Woodinville, Wash. – An interactive summit focusing on the future of the food system in the greater Seattle metropolitan area will be held on Friday, November 18, at the Brightwater Convention Center.
“Envisioning the future of the regional food system” (photo credit: Liz Allen)
Hosted by Washington State University (WSU) Metro Food Energy Water Seed Grant Research Team, the Urban Food-Energy-Water Summit provides an opportunity for the public to gain a deeper understanding of food, energy and water (FEW) interdependence in the greater Seattle area. A morning keynote address and panel discussion will be held from 8:30-11 a.m. and is open to the public. This will include presentations about research and discussions addressing the need for integrated natural resource management approaches. The panel discussion will be a forum for diverse stakeholders to share their perspectives on challenges and opportunities for local food and agriculture.
A by-invitation afternoon breakout session and luncheon will be held after the public portion of the Summit from 11:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Participants will discuss the various characteristics of resilient regional food systems. They will also assist in identifying future research directions that will support local decision makers when developing policies. Please contact Liz Allen if you would like an invitation to the afternoon session.
Those interested in attending are asked to RSVP at www.urbanfew.brownpapertickets.com. For more information about this summit, visit www.metrocenter.wsu.edu/metrofew-summit2016. To learn more about the Urban Food, Energy and Water project, visit http://metrocenter.wsu.edu/metrofew/.
Liz Allen, email@example.com, 774-437-2819
By Gabrielle Roesch-McNally,
Image from Sustainable Corn project that outlines recommendations for agricultural extension and climate change outreach to farmers.
Climate change is now being referred to as a “Super Wicked Problem”- a sticky wicket, a quagmire, a quandary- in other words, climate change is a complex social-ecological problem. Because climate change is such a difficult problem to solve, it is critical that we explore it from many angles and from the viewpoint of diverse stakeholder groups. This post focuses on one stakeholder group that is critical to include in efforts to develop and share climate change solutions across agricultural and ranching communities: University Extension. Many national studies have found that Extension is a trusted source of information among farmers, particularly when it comes to soil and water conservation decisions. Private agricultural advisors are also seeking out extension to provide resources on the topic of climate change. Continue reading
By Liz Allen
The author’s brother moves an irrigation pipe in the Willamette Valley. Making management decisions amid multiple uncertainties is at the heart of what farmers do. Photo credit: Liz Allen
Just how well can we model the impacts that climate change will have on agriculture in the Pacific Northwest? Simply put, there will always be uncertainty about exactly how the climate of the future will differ from historical patterns and what those changes will mean for farmers in the region. How accurately models can project future conditions is a big and complex topic. Discussions of uncertainty can quickly veer into fairly esoteric scientific and philosophical territory, leading to questions such as: What constitutes scientific proof? How can we account for inherent randomness within systems when studying the future? And, how useful are model projections when there is uncertainty associated with nearly every input variable? In practice, however, modeling is tremendously useful because it allows researchers and agricultural decision-makers to put bounds on uncertainty. Thus, modeling helps make plans for the future in spite of uncertainty. Continue reading
By: Sonia Hall
I’m a “lumper” rather than a “splitter.” Give me lots of details on different crops, yields, pests, or weeds, and I’ll try to pull out some overarching idea to remember (I’m likely to forget the details). Luckily there are people who thrive on the details, as was made clear to me in a webinar given by Dr. Sanford Eigenbrode earlier this year, discussing climate change and insects in wheat systems.
Wheat infected with Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus (BYDV). Photo: Dr. Juliet Marshall, University of Idaho.
Because I am a “lumper”, I’ll start with the overarching point I took away from the webinar: we (that is, entomologists like Dr. Eigenbrode, not me personally) know enough about the insect pests affecting wheat systems in the Pacific Northwest to know that different insects, the viruses they spread, and the parasitoids and predators that control them will respond differently to a changing climate. So while crop models suggest that wheat yields in our high latitudes will fare reasonably well as carbon dioxide concentrations increase and the climate warms, there is still a huge question mark related to whether insects and other pests will allow such yields to happen. Vigilance, and knowing what insects to pay particular attention to, can therefore make a big difference to wheat growers’ collective ability to respond and adapt to changes. Continue reading
By: Georgine Yorgey
Biosolids being spread on agricultural fields. Photo: A. Bary.
Biosolids? Yes, that means sewage sludge. Well, sort of. But before you say YUCK and click off the page, let’s start with what they really are: biosolids are the materials produced from digestion of sewage at city wastewater treatment plants. They are rich in plant nutrients such as organic carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus, and can be applied to wheat, alfalfa, and timber land for plant fertilization and soil conditioning. When biosolids are applied at rates that meet plant nutrient needs, farmers and researchers are seeing crop yields equal to or greater than those seen with synthetic fertilizer. Applying biosolids as fertilizer also allows them to be recycled for a useful purpose rather than disposed of in landfills or incinerated. Continue reading
by John Abatzoglou and Katherine Hegewisch
Reprinted from: Climate of the Inland Northwest US
Concerned about record breaking temperatures tomorrow, low spring snowpack this winter, or warming temperatures over the next half century? Coping mechanisms exist to minimize detrimental impacts (or maximize opportunities) from these three types and timescales of climate impacts. From the perspective of agricultural impacts, data -whether it comes in the form of observations, weather forecasts or climate projections- can be an incredibly valuable asset. Yes, weather forecasts are sometimes not perfect, and climate projections have uncertainty. However, numerical weather models used by the National Weather Service have contributed to an estimated $31.5 billion dollar a year benefit to the US not to mention how these forecasts have saved lives. Continue reading
By: Sonia A. Hall
Cover of the draft 2016 Long-Term Supply and Demand Forecast Legislative Report, currently available for public comment. Click image for link.
Water, water everywhere… but will it continue to be there in the future? Will it be available when we need it? Or do we need to invest in projects or policies now, because the water in the future will not be the same as in the past? These are the issues that the collaborative research team working on the 2016 Columbia River Long-Term Supply and Demand Forecast are using models to address, at the direction of the Office of the Columbia River (OCR, part of the Washington Department of Ecology) and the Washington State Legislature.
Preliminary model results were presented at three public workshops in Richland, Wenatchee and Spokane in late June, and the draft report is available for public comment on OCR’s website until July 20, 2016. Continue reading
By CIRCulator Editorial Staff
Reprinted from: The Climate CIRCulator
“Thermometer 115” (Photo: Conservation Law Foundation, Some Rights Reserved.)
THE ACCURACY OF WEATHER FORECASTS declines sharply after about five to eight days. Beyond 10 days you may as well just use the averages taken from the meteorological record for the dates you are interested in, meaning you might as well ditch weather forecasting altogether and turn to climatology. But in some circumstances, specific types of weather might be predicted weeks in advance.
Writing in Nature Geoscience, Karen McKinnon of the National Center for Atmospheric Research and her colleagues found that some heat events in the eastern U.S. are predictable by as much as 50 days in advance. (In their paper, the researchers define heat events as at least two successive days above the 95th percentile over the eastern US.) The researchers arrived at this discovery after identifying statistically significant relationships between a temperature pattern in the Pacific Ocean, what they call the “Pacific Extreme Pattern,” and heat events as much as 50 days later over roughly the eastern third of the continental U.S. Continue reading
By Chad Kruger
Wanapum Dam at normal operation on the Columbia River (photo: Dept of Ecology)
Water is the life-blood of agriculture. Without an adequate supply of water we cannot produce, process, or prepare food. You’ve heard the catch-phrase “No Farms, No Food”? The same could be said for water: “No Water, No Food”.
Actually, water is even more important than that. It is the life-blood of civilization. There was a study published a couple of years ago that evaluated the importance of water (and grain) as it related to the development of the Roman Empire (Dermody et.al. 2014). The conclusion of this study is that Rome ultimately was undone by the fact that it had to expand its empire too far to secure sufficient water resources to feed itself. [Someday I’ll write a post about this study – it’s an open access journal so anyone with a computer can read it.] Continue reading
By Cynthia King
Reprinted from: WSU News AgWeatherNet
By Nic Loyd, WSU meteorologist, and Linda Weiford, WSU News
SPOKANE, Wash. – There’s a saying around the Pacific Northwest that summer doesn’t really start until after the Fourth of July.
Having just emerged from a snippet of record-breaking heat in early June, this doesn’t seem to ring true, does it? Nor did it ring true last summer when, by the end of June, two major heatwaves had already descended upon us.
Speaking of summer 2015, many Washingtonians may be wondering if this summer is going to be like it. Remember the seemingly relentless heat, the governor’s drought emergency and the largest number of wildfires in the state’s history? Continue reading