Category Archives: Variability, Weather, & Extreme Events

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

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

Request for Papers: Special Issue on Climate, Agriculture and Food Systems

Editors at the journal Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems are welcoming submissions for a special issue on Climate, Agriculture and Food Systems. They are interested in multidisciplinary research that examines agrifood system responses to both projected and experienced climate changes. Editors are interested in all relevant submissions and request a 500 word (maximum) abstract of your planned contribution to the issue editors by February 15th, 2017.

Please contact Gabrielle Roesch-McNally (USDA Climate Hubs, groeschmcnally@fs.fed.us) or click call for abstracts for more information.

 

 

Growing condition analogues – Understanding future climate through past experience

By Kirti Rajagopalan and Sonia A. Hall

Though Appletown in this article is a theoretical location, producers sharing what practices work for them is a real source of information that can help others make decisions under uncertain future conditions. Photo credit: Scott Bauer/USDA, under CC BY 2.0

Though Appletown in this article is a theoretical location, producers sharing what practices work for them is a real source of information that can help others make decisions under uncertain future conditions. Photo credit: Scott Bauer/USDA, under CC BY 2.0

Weather is the most important driver of agricultural production. Year-to-year changes in the weather affect growing conditions, which then lead to important swings in yields, quality, timing and marketability of Pacific Northwest products such as apples, wheat, potatoes, and hay. In a similar way, changes in climate are leading to changes in growing conditions, and these changes also pose risks to production. Growing condition analogues are an approach to identifying and exploring past experiences that are relevant to understanding the risks expected in the future.

Over the years—and in some cases over generations—producers have refined their management practices to best address the complex interactions between the crops they grow and the wide range of growing conditions that determine the productivity and sustainability of their operation. These best practices are adapted to the local conditions and are continuously improved over the years, creating a rich body of location-specific agronomic knowledge. Continue reading

Request for Proposals from the USDA Northwest Climate Hub

Photo by Aaron Roth, NRCS. CC BY-ND 2.0

Photo by Aaron Roth, NRCS. CC BY-ND 2.0

The USDA Northwest Climate Hub is putting out a request for proposals (usda-northwest-climate-hub-rfp-fy17).

Contingent upon available funds the Northwest Climate Hub requests proposals to support our mission to serve farms, forests and rangelands in a changing climate. An estimated amount of $350,000 is available for approximately 5-10 projects. There are additional funds available (at least $50,000) to fund one proposal that is designed to assist the NW Climate Hub in serving Alaska, such as efforts focused on Alaska meeting its food security needs under climate change. The Northwest Climate Hub encourages applicants to seek matching funds from other sources that augment and leverage funds made available to support proposals through this Request For Proposals.

We look forward to your letter(s) of intent due 5 December 2016.

If you are interested in email updates on RFP news and other Hub news please sign up here on Google.


Holly R. Prendeville, PhD
USDA Northwest Climate Hub Coordinator
USDA Forest Service
Pacific Northwest Research Station

Extending climate change science: Can we learn from the Midwest extension lessons?

By Gabrielle Roesch-McNally,

Image from Sustainable Corn project that outlines recommendations for agricultural extension and climate change outreach to farmers.

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