partners eager to take climate adaptation action.
EcoAdapt has been working to develop the field in these three areas through our four programs.
- State of Adaptation: A research initiative designed to facilitate adaptation action by providing in-depth case studies to catalyze creative thinking and by synthesizing information collected to further develop the field of study and action. We are conducting a comprehensive survey and assessment of climate change adaptation activities and projects in North America.
- Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange: Resources created for this purpose include our recent book "Climate Savvy" and the Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange (CAKE)—your online adaptation destination. CAKE is an innovative community website (www.cakex.org) for people working to manage natural resources in the face of climate change. CAKE includes case studies of on-the-ground efforts, a library, a community forum, an expert advice column, a directory, and a tools section full of useful online resources for adaptation planning and implementation.
- Awareness to Action: Building capacity and bringing our partners from Awareness to Action are central to EcoAdapt's mission. Our adaptation experts have pioneered a series of innovative and interactive climate adaptation workshops to bring those engaged in the early stages of climate change adaptation from understanding to implementation. The underlying goal of these workshops is to strengthen the ability of people working on the ground to respond to climate change and create a network wherein they can share knowledge, experiences and ideas, and develop plans focused on specific regions, species, or biomes.
- Adaptation Consultation: This program allows our experienced scientists to support implementation of adaptation strategies by providing capacity to partners eager to take climate adaptation action. Each Adaptation Consultation is specifically designed to meet the needs of our partners be it early stages of vulnerability assessment, more advanced adaptation planning, or technical support on adaptation related issues.
Andy Haub, City of Olympia
In 1990, the Olympia City Council acknowledged sea rise as a potential “twin dilemma” involving high levels of both uncertainty and risk to our downtown. Built on low-lying hydraulic fill just one foot higher than high tides, Olympia's vulnerability to sea rise is well-known within the Puget Sound region.
The City's 2009 sea level rise analysis provides a tangible and easily visualized approach for understanding and quantifying the implications of sea rise in its downtown. Detailed hydrologic simulations of the complex interactions between land elevations, stormwater and wastewater infrastructure, sea rise scenarios and major precipitation events offer geographically accurate simulations of risk. The simulations identify how sea rise flooding is likely to occur in specific downtown locations (e.g, stormwater pipe backflow, pipe capacity limits, overland flow). It quantifies potential volumes and durations of flood waters at individual catch basins and stream systems. As a result, several stop-gap regulatory and infrastructure responses have been enacted.
During 2010, the land elevation and hydrologic/hydraulic analysis was shared with the Olympia community as well as numerous university and professional audiences. A brief presentation of the 2008-2009 analysis can be viewed at http://www.olympiawa.gov/community/sustainability/climate-change.aspx .
Recognizing the risks and need for sustained attention, a response team was formed by the City in late-2010. From this team, a proposal for additional technical analysis as well as policy and regulatory direction was forwarded to City Council. Subsequent City policies regarding sea level rise were adopted:
- Protect downtown.
- Understand the implications of 50-inches of sea rise. Define a progression of appropriate responses.
- Incorporate adaptation and flexibility into both public and private infrastructure.
- Seek opportunities to control the valuable shoreline.
City Council directed staff to evaluate engineering and architectural alternatives for protecting the downtown from 50-inches of sea rise. The past simulations of tides, land elevation, and precipitation are being coupled with a model of Budd Inlet marine dynamics. The outcome of the work effort will provide a progressive plan for responding to predicted or observed sea rises up to 50 inches. The work is underway and will be shared with the community this fall.
Andy Haub, P.E., Planning and Engineering Manager, Public Works Department, City of Olympia. Olympia, WA firstname.lastname@example.org
Yee Huang, The Center for Progressive Reform
Despite the growing body of scientific literature on impacts from climate change, the legal and policy community is only beginning to realize the importance of adaptation. The human response to these impacts must be both methodical and preemptive or risk creating ineffective and uneven outcomes for both the built and natural environment. As the Pacific Northwest region begins to take concrete adaptation actions, governments should adopt a legal framework that is scientifically sound and environmentally protective.
One component of this framework includes building “principled flexibility” into the interpretation and application of laws by requiring scenario planning and longer time frames; by introducing triggering mechanisms or benchmarks; by conducting periodic reviews and revisions of adaptation strategies; and by creating redundancy or layers of protection. For example, scenario planning is particularly useful in adapting to sea level rise and should include a range of scenarios, their probabilities of occurrence, and a list of adaptation measures to address these scenarios. Scenario planning must play a larger role in both Washington's Shoreline Management Act and the Growth Management Act.
Adaptation to sea level rise may also include triggering mechanisms, meaning that if a certain increase in sea level is measured, a local government or Tribe immediately acts according to a pre-determined and agreed upon plan or policy of action. States, tribes, and local governments also need specific adaptation strategies for the projected changes to the hydrologic cycle and to the average temperature and increased frequency of extreme weather events. One option is to implement state water laws and the federal Clean Water Act to mimic the timing and flows that salmon and other aquatic species depend on. Most basically, the Department of Ecology should use all existing authority to reduce the discharge of as many pollutants as possible to minimize existing stress on aquatic ecosystems. Using data from the 2009 Climate Impacts Group report on climate change impacts in Washington and legal scholarship on adaptation, the Center for Progressive Reform has developed a set of principles to guide adaptation to ensure both environmentally protective and socially equitable outcomes. Supported by a grant from the Bullitt Foundation.
Lisa J. Graumlich, Dean, College of the Environment, University of Washington
Little doubt remains among scientists that the global climate system is changing due to human influence and that climate change will have far-reaching and fundamental impacts on ecosystems and biodiversity. Arguably, previously localized stressors (e.g., land-use change, insect outbreaks, invasive species) are playing an equally important role in reshaping ecosystems at regional scales. One of the great challenges in adapting to climate and other landscape-scale changes is developing and implementing policies at regional scales that enhance ecological resilience in the face of these changes. In this talk, I explore the challenges of climate change adaptation in the Western US and discuss the critical role of communication and collaboration across management boundaries and between government and non-government entities.
James Johnstone, JISAO
During the summer of 2010, the coastal Pacific Northwest experienced historic climate anomalies, unique within the past 60 years. June-September averages of low cloud and fog frequency reached record levels at airports throughout the region, including Seattle, Portland, Quillayute and Astoria. This unusual degree of low-level cloudiness contributed to negative anomalies in daily maximum temperatures, which reached -3°C over much of the terrestrial coastal strip in July and August. Cool conditions also resulted from record northerly wind speeds on the Oregon coast during July, which generated strong ocean upwelling and below-normal sea surface temperatures. These related climate anomalies can be largely attributed to a persistent northeastward displacement of the North Pacific High during the peak summer months of July and August. This pattern put the Pacific NW on the eastward flank of the anticyclone, where strong atmospheric subsidence and upper-level warming contributed to regular temperature inversions, a condition more reminiscent of California than the Pacific NW. The effects of a cool, humid coastal summer were perhaps more noticeable to the public in light of a prolonged winter storm season in the spring of 2010 and an early onset of rainfall in the fall. The 2010 summer anomalies are discussed in the longer-term context of Pacific climate variability, including the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and low-frequency land temperature changes. Cool summer conditions have characterized the coastal ocean in the past three summers, countering a longer upward trend in sea surface temperature.
James Johnstone, JISAO; Todd Mitchell, JISAO and UW Climate Impacts Group; Nathan Mantua, UW Climate Impacts Group
A strong La Niña event developed in the tropical Pacific over 2010, a condition which typically produces positive winter precipitation anomalies and negative temperature anomalies over the Pacific Northwest. However, in the December-February winter of 2010-11, precipitation and temperature anomalies over the region were mixed. Here we show that La Niña conditions, which persisted at extreme levels into the spring of 2011, can account for spring circulation and climate anomalies over the Pacific NW in the months of March-May. In early 2011, the monthly Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) reached its highest February and March values dating back to 1866, while the April value was the highest since 1903 and the 2nd-highest on record. Impacts on the Pacific Northwest, which show a typical delay of 2 months, included a prolonged storm season, significant springtime snowfall in the Cascades, and negative temperature anomalies over the broader region. Our results show that La Niña effects on spring climate in the Pacific NW are systematic, producing a tendency for enhanced upper-level troughing over the region and atmospheric flow from the NW, leading to positive precipitation and negative temperature anomalies. We also show that the extreme springtime La Niña conditions are consistent with observations of drought over west Texas in early 2011 and and an unusually strong US tornado season.
Il Won Jung, Heejun Chang, Martin Lafrenz, Alan Yeakley, Yangdong Pan, Vivek Shandas, Hamid Moradkhani, David Jay, and Mark Sytsma, Institute for Sustainable Solutions, Portland State University
Assessing water resource vulnerability can help water manager determine the susceptibility of a certain region or water sector to potential threats such as human-induced climate change and land use change. This study uses a definition that water resource vulnerability is a ratio of water consumption to natural water availability. Water consumption of each county (total 104) of the Columbia River Basin (CRB) is estimated by considering public supply, domestic, irrigation, and industrial water use provided by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). For quantification of natural water availability, we use the monthly runoff depth data developed by the Climate Impacts Group (CIG) of the University of Washington. CIG estimated gridded water depth (0.0625 degree) over the CRB using Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) hydrological model for 1915-2006. For temporal comparison of water resource vulnerability, we consider three periods such as 1981-1985, 1991-1995, and 2001-2005. The natural water availability shows a decreasing pattern with time. Although precipitation change shows positive relationship with runoff change, the sensitivity of runoff change to precipitation change varies among counties. The counties including snow-dominated regions are less sensitive to precipitation change than rain-dominated regions because more snowmelt by temperature change contributes to increase water availability. The regions near Yakima county of Washington state and the Snake River of Idaho state show high vulnerability values for three study periods. However, the lower Willamette River Basin shows an increasing trend of vulnerability that might be attributed from increasing domestic water use caused by population growth and irrigation productivity. The results of this study show a need for further investigation of spatially-explicit water resource vulnerability in a changing climate and population growth.
Tobias Kock, Theresa Liedtke, and Dennis Rondorf, U.S. Geological Survey
Fish collection and passage of juvenile Pacific salmon at hydropower dams is largely dependent on the predictable timing of peak outmigration periods that typically occur during spring and summer months each year in the Pacific Northwest. Streamflow increases, resulting from rainfall and snowmelt events, trigger downstream movements by juvenile salmon. Many of the strategies used to protect salmon passing through dams (i.e., operation of juvenile fish collection systems, spill, etc.) focus on smolt-sized fish that migrate during April-August each year. We studied juvenile coho salmon behavior in winter months during 2007-2011 on the Cowlitz River, Washington, a tributary to the Columbia River, to document dam passage rates when fish collection systems were not operating. Streamflow increases were significant predictors of dam passage by juvenile coho salmon at Cowlitz Falls Dam during our study. Our analyses suggest that the risk for coho salmon passing Cowlitz Falls Dam increased by 3% for every 100 cubic feet per second increase in river flow during some periods of our study. Climate change predictions for watersheds of the western Cascades suggest that spring runoff events from snowmelt will largely be replaced by winter runoff due to increased winter precipitation. This shift in seasonal streamflow timing may be associated with juvenile salmon movements, resulting in earlier migration periods and smaller migrants. Analysis of flow data from the Cowlitz River during relative “cool” and “warm” years in the past five decades support the predictions of flow timing shifts related to climate warming trends. The implications of altered migration timing and fish size could have negative effects on salmon populations located in areas upstream of hydropower dams on the western slope of the Cascade Mountains. Our presentation will focus on these factors to illustrate likely results of climate change on the future of managing salmon movements at dams in the Cascade Mountains.
Alan F. Hamlet, University of Washington
Based on GCM scenarios from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report (IPCC AR4) and subsequent hydrologic modeling studies for the Pacific Northwest, the impacts of climate change on flooding in Western Washington are likely to be substantial. Many rivers draining to Puget Sound show increases in the simulated natural 100-year flood (Q100) of 20-30% by the mid-21st century. To assess the combined effects of increasing natural flood risks and dam operations that determine impacts to regulated flow, we have built a new integrated daily time step reservoir operations model for the Skagit River Basin. The model simulates current operating policies for historical flow conditions and for projected flow for the 2040s and 2080s associated with GCM scenarios. By simulating alternative reservoir operating policies that provide increased flood storage and start flood evacuation one month earlier, prospects for adaptation are considered. Preliminary results for the Echam5 A1B scenario for the 2040s and 2080s show increases in natural 100-year floods of 23 % by the 2040s and 27 % by the 2080s relative to historical natural (or unregulated) flows. Current and increased flood storage at Ross Dam and Upper Baker dam is about 40 % and 70 % of historical natural flows. However, because current and increased flood storage mitigate the impacts of natural floods only for the headwaters during high flow events (which is a relatively small portion of the total flow at the downstream checkpoints) both current and alternative management for flood control are ineffective at mitigating these increased flood risks in the lower basin. These results suggest that climate change adaptation efforts will need to focus primarily on improved management of the floodplain to reduce vulnerability to increasing flood risk and sea level rise, rather than on reservoir operating policies intended to reduce floods.
Jessi Kershner, EcoAdapt Eric Mielbrecht, EcoAdapt; Marni Koopman, Geos Institute; Jessica Leonard, Geos Institute; Dan Ritzman, Sierra Club, Washington State Chapter
The Olympic Peninsula, Puget Sound, and North Cascades ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest support diverse and abundant wildlife populations, and provide important resources and services for people. The new and variable conditions that are emerging due to rapid climate change are expected to significantly impact the natural systems that wildlife and human communities depend on. In response to these threats, the Sierra Club has launched a pilot effort in the Pacific Northwest as part of their Resilient Habitats Campaign, which seeks to minimize the loss of wild places and biodiversity due to climate change. As part of this effort, EcoAdapt and the Geos Institute have teamed up to pilot the creation of for the region. Terrestrial habitat and conservation area data, select biodiversity and species data, and projected climate change data were used as inputs to develop GIS-based conservation maps. The resulting climate-informed blueprints identify priority areas and strategic conservation actions that, when combined, are expected to provide species and ecosystems with the greatest likelihood of persistence and function under changing climate conditions. They are intended to evaluate the vulnerability of new and ongoing conservation planning process in the Puget Sound region to climate change impacts and provide spatially-explicit adaptation strategies.
Heather Lintz , Oregon State University; Andrew Yost, Oregon Department of Forestry; Vicente Monleon, USDA Forest Service; Andrew Gray, USDA Forest Service
Forests worldwide are changing in response to unprecedented climate trends, climate variability, and other spatial and temporal drivers. While numerous works predict future changes in tree species distributions using computer models, few studies examine current evidence for tree species migration particularly in the Pacific coastal United States. Here, we examine regional signals of migration from the Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) plots in California, Oregon, and Washington. Migration evidence was examined by comparing the geographic footprints and central tendencies of seedlings compared to adult trees by species. Frequency distribution between life stages were compared for elevation, latitude, and longitude for all species with greater than 50 occurrences in the study area. We also examined migration signals in the context of climate anomalies, natural disturbance, and management. We highlight a subset of our results. We found that the majority of species show strong and statistically significant evidence for migration along spatial gradients. For example, the largest magnitude of significant difference in the lower elevation margin is approaching the lowest reported for tree species that migrated historically due to changes in Quaternary climate. Further, tree species with low drought tolerance tend toward to show upslope migration of lower elevation margins with variable upper margin responses. As a group, species with low drought tolerance are colonizing areas with higher recent summer vapor pressure deficit (VPD) compared to the long-term norm coupled with higher recent summer precipitation compared to the long-term norm. Potential implications of such trait-driven migration trajectories are manifold. For example, genetic impoverishment of community gene pools may result. Additionally, perhaps the safety-versus-efficiency tradeoff in tree species is paying off; species with less drought tolerance but greater capacity for growth and biomass production in environments where water is not limiting are taking most advantage of increased summer precipitation and VPD.
Jeremy Littell and Michael Tjoelker, University of Washington Climate Impacts Group
Paleoproxy reconstructions of climate (temperature, precipitation, drought, streamflow, snowpack) can extend records climate variability prior to historical measurement. The extended range of natural variability evident in proxy reconstructions is also valuable in understanding the implications of future interannual and interdecadal climate variablity given current and projected human influence on climate trends. In the Pacific Northwest of North America, proxy reconstructions of temperature, precipitation, and streamflow have been limited and there exist no reconstructions of winter precipitation or snowpack. In this poster, we present a network of new climate-sensitive tree-ring chronologies and use those and existing chronologies to reconstruct sub-regional summer temperature and winter precipitation. We also present reconstructions of streamflow at over 20 gages in the PNW on the Snake and Columbia River systems.
Jeremy Littell, UW Climate Impacts Group; Amy Snover, UW Climate Impacts Group; Alan Hamlet, UW Climate Impacts Group/ UW Civil and Environmental Engineering; Marketa Elsner, UW Climate Impacts Group; Guillaume Mauger, UW Climate Impacts Group; Eric Salathé, UW Climate Impacts Group / UW Bothell
The climate services landscape is populated with several approaches to academic - agency information transfer and co-development of knowledge for vulnerability assessment, impacts assessment, adaptation, and planning for climate change. But rarely is long-term experience with resource managers considered in thinking about how to best approach the development of such information. In this talk, we present examples from the Pacific Northwest to illustrate both hurdles and success stories and what they imply about successful approaches to climate services. Several stakeholder-driven projects evolved from the capacity and methods developed for the Climate Impacts Group's Washington Climate Change Impacts Assessment and the Columbia Basin Climate Change Scenarios Project. Here, we describe “success stories” of partnerships with federal and state level resource managers to incorporate climate information into the decision and planning environment.
First, we developed a consistent methodology to create gridded historical and future climate and hydrologic projections over the entire Columbia Basin, Great Basin, Colorado River Basin, and the upper Missouri Basin. This work was funded by a consortium of managers and decision makers from the United States Forest Service (USFS) and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The results were used to embed climate variability and extremes into the risk management approaches of USFS regional planning, guide adaptation planning in the USFS and US National Park Service, develop vulnerability assessments for the wolverine and cutthroat trout, and develop projections of future wildfire area burned. A second project involves the River Management Joint Operating Commission (RMJOC) and a partnership between the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Climate Impacts Group to develop better projections of hydrologic extremes (flooding and low flows) to provide a better basis for river management decisions. Third, projected changes in local air temperature, precipitation, streamflow, and stream temperature were developed to support Seattle City Light's assessment of climate change impacts on hydroelectric operations, future electricity load, and resident fish populations.
A key feature of these approaches is tailoring the treatment of uncertainty to the needs of and carefully communicating with decision makers in order for projected climate impacts to be viewed as credible and used appropriately. These experiences suggest stakeholder-driven vulnerability assessment, impacts assessment, adaptation, and planning should be based not only on stakeholder-relevant research and climate services, but centered on developing a community of practice that relies on iterative dialogue and flexible interaction to work toward best practices and outcomes.
Jeremy Littell, UW CIG; Marketa Elsner, UW CIG; Guillaume Mauger, UW CIG; Eric Lutz , UW CEE; Alan Hamlet, UW CEE; Eric Salathé, UW Climate Impacts Group/UW Bothell
his project, funded by a collaborative group of federal agencies, provides consistent future downscaled climate and hydrologic scenarios for four major basins in the western US - including the Columbia River, the Upper Missouri River, the Colorado River and the Great Basin. To meet the needs of data users, the data have been summarized into daily and monthly summaries, aggregated into spatial subregions and formatted for time series and gridded (compatible with ArcGIS) analyses. We analyzed Global Climate Models (GCMs) available from the IPCC AR4 assessment to better understand the projected future regional climate, individual model sensitivities and regional differences in models used for downscaling. We then developed an ensemble of climate models that have the best capability to simulate the basins in this project. We applied the subset of models to project sub-regional future climate based on an ensemble delta method. We also developed hydrologic output for the historical (1916-2006) and and two future time periods (2030-2059, "2040s"; 2070-2099, "2080s") at the 1/16th degree (~6km) spatial resolution. The result is a consistent set of downscaled climate and hydrologic projections for the entire Columbia, upper Missouri, and upper Colorado basins and 12km for the Great and lower Colorado basins. The data are summarized at monthly time scales for Bailey's Ecosections, Omernik Level III Ecoregions, and 8-digit Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC 4) basins. The data is available in raw form on a grid-cell basis at daily time steps and in ascii grid (ArcGIS) format for observed and future climatologies of selected variables. For the ratio of April 1 SWE to cool season snowpack, a variable useful for categorizing watershed snowpack vulnerability to climate change, we have summarized data at 10 digit HUC basins.
Jennifer Adam, Washington State University, Dept of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Michael Barber, Washington State University, Dept of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Kiran Chinnayakanahalli, Washington State University, Dept of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Shifa Dinesh, Washington State University, Dept of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Chad Kruger, Washington State University, Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources; Keyvan Malek , Washington State University, Dept of of Biological Systems Engineering ; Roger Nelson , Washington State University, Dept of of Biological Systems Engineering; Kirti Rajagopalan, Washington State University, Dept of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Claudio Stockle, Washington State University, Dept of Biological Systems Engineering; Georgine Yorgey, Washington State University, Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources
The water resources of the Columbia River Basin (CRB) are managed to satisfy multiple objectives including hydropower production, flood control, agricultural withdrawals, instream flow requirements, and recreational needs. Agricultural withdrawal is the largest consumptive user of Columbia River water with 3.5 million acres of irrigated area in the CRB. Agriculture is an important component of the economy in the region, with an annual value over $5 billion in Washington State alone. The availability of surface water for irrigation in the basin is expected to be negatively impacted by climate change. Previous climate change studies in the CRB region suggest a likelihood of increasing temperatures and a shift in precipitation patterns, with precipitation higher in the winter and lower in the summer. Warming further exacerbates summer water availability in many CRB tributaries as they shift from snowmelt-dominant towards rain-dominant hydrologic regimes.
The goal of this research is to study the impacts of climate change on CRB water availability and agricultural production in the expectation that curtailment will occur more frequently in an altered climate. Towards this goal it is essential that we understand the interactions between crop-growth dynamics, climate dynamics, the hydrological cycle, water management and, agricultural economy. To study these interactions at the regional scale, the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) hydrologic model, which solves the coupled water and energy balances of the hydrological cycle at the scale of continental river basins, is integrated with a cropping systems model, CropSyst. Reservoir operations are simulated using ColSim, a model that simulates dam operations on the Columbia and Snake Rivers. ColSim is modified to explicitly account for agricultural withdrawals. Washington State water rights data are also incorporated to inform water allocation and curtailment decisions. The socio-economic aspects of this system are captured through economic analysis of the impacts of climate change and irrigation water availability on crop patterns. This modeling framework is applied over the 1970-2000 period and compared to a future 30-year period centered on the 2030s. Impacts of climate change on irrigation water availability, crop irrigation demand, frequency of curtailment, and crop yields are quantified and presented.
Results from this study are disseminated to decision makers and stakeholder groups through an executive summary, a website, non-technical webinars, and regional stakeholder meetings. Stakeholder feedback is important for informing model assumptions and usefulness, and also for improving how we visually portray and communicate model results so that they can make the most impact.
Mary Mahaffy, North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative
In order to translate climate science into actionable guidance for natural resource managers, several federal agencies have created new translational enterprises. Representatives from the North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC), Great Northern LCC, Northwest Climate Science Center, and the Climate Decision Support Consortium will participate in a panel discussion. Panelists will provide an overview of these significant federal partnerships. The overview will address: 1) the current status, 2) current priorities, 3) differences between the partnerships, 4) how they interface with each other, and 5) how one can get involved.
Jose Marin Jarrin and Jessica Miller, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station, Hatfield Marine Science Center, Oregon State University
In Oregon, most Chinook salmon migrate to the ocean during their first year of life after spending several months in their natal rivers and estuaries. High levels of mortality occur during their first summer when juveniles are present in estuaries, adjacent sandy beach surf zones and the coastal ocean. Most of this mortality is thought to occur due to size-selective predation by piscivorous fish and birds. Therefore growth rates of juveniles during this critical summer may influence their future survival. Five years of data collection indicate juveniles are present in surf zones during July and August, and that their abundance and timing of arrival to the surf zone is related to estuarine water temperature. Juvenile growth rates can be constrained by sub-optimal temperatures, low prey abundances and/or poor prey quality. When adequate prey resources are available, maximum growth rates of juvenile salmonids occur at approximately 13˚C. Therefore when temperatures in estuaries or surf zones surpass this value, juvenile growth and survival rates may be substantially reduced.
To determine the influence of increased water temperatures on the growth rates of Chinook salmon, we will use a bioenergetic approach. We will model juvenile growth rates in two Oregon estuaries, Alsea and Coos Bays, and their adjacent surf zones using empirical measurements of water temperature, diet and prey energetic content. Our estimates of daily consumption and growth rates will then be evaluated with field observations. We will then estimate juvenile growth rates based on predictions of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Future estuarine and surf zone water temperatures will be predicted by developing a mixing model based on tidal range, river and coastal ocean water temperature, and coastal wave height for present day estuarine and surf zone water temperatures and then increasing these values based on projections of the IPCC. In 2008-2010, estuarine temperatures surpassed 13˚C during ~30% of the summer; therefore, we predict that an increase in temperature of 1 to 2°C will significantly reduce estuarine growth (5 to 20%). This change in estuarine growth may result in juveniles leaving the estuary earlier and therefore use surf zones more extensively. Our unique data set of juvenile Chinook present in both estuaries and surf zones provides an excellent opportunity to explore the potential impacts of climate change and provide quantitative predictions on likely consequences for juvenile Chinook salmon for future planning and management efforts.
Jennifer Marlow and Jeni Barcelos, Three Degrees Project, UW Law
Scenario planning—a tool for long-term thinking primarily used by the military and business leaders—is an effective yet under-utilized tool for managing unavoidable climate risk in climate-impacted communities. Scenarios need to be better understood and evaluated as effective tools for communicating climate impacts and vulnerabilities, across disciplines and within communities, in ways that—by design—will trigger direct and explicit political and legal outcomes for communities predicted to suffer these impacts. Scenario planning can aid adaptation response planning by facilitating community creativity, democratizing climate information, evaluating how communities respond to crisis, identifying constraints to building adaptive resilience within climate impacted communities, and defining the laws and policies that would most effectively eliminate or remove these constraints.
In early September, 2011, the Three Degrees Project will be hosting a three-day retreat, bringing together scholars and practitioners from a wide range of disciplines who use scenario planning to forecast future responses to global challenges across local, state, and international scales. At the retreat, we will compare how scenarios are used in different fields and begin to draft a best practices manual for applying scenario-planning tools to the climate adaptation context. We will share the draft best practices manual at the PNW Climate Conference and discuss the processes developed by retreat participants for discovering which scenario planning methods best accommodate scientific certainty as well as account for the uncertain futures of a warmer world.
Clifford Mass, University of Washington
A critical element in understanding the climate of the region is to define the trends of important climate elements during the past century and how they vary around the region. Extreme precipitation is one important parameter, since flooding is the most damaging meteorological/hydrological phenomena of the region. Major windstorms are responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars of damage each decade and snowpack controls water availability during the summer and fall and impacts fisheries and other issues. This talk will describe the spatial variations in the trends of these parameters, evaluate their significance and temporal variations, and will place them in the context of anthropogenic-related global warming and natural variability.
Guillaume Mauger and Nate Mantua, University of Washington, Climate Impacts Group
A common hurdle in resource management is the low resolution of climate information relative to user needs. We describe a new 30 arc-second (~800 m) resolution monthly temperature (tmax, tmin) and precipitation dataset for the Pacific Northwest (PNW), British Columbia (BC), and Alaska panhandle up to 60°N. The dataset is created from lower-resolution gridded datasets available for each region, and is bias-corrected and elevation adjusted to the higher-resolution grid using a climatology obtained from climate WNA (Wang et al., 2005; Hamann and Wang, 2006). Downscaled transient and hybrid-delta future climate scenarios are included in the dataset, all of which is available for download online. We present validation results, as well as application to climate impacts assessment, including results of VIC hydrologic simulations for numerous watersheds in the PNW.
Alec Maule, USGS, Columbia River Research Lab ; Matt Mesa, USGS, Columbia River Research Lab; Jill Hardiman, USGS, Columbia River Research Lab; James Hatten , USGS, Columbia River Research Lab ; Mark Mastin, USGS, WA Water Science Center; Frank Voss, USGS, WA Water Science Center; Jessica Montag, USGS, Ft Collins Science Center; Karen Jenni , Insight Decisions, Denver, CO; Tim Nieman, Decision Applications, St. Helena, CA; David Graves, Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, Portland, OR
In a proof-of-concept project, a USGS interdisciplinary team from WFRC, Columbia River Research Laboratory, Fort Collins Science Center and the Washington Water Science Center used decision analysis and structured decision making to develop a conceptual model that links climate, hydrologic, bioenergetics, social and economic models into a comprehensive framework for modeling and understanding the complex and interrelated effects of climate change and water management in the Yakima River Basin (YRB). A decision analysis workshop was held in July 2009, which brought together decision makers, stakeholders and USGS scientists. The group developed a conceptual framework to ensure that the USGS produces information useful to decision makers, and placed this work in the context of water management in YRB. The conceptual model developed by the workshop participants is capable of modeling (1) outcomes of interest, (2) potential effects of alternative water management strategies to provide meaningful information, and (3) is based on sound science and data. Some of the potential areas to be modeled include changes in stream flows and water temperatures; the effects of these physical changes on habitat, fish growth and population viability; and finally, how changes in fish populations impact the local economy and quality of life in the YRB.
Kevin McKelvey, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station; Jeffrey Copeland, Wolverine Foundation; Michael Schwartz, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station; Jeremy Littell, University of Washington, Climate Impacts Group; Keith Aubry, USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station; John Squires, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station; Sean Parks, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station; Marketa Elsner, University of Washington, Climate Impacts Group; Guillaume Mauger, University of Washington, Climate Impacts Group
Boreal species sensitive to the timing and duration of snow cover are particularly vulnerable to global climate change. Recent work has shown a link between wolverine habitat and persistent spring snow cover through May 15, the approximate end of the wolverine's reproductive denning period. We modeled the distribution of snow cover within the Columbia, Upper Missouri and Upper Colorado River Basins using a downscaled ensemble climate model. The ensemble model was based on the arithmetic mean of 10 Global Climate Models (GCMs) that best fit historical climate trends and patterns within these 3 basins. Snow cover was estimated from resulting downscaled temperature and precipitation patterns using a hydrologic model. We bracketed our ensemble model predictions by analyzing warm (miroc 3.2) and cool (pcm1) downscaled GCMs. Because MODIS-based snow cover relationships were analyzed at much finer grain than downscaled GCM output, we conducted a second analysis based on MODIS-based snow cover that persisted through May 29, simulating the onset of spring 2 weeks earlier in the year.
Based on the downscaled ensemble model, 67% of predicted spring snow cover will persist within the study area through 2030-2059, and 37% through 2070-2099. Estimated snow cover for the ensemble model during the period 2070-2099 was similar to persistent MODIS snow cover through May 29th. Losses in snow cover were greatest at the southern periphery of the study area (Oregon, Utah, and New Mexico) and least in British Columbia, Canada. Contiguous areas of spring snow cover become smaller and more isolated over time, but large (>1,000 km^2) contiguous areas of wolverine habitat are predicted to persist within the study area throughout the 21st century for all projections. Areas that retain snow cover throughout the 21st century are British Columbia, north-central Washington, northwestern Montana, and the Greater Yellowstone Area. By the late 21st century, dispersal modeling indicates that habitat isolation at or above levels associated with genetic isolation of wolverine populations becomes widespread.
Brad H. McRae, The Nature Conservancy in Washington Meade B. Krosby, University of Washington Tristan A. Nunez, University of California, Berkeley Joshua J. Lawler, University of Washington D. John Pierce, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Peter H. Singleton, USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station
One of the most important ways in which species respond to climate change is to adjust their geographic ranges to track areas with suitable climate and habitat characteristics. Range shifts will become increasingly important over the coming century as the climate warms. Yet species attempting to follow suitable climates will increasingly encounter barriers as they move through fragmented landscapes. Thus, conserving and restoring ecological connectivity in human-dominated landscapes has become the most frequently recommended climate adaptation strategy.
The Washington Wildlife Habitat Connectivity Working Group is a diverse partnership representing land and natural resource management agencies, non-profit organizations, tribes, and universities. The working group is conducting a suite of analyses to identify habitat and linkage areas that are likely to be resilient to climate change and accommodate climate-driven shifts in species ranges. We will describe recently completed analyses that identify movement corridors between areas of low human impact along present-day spatial gradients of temperature or moisture. By identifying linkages along climatic gradients that avoid movement barriers, these methods identify areas expected to be important for adaptive movements without relying on highly uncertain projections of future climates. We will summarize how the working group is sharing these and other climate-related products, and policy vehicles the group has identified for implementation.
Roberto Mera, Oregon Climate Change Research Institute; Phil Mote, Oregon Climate Change Research Institute; Jeff Weber, Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development
Planning for natural hazards has, in general, focused on avoiding development in floodplains, or if such areas were developed, conditioning development to withstand inundation with a minimum of losses. Nationwide, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimates that about one quarter of its payments cover damage that has occurred outside mapped floodplains. It is clear that traditional flood-based planning will not be sufficient to predict and avoid future losses resulting from climate-related hazards such as increasing number of flood events and frequency of high-precipitation events. In order to address this problem, the present study employs regional climate model output for future climate change scenarios to aid with the development of a map-based inventory of future hazard risks that can contribute to the development of a “planning-scale” decision support system for the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development. Climate model output is derived from the climateprediction.net (CPDN) project, an innovative climate science experiment that utilizes volunteer computers from users worldwide to perform simulations of the Earth's climate from 1950 to 2050. The project produces hundreds of thousands superensembles of climate simulations. The present study analyzes the spatial and temporal distribution of extreme weather events in the Pacific Northwest and demonstrates the model's capabilities as an input for map products such as impacts on hydrology. A subset of variables available from the Hadley Centre's regional model (regCPDN / weatherathome) atmospheric model output – temperature, wet days, snow mass – are presented to further illustrate the broad range of applications addressed by the model outputs. Finally, the useable skill of the regional climate model is evaluated in terms of economic benefits for a range of base lines by employing the Extended Relative Operating Characteristic (EROC) method.
Vimal Mishra, University of Washington; Francina Dominguez, University of Arizona; Dennis Lettenamier, University of Washington
Increases in precipitation extremes as the climate warms may pose immense pressure to existing urban stormwater infrastructure. We evaluate the ability of regional climate models (RCMs) that participated in the North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program (NARCCAP) to reproduce the timing, mean, and variability of precipitation extremes for 20 major urban areas across the Western U.S. We show that RCMs with both global climate model (GCM) and reanalysis boundary conditions behave remarkably similarly and fail to capture the seasonality (timing) of precipitation extremes in most of the urban areas. RCMs with both the boundary conditions showed a tendency to overpredict and underpredict annual precipitation maxima at urban areas that have low and high mean annual maximum precipitation, respectively. For urban areas located along the Pacific Coast and in the Southwest, RCMs underpredict (percentage bias 0 to 60%) annual precipitation maxima at durations ranging from 3 to 24 hours. 5- and 100-year return period precipitation maxima were also underpredicted for most urban areas, with the same general patterns as for the mean of the annual maxima. On the other hand, the RCMs overpredict (percentage bias 0-300%) the annual precipitation maxima at 5 and 100 years return period for urban areas that receive low observed annual precipitation maxima, located primarily in the interior of the West. RCMs also mostly underpredict coefficients of variation (CV) of annual precipitation maxima.
Todd Mitchell and Nate Mantua, Climate Impacts Group, University of Washington
Five-day (pentad) mean NASA SeaWiFS chlorophyll anomalies within 5-degrees of the coast (northern Queen Charlotte Islands to southern Baja) are analyzed to identify the dominant pattern of non-seasonal variability. Pentads for the entire calendar year are employed to maximize the number of degrees of freedom in the analysis. The leading pattern of variability, as captured by empirical orthogonal functions, is characterized by chlorophyll anomalies of like sign from just north of the Queen Charlotte Islands to the Monterey Bay in central California, and extending offshore 5-10 degrees of longitude. Fluctuations in this pattern explain 15% of the non-seasonal variability in this dataset, and in excess of 30% of the variability for coastal gridpoints from central Washington to Cape Blanco in southern Oregon. The temporal variability of this pattern exhibits both persistence and short, high chlorphyll periods. Chlorophyll concentrations are influenced by meteorological and physical, chemical, and biological ocean processes, and it is a useful exercise to see the degree to which this variability can be explained by individual processes. The contribution of atmospheric forcing will be documented by compositing sea level pressure and satellite derived upwelling estimates for negative and positive chlorophyll periods. Similar analyses will be performed with sea surface temperature, and subsurface ocean data.
Stephanie Moore, NOAA, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, West Coast Center for Oceans and Human Health; Nathan Mantua, School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences & Climate Impacts Group, University of Washington; Eric Salathé Jr. , Science and Technology Program, University of Washington-Bothell & Climate Impacts Group, University of Washington
The marine dinoflagellate Alexandrium catenella produce potent neurotoxins called paralytic shellfish toxins usually when they bloom. These toxins can accumulate in shellfish and cause human illness or even death if contaminated shellfish are consumed. A specific combination of environmental conditions creates a window of opportunity for these harmful algal blooms (HAB-WOO) and can significantly increase the risk for toxic events in Puget Sound (Moore et al. 2009). HAB-WOOs of long duration indicate long periods of time when conditions in the marine environment are favorable for the development of toxic blooms that threaten shellfish safety.
Here we evaluate past trends and future scenarios for the HAB-WOO for the 2020s, 2040s, and 2080s using an innovative modeling approach. Specifically, we simultaneously calculate time periods when multiple environmental parameters are within a range that has been determined to be favorable for the development of toxic events. Model results show that the HAB-WOO duration increased since 1978, as did the frequency and geographic extent of toxic events.
Climate change projections for the Pacific Northwest are used to evaluate scenarios for the future HAB-WOO. Under a moderate greenhouse gas emissions scenario (i.e., A1B), the annual HAB-WOO is projected to increase by an average of 13 days by the end of the 21st century. Furthermore, the annual HAB-WOO may begin up to 2 months earlier in the year and persist for up to 1 month later in the year compared to the present day typical annual HAB-WOO time period.
The extended lead time offered by these projections will allow managers to put mitigation measures in place faster and more effectively to protect human health against these toxic outbreaks. This study demonstrates for the first time how a changing climate alters the marine environment in a way that may increase the risk of human exposure to HAB toxins.
Andrew Halmstad, Mohammad Reza Najafi , and Hamid Moradkhani, Portland State University
Precipitation in the Pacific Northwest is a vital component of the region's climate. Understanding the historic and current occurrence of extreme precipitation events, as well as future variations in the face of climate variability, represents a core research area for climate scientists and water resource engineers alike. Recent advancements in regional climate modeling efforts provide additional resources for investigating the occurrence of extreme events at scales that are appropriate for regional watershed modeling. This study utilizes data from multiple Regional Climate Models (RCMs), driven by multiple General Circulation Models (GCMs) as well as a reanalysis dataset, all of which was made available by the North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program (NARCCAP). A comparison between observed historical precipitation events and RCM modeled historical conditions over Oregon's Willamette River basin was performed. Datasets representing future climate signal scenarios were then compared to historical data, thus providing an estimate of the variability in extreme event occurrence and severity within the basin. Analysis determining parameters corresponding to a representative Generalized Extreme Value (GEV) distribution, as well as magnitudes of two, five, ten and twenty-five year return level estimates, was performed. The Added Value Index (AVI) metric was calculated for the datasets in order to provide a quantitative measure of the improvement of RCM simulations over those provided by GCMs alone. The results demonstrate the importance of the applied initial/boundary driving conditions, the need for multi-model ensemble analysis due to RCM variability, and the need for bias correction of RCM datasets when investigating watershed scale phenomena.
Mohammad Reza Najafi, Hamid Moradkhani, and Ilwon Jung, Portland State University
Using 8 global climate model projections and 2 emission scenarios the uncertainties associated with GCMs and hydrologic models were assessed by means of running various hydrologic models. Four hydrologic models were selected for the study area, the Tualatin river basin in the Northwestern Oregon: the Sacramento Soil Moisture Accounting (SAC-SMA) model, Conceptual HYdrologic MODel (HYMOD), Thornthwaite-Mather model (TM) and the Precipitation Runoff Modeling System (PRMS) which were calibrated based on three objective functions. The hydrologic model simulations are then combined using the Bayesian Model Averaging (BMA) method. The application of the BMA provides the probability distribution of a combined model while minimizes the total uncertainty. It was also found that the hydrologic model uncertainty is smaller than GCM uncertainty, except during the summer time.
Trevor Murdock, Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium
The IPCC Fifth Assessment report (AR5) is underway and with it a set of Global Climate Model runs is in preparation (Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 5 or CMIP5). These new climate model runs and the assessment report itself will together provide updated data and interpretation to be used by managers for regional decision-making and by researchers for further regional downscaling and impacts studies. Some key features of the upcoming IPCC AR5 report and related CMIP5 projections will be presented: a regional climate change atlas, extremes, and a new way of relating climate scenarios to policy. In particular, the new runs are forced by Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) that replace the previously used SRES emissions scenarios. Potential improvements and also challenges that may accompany these new scenarios will be described, using recent examples from impacts assessment and community decision-making processes.
Tina Neale, BC Ministry of Environment
The British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations is proposing new guidelines for design of sea dikes and coastal land use that consider sea level rise. The guidelines recommend planning for sea level rise of 0.5m by 2050, 1.0m by 2100 and 2.0m by 2200, adjusted for local vertical land movement. These levels will be updated periodically to reflect developments in the scientific consensus for global sea level rise projections. The technical guidelines for sea dike design include other local factors such as storm surge and wave run-up and offer specifications for limited over-topping. The Coastal Flood Hazard Land Use Guidelines define methodology for determining the future natural boundary and suggest implementation of "sea level rise planning areas". The BC government is proposing a phased application of the guidelines to "high consequence dikes", located mainly in the Metro Vancouver region, and is currently undertaking a costing study. The BC Climate Action Secretariat is also developing a resource describing alternative adaptation options, such as managed retreat, as applied in the Canadian context. The Guidelines are available on the BC Government website for public comment.
Robert Neely, NOAA Office of Response and Restoration; Ben Shorr, NOAA Office of Response and Restoration; Marla Steinhoff, NOAA Office of Response and Restoration; Mary Baker, NOAA Office of Response and Restoration; Amy Merten, NOAA Office of Response and Restoration; Anthony Dvarskas, NOAA Office of Response and Restoration; Ann Shellenbarger Jones, Industrial Economics, Incorporated; Dan Hudgens, Industrial Economics, Incorporated; Zach Nixon, Research Planning, Incorporated
The mission of NOAA's Damage Assessment, Remediation and Restoration Program (DARRP) is to protect and restore coastal and marine resources threatened or injured by oil spills and releases of hazardous substances. Hazardous waste facilities and oil infrastructure in coastal areas may be more vulnerable to releases due to climate related impacts. In response, DARRP developed the Climate Assessment and Proactive Response Initiative (CAPRI) to provide a framework and tool to evaluate potential contaminant impacts in the coastal zone related to climate change. CAPRI's flexible GIS-based framework incorporates an assessment of regionalized climate change forecasts, contaminant threats, and ecosystem and species values and sensitivities into a screening level vulnerability index. The CAPRI framework encompasses four major components: assessment of climate change impacts and related contaminant threats; development of a spatial vulnerability index; use of the web-based, open source Environmental Response Management Application (ERMA) for visualization and analysis of data layers and results; and identification of efficient prevention, response, and restoration options. Selected sites within the Puget Sound are the initial testing ground for the CAPRI framework. This pilot incorporates Puget Sound area-specific datasets. The CAPRI framework is intended to provide a national model that can be adapted to the unique data available in a particular region or coastal area. CAPRI will enable NOAA and other local, state, regional, and federal decision makers to better prepare for and adapt to climate change by improving understanding of contaminant impacts to coastal resources.
Jan Newton, University of Washington, Applied Physics Laboratory and University of Washington, School of Oceanography; Al Devol, University of Washington, School of Oceanography; Christopher Krebs, WA Department of Ecology; Kimberle Stark , King County, Department of Natural Resources and Parks
The seasonal and interannual variation in Pacific Northwest climate is reflected in Puget Sound water properties. Differences in water properties can be attributed to variation caused by factors acting over a variety of timescales, such as winds, tides, El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). In this study we present examples of the responsiveness of Puget Sound to forcing factors of different scales.
Long-term, sustained datasets are critical to understanding climate impacts on marine water conditions and quality. Current networks of resources are available to address the dynamic of the system on different temporal and spatial scales. The Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing System provides access to data from a variety of sources. Regionally, we are leading an effort to optimize the capacity identification and communication of mechanisms providing regional and local anomalies in water conditions. These capacities are essential to separate natural variations from human influences. For example, we need to be able to discern the signal of low oxygen due to transport of upwelled ocean water from that locally produced respiration, possibly in response to eutrophication. Similarly, we need to differentiate changes in salinity associated with ENSO to differences in upwelling/downwelling versus changes in river flow.
We will conceptually show the coordinated network of observations that utilize a combination of complementary approaches, of moored and moving sensor platforms affording the current view of marine water properties in Puget Sound. We invite a discussion of data and analysis needs to support regional climate studies.
Jan Newton, University of Washington, Applied Physics Laboratory and University of Washington, School of Oceanography; Simone Alin, NOAA, Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory; Richard Feely, NOAA, Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory; Chris Sabine, NOAA, Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory; Al Devol, University of Washington, School of Oceanography; Andrew Suhrbier, Pacific Shellfish Institute; Dan Cheney, Pacific Shellfish Institute; Benoit Eudeline, Taylor Shellfish; Joth Davis, Taylor Shellfish; Brian Allen, Puget Sound Restoration Fund; Betsy Peabody, Puget Sound Restoration Fund; and Christopher Krebs, Washington Department of Ecology
While ocean acidification has been studied in oceanic waters, little is known regarding its status in estuaries. Anthropogenically acidified coastal waters upwelling along the western North American continental margin can enter Puget Sound through the Strait of Juan de Fuca. We present here results from three efforts regarding this issue in Puget Sound.
Our recently published study of data collected via ship transects (UW PRISM cruises) showed that marine waters below the surface in Puget Sound are undersaturated with respect to the biomineral aragonite throughout the year (Feely et al., 2010). We found ocean acidification can account for 24-49% of the pH decrease in the deep waters of the Hood Canal sub-basin of Puget Sound relative to estimated pre-industrial values. The remaining change in pH between when seawater enters the sound and when it reaches this deep basin results from remineralization of organic matter due to natural or anthropogenically stimulated respiration processes within Puget Sound. Regional and seasonal variation was evident.
To further observe ocean acidification status in Puget Sound, autonomous buoys that are part of the Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems (NANOOS) have been outfitted with sensors for pCO2 and pH. The scale of variation in pCO2 in the atmosphere and surface waters is different but both records reflect dynamic processes. The pattern of variation in seawater appears to correlate with processes such as mixing and primary production that can vary on short timescales. Assembling a timeseries is leading to a better understanding of range of variation and the mechanisms involved with ocean acidification in Puget Sound.
Decreasing oyster populations and high mortality in larval stages in the Pacific Northwest have raised concern that changing water chemistry due to ocean acidification may be causing the observed shellfish declines. To examine any linkage, we conducted a study at two sites, Totten Inlet in South Puget Sound and Dabob Bay off Hood Canal, both important areas for oyster production and farming. Comparison between sites suggests different mechanisms are associated; the dominant control on water chemistry at Dabob Bay is upwelling and winds, whereas at Totten Inlet nearshore carbon chemistry is dominated by biological respiration. At both sites, the decrease in pH and carbonate saturation states corresponded with the end of settlement and the time when dominant shell mineralogy in juvenile oysters transitions from aragonite to calcite, with calcite being the more stable mineral form in lower saturation waters.
Robert Norheim, Climate Impacts Group, University of Washington
Many scientists learn GIS in the course of their graduate program and can use spatial analysis effectively to aid in their research. However, not all learn the principles of cartography and how to make effective maps. This poster will present a practical checklist of cartographic techniques and tools that will help you make maps that effectively present the results of your research, whether for a journal article, website, or presentation. Topics include symbolization, data classification, projection, generalization, visual hierarchy, legends, and finishing touches.
Michael O'Rourke, University of Idaho; Liela Rotschy, Ohio State University; Chris Looney, Washington Department of Agriculture; Shannon Donovan, University of Alaska, Anchorage; Amy Snover, Climate Impacts Group, University of Washington; Lia Slemons, NW Science Center
'Translational science' is a term commonly used in the health sciences to refer to efforts that focus on taking basic research results and "translating" them out across several professional contexts, but the concept of moving scientific insight out into the world also applies in other domains. Another prominent home to translational efforts is climate science research that aims to make climate patterns and response strategies available more expeditiously to natural resource managers, policy makers, and stakeholders.
In this talk, we focus on communication in collaborative, translational climate science efforts. After introducing the idea of translational climate science, we map the space of collaborative possibilities. These include collaborations that extend horizontally out along the translational trajectory involving scientists in the academy and in the agencies, scientists and managers (to include natural resource managers, policy makers, planners, and decision makers), and all of these with stakeholders. In addition, there are also more vertical collaborations within each of these domains, including cross-disciplinary scientific collaborations and collaborations among managers across several agencies. Each of these collaborative arrangements carries with it communication challenges, understood both in terms of the need to transfer information in an accessible format and language and build relationships among collaborators who must work together toward project goals (Keyton 1999).
One key challenge that threatens effective translational collaboration in climate science research involves the different ways in which participants conceptualize and articulate climate-related issues. These collaborations are intercultural and are marked by the interplay of worldviews that can be at times incommensurable (Crowley et al. 2010). After defending this as a key challenge, we describe an ongoing effort—the Toolbox Project—to deploy philosophical dialogue as a way of identifying potential differences in worldview that could obstruct successful collaboration. In particular, we focus on work being conducted with the Climate Impacts Group that focuses on collaborations comprising research scientists and natural resource managers. The goal of this effort is to design workshops in which structured, philosophical dialogue about issues at the science/management interface facilitate improved communication between those who work at that interface. We conclude by discussing results from a recent pilot application of this effort at the Climate Science Center Boot Camp, with attention to the development process, implementation, and follow-up work.
Hilary Papendick, School of Forest Resources/ Evans School of Public Affairs, University of Washington; John Perez-Garcia, School of Forest Resources, University of Washington; Ann Bostrom, Evans School of Public Affairs, University of Washington; Amy Snover, Climate Impacts Group and Center for Science in the Earth System
The Washington State Executive Order 09-05, which Governor Gregoire passed in 2009, directs the Department of Ecology (Ecology) to prepare for the likely impacts of climate change, including the impacts of sea level rise (SLR) on Washington's marine areas. Sea level rise is expected to lead to inundation of low-lying areas, an increase in erosion, saltwater intrusion, and coastal flooding during extreme storms and high tides in Washington. To respond to EO 09-05, Ecology is in the process of developing resource materials to assist local governments with preparing for, or adapting to, the impacts of SLR. The shoreline management stakeholder survey reported here was conducted in coordination with Ecology in order to understand the factors that influence intentions to adapt to SLR, to identify needs and barriers related to SLR adaptation, and to guide the development of related resources. While there is little prior research on perceived capacity to adapt to SLR and intentions to do so, previous findings suggest that intentions to adapt are influenced by perceptions of risk and perceived adaptive capacity and barriers (Grothmann and Patt, 2005, Model of Private Proactive Adaptation to Climate Change), even for SLR preparation by coastal managers in California and Oregon (Tribbia and Moser 2008; Borberg et al. 2009).
To evaluate these for Washington, an online survey was conducted of those involved in shoreline management decisions in the 14 coastal counties in Washington State, including planning commissioners, elected officials, shoreline advisory committee members, and marine resource committee members (N=284, which includes responses from 49 jurisdictions). The majority of respondents think the impacts of potential SLR will be severe or very severe in their community over the next fifty years, and also think these impacts pose a high threat to their community. Support for SLR adaptation efforts among respondents varies according to perceived risk from SLR, beliefs about climate change, perceived effectiveness and ability to implement SLR strategies, and perceived urgency to adapt among peers. Greater perceived threat and perceived severity of SLR impacts in respondent‘s communities is associated with stronger support for community SLR adaptation. While respondents reported actions to prepare for SLR already underway in Washington communities, and perceive some SLR adaptation strategies as effective, they are relatively unaware of what actions communities other than their own are taking. Findings suggest that improved coordination and communications between coastal communities in Washington would result in more effective SLR planning and adaptation.
Meredith Payne, USGS / OSU; Cheryl Brown, US EPA; Deborah Reusser, USGS/OSU; Henry Lee II, US EPA; Melanie Frazier, US EPA
Pacific Northwest coastal regions, estuaries, and associated ecosystems are vulnerable to the potential effects of climate change, especially to changes in nearshore water temperature. While predictive climate models simulate future air temperatures, no such projections exist for estuarine water temperatures. Therefore, forecasting water temperature is of critical importance to research concerning the ecological condition and response of nearshore habitats. Here we present a multiple linear regression model that is capable of reasonably forecasting estuarine water temperature using readily available data and that may be applicable to a range of coastal watersheds. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Akaike information criterion (AIC) model comparison statistics suggest that the most feasible model relies principally on sea-surface temperature (SST) and in situ air temperature. We use a nearshore, satellite-derived (AVHRR) SST product, along with weather station air temperature measurements, climatic and upwelling indices to build a localized model for Yaquina Bay Estuary, Newport, Oregon. In situ water temperature measurements are typically collected by moored buoys and tidal gauges. In order to mitigate the problems associated with the irregular (in space, time and quality) nature of those measurements, we combined NOAA tide gauge and Oregon State University Dock-moored YSI CTD readings from 1991-present to develop and validate the model. In general, the model performs with a significant (p-value < 2.2e-16) R-squared value close to 0.5. Utilizing publically-available model-input variables, such as the satellite SST product and weather station data should allow broad application of the model to other Pacific Northwest estuarine systems.
Bill Peterson, NOAA Fisheries
Analysis of hydrographic and zooplankton data collected fortnightly in the coastal upwelling zone off Oregon for the past 16 years show that variations in SST, salinity, copepod biodiversity and community structure are significantly correlated with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. When the PDO is negative, winter winds are northerly and westerly (1999-2002 and 2008-2009), cold salty waters from the Gulf of Alaska feed the northern California Current (NCC) and transport large, lipid-rich copepods to the shelf waters of the NCC; when the PDO is in positive phase, winter winds are more southerly (as in 2003-2007) and a greater proportion of warm sub-tropical waters from offshore move shoreward and feed the NCC, and transport small, oceanic lipid-poor copepods to the coast. Thus the basin-scale variations in winds that drive the PDO result in changes in transport that in turn control local food chain structure. Changes in food chain structure are correlated with (and predict) salmon returns to the Columbia River and likely influence recruitment of sablefish (black cod). Thus the mechanism that links the PDO with fish is the transport of sub-arctic vs. sub-tropical waters to the California Current; transport in turn determines food chain structure (lipid-rich vs lipid-poor zooplankton) and survival and growth of salmon. To determine how the NCC might react to various climate change scenarios, we will need better coupled global climate –ROMS models and better observations of winds and hydrography so as to track the variations in source waters which feed the NCC.
Laurel Pfeifer-Meister, Bart Johnson, Tim Tomaszewski, Maya Goklany, Lorien Reynolds, Hannah Wilson and Scott Bridgham, University of Oregon
Pacific Northwest (PNW) prairies are imperiled ecosystems that contain a substantial number of plant species with northern and/or southern range limits within the PNW. The range distribution of many plant species is controlled by climate, and with predicted climate change ranges are expected to shift. However, it is difficult to make specific quantitative predictions as plant range distributions are also controlled by biotic factors (seed dispersal, competition). We are experimentally manipulating temperature (+3°C) and precipitation (+25% above ambient) in a fully-factorial design in three upland prairies along a natural climate gradient from southwestern Oregon to central Washington to determine how future climate change will affect the range distribution of native plant species. Our objectives are to understand (1) to what extent and in what ways species' sensitivity to climate change differ as they near the warm and cool ends of their current ranges and (2) what life history stages are most sensitive to climate change.
In 2009, plots were restored using a combination of herbicide and raking, followed by seeding of 20 native graminoid and forb species that occur naturally at the 3 sites. Fourteen native species that have their northern and/or southern range limits within the PNW were seeded into known locations in each of the plots in 2009 and 2010. For each species, we measured percent germination, survival from seedling to juvenile, survival from juvenile to reproduction, plant size, and seed set. We found large interannual variation in germination and survival of the range-limited species with much higher survival in year one, likely reflecting the transition from an El Niño to La Niña year as well as the limited competition in year one (establishment phase). Furthermore, species planted further away from their current ranges survived more poorly, with germination being the most sensitive life history stage. The experimental manipulation of temperature and precipitation affected species differently depending on site. In Southern Oregon, germination success for most species was lower in heated plots. In Central Oregon and Washington, results were mixed with some species doing best in non-heated plots, no difference in others, and others doing best in heated plots. Added precipitation had no effect or decreased germination at all sites. Our results indicate that current range-limits of some PNW native prairie plants are constrained by climate. For species with a northern range-limit in Southern Oregon, warming is detrimental in their current range and neutral or positive further north.
Alexander Psaris and Heejun Chang, Portland State University
Various stream biotas such as salmonids display physiological sensitivity to water temperatures. Growth rates and smolt timing have been shown to change, and sudden death may occur if temperatures reach critical limits. Due to the dependency of stream temperature on local meteorological conditions, climate change may present thermal regime alterations to streams, which will affect salmon viability throughout the Pacific North West (PNW). Research into additional landscape predictors of stream temperature suggests riparian shading, groundwater inputs, stream sinuosity, slope and elevation are all significant factors. This further suggests that the development of riparian shading may be one option for climate change adaptation efforts. A more complete analysis of the thermal regimes throughout the PNW is necessary however. Using multi-agency water temperature data from US Geological Survey, US Army Corp of Engineers, and State environmental agencies, we identified spatial determinants of water temperature in PNW streams. Our preliminary results using geographically weighted regression models show that the relationship between stream temperature and both air temperature and landscape variables tend to change over space and time due to the local influence of other factors such as groundwater inflows and basin morphology. These findings suggest that considering both global and local climate and landscape factors are important for understanding the dynamics of water temperature variations.
Joseph Cook, Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs, University of Washington; Sergey Rabotyagov, School of Forest Resources, University of Washington
Despite decades of advocacy by water resource economists as tools for better water management, and as a component of climate change adaptation portfolio, water markets (leases and sales of water rights between willing buyers and sellers) have largely failed to develop in the western US. Although there are a number of explanations for this failure, we explore one potential reason that has received less attention in the economics and policy literature: farmers as sellers may have preferences for different elements of a water market transaction that are not captured in the relative comparison of their profits from farming and their profits from agreeing to a deal. We recruited irrigators with senior water rights in the upper Yakima River Basin in Washington state to participate in a series of experimental auctions. These auctions asked participants to imagine that they owned and operated a 100-acre timothy hay farm with a given level of net revenue (i.e. an induced value). Participants then reacted to series of offers for 1-year leases from hypothetical buyers where several attributes of the lease varied across tasks. These attributes were the type of buyer (the state Department of Ecology, an irrigation district, or a developer), the management of the water bank (run by the state or by a new nonprofit), the lease type (split-season and full-season), and the offer price. Participants were paid in relation to their hypothetical farms ' earnings.
This paper presents results from 7 sessions with irrigators (n=49) and a comparison group of undergraduates (n=38). Our results show that irrigators are more likely to accept split-season than full-season leases (controlling for differences in farm profits). Compared to the Dept of Ecology, they are more likely to accept a lease from an irrigation district and less likely to accept an offer from a Developer. They do not, however, have strong preferences over the management of the water bank. Although offer price was statistically significant in both groups, we find students were more influenced by offer price. Students had no detectable preferences over lease type, although some preferred a state-run water bank when leasing to a developer. Most notably, we find farmers were far more likely than students to reject offers from buyers even though it would increase their winnings from the experiment. Our results could be used in ongoing water supply policy debates in the Basin to simulate the amount of water that could be freed by water markets.
Crystal L. Raymond USFS, PNW Research Station, Seattle, WA
In the last decade state governments, natural resource management agencies, and conservation organizations in the Pacific Northwest have greatly increased efforts to integrate climate change thinking into terrestrial resource management. Several agencies and organizations in the region have developed, or are in the process of developing, vulnerability assessments and adaptation strategies for climate change. The objective of this special session is to explore the processes that different organizations are using to develop vulnerability assessments and adaptation plans. These adaptation planning processes differ with respect to their geographic extent, resource focus, stakeholder involvement, and level of planning (i.e. strategic vs. tactical). Methods vary from a reliance on quantitative modeling to expert opinion, or a combination of both in an informal or structured format. Presenters will describe the approach used by their organization and discuss challenges, opportunities, and lessons learned from the process. Given that climate change effects are not restricted by administrative boundaries and species are likely shift their ranges across the region, adaptation planning may require a cross-jurisdictional approach with greater emphasis on interagency collaboration than resource management challenges of the past. Presenters will address the extent to which the planning process includes partnerships, inter-agency collaboration, and stakeholder involvement. As vulnerability assessments and adaptation strategies are developed, the next challenge will be to move these plans towards effective implementation. Presenters will also be tasked to cover how their organization will move from the planning phase to implementation. Presentations will be followed by a panel discussion that will include time for questions from the audience. This session will provide organizations and agencies that are just starting the adaptation planning process with an opportunity to learn from the experiences of others. There is best for adapting terrestrial resource management to climate change, yet a greater awareness of the different processes being used can facilitate identification of common elements that lead to success and move the field of climate change adaptation forward.
Crystal Raymond, USFS PNW Research Station David Peterson, USFS PNW Research Station Regina Rochefort, National Park Service
The North Cascadia Adaptation Partnership (NCAP) is a Forest Service - National Park Service collaboration on climate change adaptation. NCAP addresses adaptation at a large scale - the region that includes Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, North Cascades National Park Complex, and Mount Rainier National Park - a land area of 6 million acres. NCAP is the third Forest Service - National Park Service partnership on climate change adaptation in the country. NCAP has four primary objectives: (1) increase climate change awareness among USFS and NPS staff, (2) assess the vulnerability of natural and cultural resources to a warmer climate, (3) develop science-based adaptation strategies and tactics to increase ecosystem resilience to climate change, and (4) ensure that science-based adaptation options are effectively incorporated into relevant planning documents. The NCAP process primarily involves workshops that bring scientists and managers for a dialogue on climate change effects. We completed four one-day climate change education workshops for each national parks and forests. The vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning focuses on four resource sectors identified as priorities by park and forest managers: fisheries, wildlife, vegetation, and roads and human access. The process will include four two-day workshops for each resource sector with the first day focused on vulnerability assessment and the second day focused on adaptation planning. Throughout the process, NCAP partners with other landowners and resource management agencies, and universities for a cross-jurisdictional approach to adaptation planning.
Ann Radil, Parametrix
Both private and public sector players are increasingly using the scientific and technical information provided by organizations such as the University of Washington's Climate Impact Group (CIG) to develop, adopt and implement policies in response to climate change. While environmental policies have historically focused on impacts to one resource (i.e. endangered species, water, air, etc.), evaluating climate change impacts, adaptation and vulnerability requires new tools and metrics capable of measuring systemic impacts and projecting the interrelationship between adaptation and mitigation in the context of sustainable development. One promising strategy is ecosystems-based adaptation to climate change, which uses the natural infrastructure of forests, floodplains, wetlands, etc., to regulate water supplies and reduce the risk of climate change impacts negatively affecting communities. One principal benefit of ecosystem-based adaptation strategies is that they provide numerous benefits, so that value is generated even if climate change impacts don't occur.
This presentation will begin with a brief overview of the methods available to analyze the climate-change induced impacts on ecosystem services. The second-half of the presentation will include a case study illustrating the nexus of emerging policy, climate change impacts, ecosystems-services tools and metrics and the management of natural resources. Specifically, Parametrix is currently helping the City of Orting, Washington to construct a setback levee on the Puyallup River. Once completed, the setback levee will reconnect approximately 46 acres of floodplain to the river, providing valuable side-channel, backwater, and off-channel habitat to Chinook salmon. The Calistoga Setback Levee project illustrates where Washington's State Environmental Policy Act is triggering consideration of climate change impacts, including project lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions and the development of mitigation and adaptation strategies, and how ecosystems-based metrics could be used to evaluate the effectiveness of alternative adaptation strategies.
The goals are to educate conference attendees on one way that the scientific and technical information developed by the CIG is being used to assess present day and future climate change impacts on Pacific Northwest ecosystems, sectors and communities, and present the benefits of applying an ecosystems-lens to measuring the actual or expected climate impacts on natural and human systems.
Spencer Reeder, Cascadia Consulting Group; Amy Snover, UW Climate Impacts Group; Hilary Papendick, City of Seattle; Alexander Petersen, Adaptation International
National studies and assessments of the climate adaptation needs of government, such as the National Research Council's America's Climate Choices (2010) and Informing Decisions in a Changing Climate (2009), have noted the lack of attention to “…processes that decision makers might use to make appropriate adaptation decisions.” Numerous reports have identified the need for "decision support tools" to support the integration of climate impacts information into day-to-day decision making processes. There are a number of important elements of “decision support” that have been addressed in one form or another. Guidebooks, such as “Preparing for Climate Change” (CIG & ICLEI 2007), and other tools (e.g., visualization tools, databases, impact/cost risk tools) have made progress addressing some of these elements over the last few years. However, a main hurdle inhibiting the implementation of such tools in actual decision making contexts has been the absence of an efficient, easy-to-use approach that local government staff can apply without major investments of time or money. We have developed a tool (CIMPACT-DST) that balances the inherent complexity of local/regional scale climate projections with the needed simplicity and efficiency that a tool must possess to actually be used. This tool synthesizes and integrates local-scale climate projections into the operational and policy framework within which local governments operate.
In creating the version of the tool for the City of Seattle, seven city departments were involved in developing relevant policy and project-type classifications and characterizing their decision-making processes. The tool provides city planners, project managers, and other city staff with a consistent way of considering future climate change impacts information in their day-to-day planning, design, and project management tasks, with a principal focus on new capital project development. The tool addresses primary and secondary climate impacts related to projected changes in temperature, sea level, and precipitation on major infrastructure types. Efforts are underway to integrate the use of the tool into capital project management by applying the tool to assess potential climate change related risks to capital projects, and then identifying and implementing project modifications, or adaptation strategies, to enhance project resilience. This presentation will briefly review existing decision support tools for local governments, the implications of such tools on impacts research, introduce CIMPACT-DST, and discuss how this tool is being applied by the City of Seattle and how it may be a potential model for other local governments constrained by dwindling budgets and fewer staff.
Lorien Reynolds, Bart Johnson, Laurel Pfeifer-Meister, Timothy Tomaszewski and Scott Bridgham, University of Oregon
Higher temperatures expected with climate change may increase microbial decomposition of soil organic carbon (SOC), releasing terrestrial carbon stores into the atmosphere and potentially amplifying climate forcing. Soil respiration is frequently used as a measure of the response of SOC to experimental warming and there is evidence that (1) the degree of this response varies across latitudes, climates, and soil types, and (2) the response decreases over time. Examining how this response varies along a latitudinal climate gradient within a single climatic region may elucidate the importance of site-specific conditions in shaping the response of SOC to climate warming. We are simulating future climate conditions with 3oC warming by overhead infrared lamps and 25% increased precipitation above ambient conditions in three Pacific Northwest (PNW) Prairies over a 600-km latitudinal climate gradient. Climate treatments have been ongoing at all sites since Fall 2010 and soil respiration has been measured monthly beginning in January 2011.
The data thus far indicates strong site differences, with soil respiration generally highest in the southernmost site across seasons. The data also suggest that the response of soil respiration to warming in PNW prairies may vary with season, as temperatures rise and soil moisture levels decline. The southernmost site showed a significant increase under warming in January only, while the central and northernmost sites show significant increases through March. There have been no significant effects of precipitation, though there was a slight decrease in soil respiration under warming in the southernmost site in May and June, indicating progressive moisture limitation. All treatment effects disappeared by April which may indicate that other factors, such as soil moisture content and variability in root biomass, may supersede the effects of experimental warming in this system as respiration becomes less temperature limited (i.e., transitions from winter to spring). Investigating the response of soil respiration to simulated climate change will help us better understand the potential role of PNW prairies and grasslands in climate forcing, as well as assess whether the attenuation of soil respiration under long-term experimental warming can be explained by patterns in climatic and site-specific factors along a latitudinal climate gradient.
T.C. Richmond, Gordon Derr LLP and Fred Lipschultz, Senior Scientist for the National Climate Assessment
The National Climate Assessment (NCA) is being conducted under the auspices of the Global Change Research Act of 1990, which requires a report to the President and the Congress that evaluates, integrates and interprets the findings of the $2.6 billion federal research program on global change (USGCRP) every four years.
Climate assessments act as a status report on climate change science and impacts.They are based on observations made across the country and compare these observations to predictions from climate system models. The NCA aims to incorporate advances in the understanding of climate science into larger social, ecological, and policy systems, and with this provide integrated analyses of impacts and vulnerability. The NCA will evaluate the effectiveness of our mitigation and adaptation activities and identify both risks and opportunities that arise as the climate changes. It will also serve to integrate scientific information from multiple sources and highlight key findings and significant gaps in our knowledge. The NCA aims to help the federal government prioritize climate science investments, and in doing so will assist in provid ing the science that can be used by communities around our Nation try to create a more sustainable and environmentally-sound plan for our future.
In July 2011 a “Request for Information” was published in the Federal Register inviting technical inputs to the NCA from individuals and organizations; these inputs will be considered along with inputs developed by Federal agencies, and by teams and work groups, including the Northwest Regional Team, that will prepare an assessment of Oregon, Washington and Idaho.
James Rufo Hill, Seattle Public Utilities; Paul Fleming, Seattle Public Utilities; Cliff Mass, University of Washington
Developed for Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) by the University of Washington's Mesoscale Analysis and Forecasting Group, Seattle RainWatch is a real-time weather system that provides short-term forecasts (i.e. "nowcasts") and rain accumulation totals for the City of Seattle. It uses rainfall estimates derived from radar data that are calibrated with SPU and other local rain gauge networks to improve accuracy over other precipitation estimate products. The forecasts are made using recent radar echo motion vectors and are extrapolated outward temporally and spatially.
In addition to real-time operational and emergency management uses, Seattle RainWatch also represents a "no regrets" climate adaptation strategy deployed by SPU, given present uncertainty of changes to extreme precipitation in Seattle. The tool is informing decision making and planning processes through the development of enhanced neighborhood- or basin-scale precipitation climatology.
John Rybczyk, Western Washington University
Observed and predicted increases in the rate of eustatic sea-level rise (ESLR), caused by climate change, have led to concerns regarding the long-term sustainability of coastal wetlands worldwide, the essential question being, can wetland elevation keep pace with rising sea levels? Estuarine wetland elevation, relative to sea level, is a function of numerous processes including; mineral and organic matter accretion, the decomposition of organic matter, primary and secondary sediment compaction, deep subsidence, and ESLR, all operating at different time scales. A number of studies have shown that estuarine wetlands can persist for long periods of time (thousands of years) in the face of rising sea levels when sediment accretion equals or exceeds the rate of land subsidence plus ELSR, as is the case for most wetlands worldwide under current rates of ESLR. In practice, estuarine wetland exist in a dynamic equilibrium between the forces that lead to their establishment and maintenance, such as sediment accretion, and forces which lead to their deterioration such as increasing rates of ESLR and subsidence. Changes in either side of the maintenance/deterioration equation could lead to changes in the inundation regime, anaerobic stress levels throughout the wetland, and shifts in habitat types.
Over the past 25 years, a variety of surface elevation models have been developed to address the relationship between sea-level rise and coastal wetland elevation. They differ in the spatial scales that are considered and the processes that are simulated within the model, as opposed to processes that are input as forcing functions or not considered at all. Although there is overlap, we can divide surface elevation models into three groups: 1) landscape models that simulate processes over large regions (i.e. entire estuaries or coastlines), 2) geomorphic and ecogeomorphic models that simulate physical and ecological processes across a marsh platform or transect, and 3) zero-dimensional models that simulate the change in elevation at one point rather than across an entire marsh. Choosing the right model for the job is dependent upon the question to be answered or problem to be solved, resource availability (time, money, computer power, expertise), and data availability for model initialization, calibration and validation.
Ryan R. Rykaczewski, Cooperative Institute for Marine Resources Studies, OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center; John P. Dunne, NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory; Bill T. Peterson, NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center
Here we consider the response of the California Current to local- and basin-scale atmospheric forcing. Historical observations in the region have recognized a negative relationship between surface temperature and biological production, and this ecosystem response has often been attributed to changes in local processes (e.g. mixing, stratification, and upwelling). Generally, cooler surface waters are associated with higher production, while warmer conditions are associated with lower production. Climate-driven shifts from cool to warm conditions often have had detrimental effects on ecosystem production in the northeast Pacific. Based on this historical relationship, it is reasonable to expect that productivity will decline with global warming and increased water-column stratification. We investigate ecosystem responses to projected warming for the California Current using an earth system model. Contrary to expectations, we find that biological productivity in the California Current is projected to increase in the coming century despite increased stratification. This increase is the result of changes in the deep-water circulation which enrich the nutrient content of waters entering the region. In addition to increasing primary productivity, these changes in circulation have important implications for oxygen concentration and ocean acidification in the California Current. Our results emphasize that regional ecosystem responses to warming vary at different spatial and temporal scales. While local atmospheric processes remain important, the large-scale atmospheric changes associated with future global warming may alter the deep source waters that are supplied to the northeast Pacific. Changes in these source-water properties will play an increasing role in influencing the coastal marine ecosystem of the Pacific Northwest, and ecosystem responses to global warming may be opposite those anticipated if changes in source-water properties are not considered.
Jae Ryu, University of Idaho; Bryce Contor, Idaho Water Resources Research Institute; Gary Johnson, University of Idaho; Rick Allen, University of Idaho; John Tracy, Idaho Water Resources Research Institute
Climate change and variability continue to threaten reliability and sustainability of regional water resources in the western United States. Early snow melting and water dispute potentials induce water managers and planners to develop proactive adaptive management strategies to mitigate future climate impacts. The Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer in the state of Idaho is also facing these challenges in the sense that population growth and economic development highly depend on reliable water resources from underground storage. Ongoing water shortage and subsequent water conflict often drive scientific research and political agendas because water resources availability and aquifer management for a sustainable rural economy are of great interest. In this study, a system dynamic approach is applied to address dynamically complex problems in the aquifer's water management associated with surface and groundwater interactions. Recharge and discharge dynamics of input and output within the aquifer system are coded in an environmental modeling framework to identify long-term behavior of aquifer responses to climate-driven hydrological changes. The research shows that the system dynamic approach is a promising tool to develop sustainable water resources planning and management in collaborative decision-making framework and also to provide useful insights and alternative opportunities for operational management, policy support and participatory strategic planning to mitigate climate change impacts in human dimensions.
Ahmed Salahuddin and Philip Mote, Oregon Climate Change Res. Inst, Oregon State University
The climateprediction.net (CPDN) project is an innovative climate science experiment that utilizes volunteer computers from users worldwide to perform climate model simulations of the Earth's climate. In its 10+ years, the project has produced over 140 million simulated years in a wide range of global experiments. For the first time, the CPDN framework is being used to perform regional climate modeling at 25 km spatial resolution in the western US. In this poster we present results of regional CPDN simulations for 1960-2009 in which the HadRM3P regional model is nested in the HadAM3 global atmosphere model, forced by observed sea surface temperatures. Utilizing the North American Regional Reanalysis over the period 1980-2006, we compare regional CPDN outputs for a few variables, viz. mean and maximum temperature, frost days, snow water equivalent, sea level pressure and geopotential height. Since the CPDN framework allows "perturbed physics" ensembles, we can also evaluate whether model performance in the western US depends on physical parameters.
Eric Salathé , University of Washington Bothell; Alan Hamlet, University of Washington; Neil Banas, University of Washington
Most detailed climate impacts assessments for the Pacific Northwest and other regions around the world are based on results from global climate models and statistical downscaling. These climate projections have proved invaluable and provided substantial information about some of the major impacts climate change would have on the region. There are, however, many issues that have not been adequately addressed by these scenarios due to the inherent limitations of coarse-scale global models. In particular, many problems depend of processes in the atmosphere, land, and ocean occurring at spatial or temporal scales that are not well simulated by global models and not tractable to statistical methods. For example, heavy flooding occurs from extreme precipitation events that last less than a day over an area of tens of kilometers, well below the scale of global models. Coastal winds, which drive upwelling currents, are the result of the interaction of large-scale circulation, coastal terrain, and land-sea temperature gradients. Recent advances in regional climate modeling and its applications have expanded the class of climate impacts problems that can be studied. This talk will address these advances and their importance for climate impacts applications.
Results will be presented for new simulations using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model to produce regional climate scenarios both for the past 60 years (1948-2011) by a downscaling global reanalysis and for the future (1970-2100) by downscaling several global climate model simulations. Three specific applications of these results will be presented: 1) Consequences for future air quality 2) Projections of flood risk 3) Simulation of the coastal ocean and Puget Sound. In each case, the presentation will discuss regional climate issues that are essential to simulating the future impacts and how a regional climate model advances our basic understanding of the physical climate drivers of these projected impacts.
Samantha Siedlecki, JISAO/PCC; Neil Banas, APL; Kristin Davis, APL; Parker MacCready, UW; Sarah Giddings, UW; Tom Connolly, UW; Barbara Hickey, UW
In the Pacific Northwest, the spring transition to upwelling season occurs regularly in late April, but in 2005, the transition occurred nearly two months late. The upwelling season in 2005 also resulted in severe hypoxia on the shelf. During the spring transition, the winds become upwelling favorable, and the currents on the shelf and slope respond accordingly. Equatorward flow on the slope dominates the upper water column, in the spring. The poleward undercurrent on the slope emerges later in the summer and the transition between these two states impacts the chemistry of the water upwelled onto the shelf. Using the external forcings and framework set up by the MoSSea (Modeling the Salish Sea: http://faculty.washington.edu/pmacc/MoSSea/) project, ROMS, and NCOM (Navy Coastal Ocean Model), a realistic hindcast of 2005 is performed. Numerical model runs are used to investigate the impact of the seasonal transition in upwelling source waters on shelf biochemistry. Tracers designed to resemble oxygen and dye tracers are used to examine the source and fate of the upwelled water over the upwelling season in 2005. Preliminary results indicate source water depths for upwelled water are sensitive to the changes in the slope circulation.
Kate Skaggs and Eli Levitt, Washington Department of Ecology
In the Pacific northwest of the United States, sea level rise projections range from 3” to 22” by 2050 for the Puget Sound, 1” to 18” for the central and southern outer coast, and -5” to 14” for the northwest Olympic Peninsula. The range of uncertainty highlights one of the many difficulties local governments face when planning for the impacts of not only sea level rise, but also more frequent storm events and heightened storm surges when those events occur. The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) plans to assist local governments by providing them with information, guidance and tools they will need to effectively plan for and adapt to sea level rise. A survey has been distributed to local governments to determine what information planners already possess, what information Ecology could provide that would be most helpful, and the level of concern among local governments regarding sea level rise. The results of this survey will inform the development of a guidance document. The guidance will focus on how to integrate sea level rise planning into local Shoreline Master Programs and other regulation in Washington. Additionally, information collected from the surveys will inform the development of outreach and education materials which Ecology will incorporate into the agency's climate change clearinghouse. The Department of Ecology is also coordinating with NGOs, government, and academic institutions to foster collaboration on this issue in the region. This communication is instrumental in determining what information exists on sea level rise and how to best translate this information into a form that can be used by local shoreline and urban planners.
Ingrid Tohver, University of Washington Climate Impacts Group; Se-Yeun Lee, University of Washington Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Alan Hamlet, University of Washington Climate Impacts Group and Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Conventionally, natural resource management practices evolved within the framework that stationary past conditions serve as a baseline for future conditions. However, the warmer climate projected for the Pacific Northwest is expected to substantially alter the region's flood and low flow risks, posing considerable challenges to resource managers in the Olympic National Forest (ONF) and Olympic National Park (ONP). Shifts in extreme streamflow will influence two key management objectives in the ONF and ONP: the protection of fish and wildlife and the maintenance of road infrastructure. The ONF is charged with managing habitat for species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and with maintaining the network of forest roads and related infrastructure, like culverts and bridges. Climate-induced increases in flood severity will introduce additional challenges in road and culvert design. Furthermore, the aging road infrastructure and more extreme summer low flows will compromise aquatic habitats, intrinsic to the health of threatened fish species listed under the ESA.
Current practice uses estimates of Q100 (the peak flow with a 100-year return frequency) as the standard metric for stream crossing design. Simple regression models, relating annual precipitation and basin area to Q100, are used in the design process. Low flow estimates apply historical streamflow data to calculate the 7-day consecutive lowest flow with a 10-year return interval, or 7Q10. Under a rapidly warming climate, these methods for estimating extreme flows are ill equipped to capture the complex and spatially varying effects of seasonal changes in temperature, precipitation, and snowpack on extreme flow risk.
As an alternative approach, this study applies a physically-based hydrologic model to estimate historical and future flood risk at 1/16th degree (latitude/longitude) resolution (~ 32 km2), and at the 12-digit HUC scale. We downscaled climate data derived from 10 global climate models to use as input for the macro-scale Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) model, which simulates daily hydrologic variables. Using the VIC estimates for baseflow and run-off, we calculated Q100 and 7Q10 for the historical period and under two emission scenarios at three future time intervals: the 2020s, the 2040s and the 2080s. The results demonstrate the sensitivity of snowpack at mid-elevation basins to a warmer climate, provoking severer winter floods and lower streamflows in the summertime. These ensemble estimates of extreme streamflows will serve as a management tool by providing maps and data bases of changing risk at the watershed scale over the ONF and ONP.
Michael Corsello, George Mason University, and Seshu Vaddey, Corps of Engineers - Portland District
With the increasing use of climate change impact studies, the organization, storing and management of climate change information is a growing issue. The sheer volume of data produced in climate change studies is daunting in its own right. However, categorization, naming conventions, capturing the physical phenomenon the data represents, and access to the data with a management framework to ensure data validity are all tremendous challenges. In addition to developing a management framework to support the volume and complexity of the data, the team has been focusing on solutions that support workflows that encompass exploratory data analysis, simulation modeling and visualization / reporting of results. The solutions in development are intended to help organizations overcome the initial hurdles of working with climate change information to better understand how climate change could impact their mission.
Julie Vano, University of Washington; Tapash Das, CH2MHILL; David Pierce, Scripps Institution of Oceanography; Daniel Cayan, Scripps Institution of Oceanography; Dennis Lettenmaier, University of Washington
Throughout the western United States, climate change is projected to make managing water supply for healthy ecosystems and human communities more challenging – yet there remains much uncertainty as to the nature of local impacts. Understanding potential changes is complicated by the wide range of projections from climate models, which has sometimes obscured the basin-specific hydrologic characteristics that control hydrologic sensitivities to climate change. We report a set of controlled experiments that evaluate, using the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) land-surface hydrologic model, the sensitivities of annual and seasonal streamflow of four large Western U.S. river basins (Colorado, Sacramento, San Joaquin, and Columbia) to imposed temperature changes. We find that the Columbia basin, in common with the other Western U.S. river basins, is much more sensitive to summer than to winter warming in terms of annual streamflows. We also find that the rates of change of annual runoff with respect to both summer and winter warming are more similar in nature to the Colorado, which generally has the highest sensitivities among the Western U.S. basins, than to the California basins. We further examine the spatial character of sensitivities within the Columbia basin, and find that they are controlled in substantial part by the relatively high elevation and cold Canadian portion. Among major U.S. tributaries, such as the Snake, the signature of sensitivities is more similar to the California basins than to the Colorado.
Steve Adams, The Resource Innovation Group- Climate Leadership Initiative; Stacy Vynne, The Resource Innovation Group- Climate Leadership Initiative; Jean Stockard, The Resource Innovation Group; Roger Hamilton, The Resource Innovation Group- Climate Leadership Initiative
Communities throughout the world will face a broad range of difficult and complex issues related to climate change in coming years. These changes are expected to be unprecedented in both nature and scope, producing a new array of management and planning decisions as communities adapt to their altered environment. In order for policies to be effective, they will need to be informed by high quality scientific knowledge. However, there is often a great disparity and challenge in linking climate impact research to planning and decision-making. This presentation will describe an integrative and regionally based collaborative process designed to help communities become more resilient to the vagaries of climate change through promoting interactions and relationships between professionals and officials from a wide variety of sectors. The process, termed Climate Future Forums, has intellectual routes in a variety of ecological, planning, and management literatures. Like Community Based Adaptation, which is common practice in many developing countries, the forums are designed to enhance a community's ability to act collectively, building trust and social capital among participants. Building on the rich tradition of scenario planning and community risk assessment, the forums use scientific assessments of projected climate change to help participants develop locally based conceptualizations of possible future conditions. Perhaps most important, the work builds on the tradition of resilience management, through the involvement of a wide-range of stakeholders in a facilitated process designed to help participants identify sources of strength that would help them address issues that could arise in an uncharted future. We suggest that Climate Future Forums can provide lessons for practitioners and scholars interested in bridging the gap between scientific experts and local adaptation planning The Climate Futures Forums may also provide a helpful model by showing how participative processes can build upon local expertise and fully integrate individuals with scientific knowledge into the adaptation planning process on a community level. Because the knowledgeable experts are often neighbors and fellow residents of the region, they can help provide the integrative glue that bridges the gap between the scientific findings and planning needs; and the forums provide an example of how this can be done in regions with a broad range of characteristics.
Thomas Wainwright and Laurie Weitkamp, NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center
Effects of climate change on salmon stocks are of interest from both harvest management and conservation perspectives. Coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) populations that spawn in the coastal rivers of Oregon formerly supported robust fisheries but are now listed as a 'threatened species' under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, and are thus of particular concern. Our objective is to assess the effects of climate change on sustainability of this population group. Four distinct habitats are important to different life-history stages of coho salmon: terrestrial forests, freshwater rivers and lakes, estuaries, and the North Pacific Ocean. Each of these systems is affected by multiple aspects of climate change, resulting in a complex web of pathways influencing sustainability. We summarize regional climate change studies to predict physical changes affecting these habitats, identify the ecological pathways by which these changes will affect coho salmon, and review coho salmon ecology to assess the likely direction and magnitude of population response. Despite substantial uncertainties in specific effects and variations in effects among populations, the preponderance of negative effects throughout the life cycle indicates a significant climate-driven risk to future sustainability of these populations. Concerns are particularly acute for populations residing in snow-fed river basins where changes in hydrology are expected to be greater than those in the predominantly rain-fed coastal streams. We recommend that management policies for all four habitats focus on maximizing resilience to the effects of climate change as it interacts with other natural and anthropogenic changes.
Michael Warner, University of Washington Department of Atmospheric Sciences; Clifford Mass, University of Washington Department of Atmospheric Sciences; Eric Salathé, University of Washington Science and Technology Program, Bothell
Extreme precipitation events can impact the Pacific Northwest coast during winter months, causing flooding, landslides, millions of dollars of property damage, and loss of life. This study uses 60 years (1950-2009) of National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) daily precipitation observations to identify the top 50 extreme events in 2-day precipitation at six coastal stations in the Pacific Northwest. Of the 207 unique events, most occur in December, January and February. The 1950s, 1980s, and 1990s experienced relatively more events.
Temporal correlations between 2-day precipitation at each station and daily streamflow at nearby rivers found the highest correlations at 1- and 2-day lags, indicating river response times of less than 48 hours. A mean event period of 45 hours to collect 75% of the precipitation associated with each event was determined from hourly precipitation data at two of the stations. NCEP/NCAR reanalysis data was used to create synoptic composites for six days surrounding each event for varying locations along the coast. At Forks, WA, negative sea-level pressure and upper-level height anomalies deepen in the central Pacific and shift westward in the days prior to maximum precipitation at the coast. Forks and Astoria, OR also have large positive 850 hPa temperature anomalies over the entire coast at the time of heaviest precipitation. In contrast, stations along the central Oregon coast and northern California have negative sea-level pressure and upper-level height anomalies that deepen along the coast in the days prior to the event and weaker 850 hPa temperature anomalies. Extreme precipitation events were found to be associated with moisture plumes containing higher than average integrated water vapor (IWV) values originating in the subtropics and tropics in all but five cases. These five outliers were not associated with ARs; instead, negative IWV values were found near the station and extreme precipitation was caused by post-frontal convection in cooler, unstable air. During winter months, only six days in 60 years with a moisture plume containing greater than 35 mm of IWV were associated with less than two inches of rain along the coast. Such conditions occurred most often in the summertime when upper-level ridging over the eastern Pacific and weak onshore flow limited upward vertical velocities.
Jeffrey Weber , Oregon Dept. of Land Conservation and Development
Initiating and maintaining a state-level process to develop a comprehensive climate adaptation strategy is essentially a complex problem of how to organize information about a broad range of different things. s Climate Change Adaptation Framework started from a sector-based approach to adaptation planning and evolved into a risk-based approach, and ended up producing a very solid and effective template for state- and regional-level adaptation planning. This process was largely based on the compilation and collaborative revision of information about specific aspects of adaptation planning, and this occurred with constant feedback from climate scientists with broad knowledge of research specifically applicable to the Pacific Northwest and Oregon. This presentation will provide an overview of the evolution and outcomes of s process to develop a state-level adaptation strategy.
Lara Whitely Binder, University of Washington Climate Impacts Group; Amy Snover, University of Washington Climate Impacts Group; Emma Timmins-Schiffman, University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences; Sean McDonald , University of Washington Program on the Environment; Kara Cardinal, University of Washington School of Marine Affairs; Penelope Dalton, Washington Sea Grant
In May 2011, NOAA's Regional Collaboration Team, West Coast Sea Grant programs, the Climate Impacts Group, and other partners convened a 1.5 day workshop to evaluate the effects of climate change on four Pacific fisheries: Canary rockfish and sablefish (both part of the groundfish fishery), Pacific whiting, and Dungeness crab. The workshop brought together a select group of scientists, fisheries managers, industry representatives (including processors and fishermen), and others from Washington, Oregon, and California to assess how climate change could affect these fisheries using a modified rapid vulnerability assessment approach orginially tested in Australia. To our knowledge, this is the first application of the base methdologies in the U.S.
This presentation will highlight the results of the workshop, discussing how workshop participants collaboratively evaluated the exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity of the selected fisheries. The overall vulnerability scores for each fishery will be presented as well as a critique of what worked and didn't work with the methodology applied at the workshop. Recommendations for changes to the approach and next steps will also be discussed.
Seth Wiggins, Oregon State University; John Antle, Oregon State University; Jetse Stoorvogel, Wageningen University
The damages caused by climate change can be partially offset by changing management practices on rangelands: By choosing to reduce herd size, changing grazing strategies, or improving pasture management, rangelands are able to sequester the otherwise harmful carbon. As rangelands represent one of the largest uses of land (over 13.5 million acres in both Oregon and Washington) these management changes have the technical potential to reduce the annual greenhouse emissions from the United States between 5-14%, There are additional environmental benefits associated with these changes, such as improved water and soil qualities, that would lead to improvements the regions' ecosystem health. While this carbon sequestration would be a public good, the cost of such changes would be paid solely by the individual ranchers. Transferring public resources to the private actors provides an efficient solution. Utilizing farm-level data from the 2007 Census of Agriculture, as well as the parsimonious simulation methodology developed by Dr. John Antle, Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics at Oregon State University, this research evaluates the payment structure necessary to incentivize individual ranches to adopt the environmentally beneficial practices. The costs per ton of carbon sequestered are also evaluated, and found to be cost-competitive with other carbon reduction strategies.
Hannah E. Wilson, Bart R. Johnson and Scott D. Bridgham, University of Oregon
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) form a mutualistic relationship with an estimated 80% of terrestrial plants for which the fungi provide enhanced nutrient and water uptake to the plant in exchange for photosynthate. Despite the importance of AMF to plant survival and fitness, little is known about how these relationships will be affected by climate change. We examined how the percent colonization of AMF in the roots of an annual prairie forb (Plectritis congesta) respond to a experimental warming along a 600-km natural climate gradient from southern Oregon to central Washington. At each location, colonization was quantified in three plants sampled from each of five plots heated at 3°C above ambient with overhead infrared lamps and five control plots. Total colonization was significantly less in the heated plots (mean colonization = 60%) compared to control plots (mean colonization = 79%), and this outcome was consistent across all three sites. Total AMF colonization also differed by site, with colonization highest in the southernmost site (85%), intermediate in the northernmost site (73%), and lowest in the middle site (63%). Our results suggest that these important symbiotic relationships may be negatively affected by a warming climate, at least for this annual forb. This research is being extended to three other plant species to see how generalizable our results are. Differences among sites also may be influenced by soil type, so a follow-up greenhouse experiment will be performed to deconvolve soil effects from climate effects on mycorrhizal abundance.
Randal Wortman, Portland District, US Army Corps of Engineers
Seasonal water supply forecasts (WSF) issued for two key sites in the Pacific Northwest during the 2011 water year are reviewed and compared. The forecasts are issued by multiple agencies, use both statistical and simulation models, and are updated at intervals ranging from daily to monthly. The strong La Nina climate signal from summer/fall 2010 provided significant foresight into the extremely wet runoff season at Dworshak, Idaho. The climate variables used with the Libby WSF had only a slight influence on the similarly large runoff forecast.
Francis Zwiers, PCIC, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC; Guilong Li, Meteorological Service of Canada - Ontario Region; Xuebin Zhang, Climate Research Division, Environment Canada; Qiuzi Wen, York University, Toronto, Ontario
A framework for the construction of probabilistic projections of high resolution monthly temperature over North America using available outputs of opportunity from ensembles of multiple general circulation models (GCMs) and multiple regional climate models (RCMs) is proposed. In this approach, we first established a statistical relationship between RCM output and that from the respective driving GCM and then applied this relationship to downscale outputs from a larger number of GCM simulations. Those statistically downscaled projections were used to estimate empirical quantiles at high resolution. Uncertainty in the projected temperature was partitioned into five sources including difference in emission scenarios, differences in GCMs, internal variability simulated by GCMs, differences in RCMs, and statistical downscaling including internal variability at finer spatial scale. We found large spatial variability in projected future temperature changes, with increasingly larger changes towards the north in winter temperature and larger changes in the middle latitudes US in summer temperature. We also found that downscaling to small spatial scale contributes more to the uncertainty in the projected temperature changes than any other sources except that uncertainty due to GCMs becomes the most important for the summer temperature towards the end of the 21st century.