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View: Abstract

Pacific Northwest integrated assessment of the impacts of climate variability and change: The potential role of spatial comparisons and synthesis

Miles, E.L., A.K. Snover, A.F. Hamlet, B.M. Callahan, and D.L. Fluharty. 2000. Pacific Northwest integrated assessment of the impacts of climate variability and change: The potential role of spatial comparisons and synthesis. In G. James West and L. Buffaloe (eds.), Proceedings of the Sixteenth Annual Pacific Climate Workshop, Santa Catalina Island, CA, May 24-27, 1999, Technical Report #65, pp 141-146.

Abstract

The Pacific Northwest (PNW) regional assessment is an integrated examination of the consequences of natural climate variability and projected future climate change to the natural and human systems in the region. The assessment currently focuses on four sectors: hydrology and water resources, forests and forestry, aquatic ecosystems, and coastal activities. The assessment begins by identifying and elucidating the natural patterns of climate variability in the PNW on interannual to decadal timescales. The pathways through which these variations are manifest and their impacts on the natural and human systems of the region are investigated. Knowledge of these pathways allows an analysis of the potential impacts of future climate change as defined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change climate change scenarios.

In this presentation, the PNW region is defined as the Columbia Basin plus the coastal regions of Washington and Oregon. Synthesis is achieved in the following ways. Firstly, by constructing an empirically-derived representation of the climate system of the region and the patterns generated by the flow of impacts within each sector. Secondly, by assessing the nature and magnitude of impacts within each sector. Thirdly, by assessing the interactive effects of impacts across all sectors. Fourthly, by assessing the sensitivity and vulnerability of the region, as represented by the four sectors, to climate variability and climate change.