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View: Abstract

Regional Climate and Hydrologic Change in the Northern U.S. Rockies and Pacific Northwest: Internally Consistent Projections of Future Climate for Resource Management

Littell, J.S., M.M. Elsner, G.S. Mauger, E.R. Lutz, A.F. Hamlet, and E.P. Salathé. 2011. Regional Climate and Hydrologic Change in the Northern U.S. Rockies and Pacific Northwest: Internally Consistent Projections of Future Climate for Resource Management. Project report for USFS JVA 09-JV-11015600-039. Prepared by the Climate Impacts Group, University of Washington, Seattle. April, 2011.

Abstract

Planning for the effects of climate change on natural resources often requires detailed projections of future climate at finer spatial scales consistent with the processes managers typically consider. While it is numerically possible to produce downscaled climate at very fine scales (< 5km), accurate estimation at these scales is difficult and less certain without very detailed local information. Both the absence of a sufficiently dense network of long-term climate observations and the presence of local factors such as topography and land surface feedbacks from vegetation and snowpack contribute to the uncertainties of localized projections.

To meet the needs of managers for developing adaptation strategies, vulnerability assessments, climate impacts assessments, and specific resource modeling at landscape scales, we downscaled projections from the coarser scales of global climate models (GCMs) to more local scales. The R1/R6 project was designed primarily to provide climate information consistent with manager requests and to create a basis for more detailed work or for a more comprehensive approach to downscaling and regional climate modeling. The objectives of this project were to:

Develop consistent historical and future downscaled climate and hydrologic data and projections using the same methodology for several major river basins in the western United States, Columbia, upper Missouri, upper Colorado, and Great Basins, and

Summarize that information with the needs of the funding agencies in mind, including descriptions of where to get the information, methods, results, uses of and uncertainties associated with the data and projections.