Author Archives: AgClimate Admin

2017 Northwest Climate Conference in Tacoma – Oct 10-11, 2017

WA Dept of Ecology oblique shoreline photo archive, photo ID number 000924_114848, courtesy of Snohomish County.

Join us in Tacoma this October for the 8th Annual Northwest Climate Conference! The Northwest Climate Conference annually brings together more than 300 researchers and practitioners from around the region to discuss scientific results, challenges, and solutions related to the impacts of climate on people, natural resources, and infrastructure in the Pacific Northwest.  

The conference is the region’s premier opportunity for a cross-disciplinary exchange of knowledge and ideas about regional climate, climate impacts, and climate adaptation science and practice. The conference also provides a forum for presenting emerging policy and management goals, objectives, and information needs related to regional climate impacts and adaptation. Participants include policy- and decision-makers, resource managers, and scientists from academia; federal, state, and local agencies; sovereign tribal nations; non-governmental organizations; and the private sector.

Details regarding abstract submission, registration, and other program news will be added to the conference website in the coming weeks. In the meantime, please contact Lara Whitely Binder (lwb123@uw.edu) with any questions or for information on sponsorship opportunities.

 

Spring is Coming! Reflections on Growing the AgClimate Network

By: Brooke Saari

“No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow” ~ Proverb from Guinea

Spring in the Pacific Northwest. Top Left: Skagit Valley Tulips, courtesy of Brooke Saari; Top Right: Apple Tree in bloom, courtesy Washington State University; Bottom Left: Cherry Orchard in The Dalles, courtesy of Oregon State University and Jan Sonnenmair Photography, Flickr CC 2.0; Bottom Right: Spring Daffodils, courtesy Brent M., Flickr CC 2.0.

Winter is in its final stages and spring is knocking on our door. As a Florida native living in Washington, I for one am ready for some sunshine, flowers and warmth! While I dream of that glorious spring, I’d like to reflect on what an impressive year of growth the Agriculture Climate Network experienced in 2016, and what we are shooting for over the next year. Continue reading

Parched and drenched – we can expect both in the Northwest

By: Sonia A. Hall

The snow-covered landscape, the Columbia River, and the pine forests covered with signs of the recent ice storm provided the backdrop for the Climate Impacts to Water Conference, hosted by Washington State University Extension. University of Idaho climate scientist John Abatzoglou gave a plenary talk, titled Parched and Drenched: Future Climate and Water Resources in the Pacific Northwest (check out the recording here).

What I really liked about Abatzoglou’s presentation was that he focused on one key number, and then got into the weeds of what it means and why it’s important to us. That key number in this case was the fact that the Northwest has seen an increase in average temperatures of 1°C (that’s almost 2°F, if you prefer Fahrenheit), which has mostly occurred in the last 50 years. Is this an important change, and should we care? Yes, because this past temperature increase has already led to more rain and less snow, a reduced winter snowpack, and spring runoff coming earlier in the year, leaving us drier in the summer. Continue reading

Large Storms May Help Snowpack

By: CIRCulator Editorial Staff
Reprinted From: The Climate CIRCulator

Oregon Coast. (Photo: Luke Detwiler, some rights reserved.)

It’s that time again. It’s time to talk about atmospheric rivers, that key weather pattern wherein moist air from the subtropics is drawn in a line to the West Coast, delivering a significant portion of the Pacific Northwest’s winter precipitation.

Lots of winter precipitation is good for the Pacific Northwest, so long as it’s a certain type of precipitation: snow. According to a new study by CIRC and OCCRI’s very own David Rupp and Sihan Li, atmospheric rivers might not only create large precipitation events but also keep temperatures cool enough to turn that precipitation into snow. Continue reading

Winter won’t end

Reposted from Climate of the Inland Northwest US

After a couple very mild winters across the inland northwest, we’ve been dealt a cool hand over the past 90 days while signs of the earliest bloom on record are being reported across much of the eastern US. And it’s a pattern that doesn’t seem to show any signs of changing in the next 8-14 days.

Continue reading

Summarizing Scientific Knowledge about Agriculture and Climate Change in the Northwest U.S. and Plotting a Roadmap for the Future

By Liz Allen

This white paper integrates stakeholders¹ recommendations with a review of current scientific information about climate change and agriculture in the Northwest U.S.
Image credits, clockwise from top left: Lower Lake Ranch Road Sunset, by Michael McCullough; Marysville Wind Turbines, by Amit Patel; Columbia Gorge Apple Orchard, by Oregon Department of Agriculture; Palouse Wheat Field, by Matt Olson. All Creative Commons by NC 2.0.

Back in March of 2016, a group of agriculture sector stakeholders– including researchers, policy makers and producers– met in Tri-Cities, Washington, for the Agriculture in a Changing Climate Workshop. The three-day workshop was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Northwest Climate Hub and National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Facilitators from the William D. Ruckelshaus Center were instrumental in supporting generative dialogue. Workshop participants worked together to define priorities for the future research and extension efforts focused on climate change mitigation and adaptation in the Northwest.

A newly released white paper synthesizes high-priority recommendations that were articulated by participants at the workshop. Continue reading

What Does Global Change Mean for Local Agriculture? A Case Study from the Winegrape Industry

Pinot Noir Grapes in the Willamette Valley, by Ethan Prater, CC BY 2.0.

By Liz Allen

Paradoxically, for agriculture in the Northwest US, some of climate change’s most dramatic effects will be caused by shifts in climate that occur in distant locations. If this statement sounds strange on the surface, consider the degree to which global markets shape producers’ decisions. In the 21st century, agricultural decision-makers are operating within a highly complex and interconnected international food system. Thus, changes in production capacity and crop quality in other parts of the world could be a major driver of new opportunities and new vulnerabilities for agriculture in our region. Continue reading

Under what climatic conditions will it make economic sense to switch to a new irrigation system?

By: Keyvan Malek and Sonia A. Hall

Flood irrigation, a low efficiency system in use in parts of Washington State. Public domain photo by Jeff Vanuga, USDA NRCS.

Investing in efficient irrigation systems usually requires significant capital. As with other capital-intensive investments, doing it would only make economic sense if the benefits exceed the costs. Each farmer can estimate the cost of switching their system to a high-efficiency system. But what about the benefits? What do they depend on? And will those factors they depend on change in the future? We used a model to play out some “what if” scenarios to address these questions in Washington’s Yakima Basin (see this article on using models in this way). Continue reading

Hot, hotter, hottest (so far) – Should I care?

By: Sonia A. Hall

I must confess that sometimes I like geeking out on data—raw climate data, for example. But most of the time I don’t have enough background knowledge about the complex and detailed data I’m looking at to interpret what it shows me about the big picture. So I really appreciate it when the experts take the time to present and discuss their data in a way that helps me understand the underlying patterns. If you are like me in that way, you might enjoy a recent (January 2017) Beyond the Data blog article by NOAA climate scientist Jessica Blunden, discussing how unusual the 2014-2016 global record-temperature “three-peat” is, relative to the temperature record over the last 100+ years. Continue reading

Workshop Announcement: Agricultural Management Scenarios for the Future, February 16

Future climate change is expected to necessitate a wide range of agricultural adaptation strategies. Photo credit: Gord McKenna, Mt. Baker and Ladner Fields 2008, Creative Commons by NC ND 2.0.

Richland, Wash. – The culminating stakeholder workshop of WSU’s BioEarth research initiative will be held on Thursday, February 16 at the WSU Tri-Cities Campus.  Farmers, industry representatives, government agency personnel, county conservation district staff, NGO representatives, researchers and extension agents interested in adaptation strategies for regional agriculture should all participate. The focus of this workshop will be on understanding agricultural adaptation opportunities in a changing climate.

Those interested in attending:
Date: Thursday, February 16, 8:30am-4:00pm
Location: WSU Tri-Cities Consolidated Information Center Room 120
RSVP By: February 10th
Register at: http://bioearth.brownpapertickets.com
Continue reading