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Data Announcement: Linking Atmospheric Rivers to Wildfire Patterns in the Southwest

March 3, 2017

This winter, parts of drought-stricken California have been besieged by heavy flooding, mudslides, and feet of snow. The cause? A meteorological phenomenon known as an atmospheric river, which carries high concentrations of water vapor in narrow bands from the warm tropics up to western North America.

In the western U.S., atmospheric rivers are relatively common and are critical providers of winter rain and snow. However, they can also be a source of extreme flooding and costly damage to transportation networks, public utilities, and other infrastructure. While the economic... Read more

Climate change impact on wetland carbon cycling

February 24, 2017

A group of scientists led by Karen Thorne of the USGS Western Ecological Research Center and funded by the Southwest Climate Science Center recently published a paper from their study of coastal wetlands in the journal Ecosystems. The paper describes the results of their experiments across a
 latitudinal and climate gradient of tidal marshes along the California Coast and further north along the Pacific Coast to evaluate how climate change may affect the ability of coastal wetlands to cycle and sequester carbon. Results could help land managers build climate resilience into coastal... Read more

New Publication Explores Atmospheric River Impacts in the Southwest

February 20, 2017

In the southwestern U.S., the meteorological phenomenon known as atmospheric rivers (ARs) has gained increasing attention due to its strong connections to floods, snowpacks, and water supplies in the West Coast states. Relatively less is known about the ecological implications of ARs, particularly in the interior Southwest, where AR storms are less common. Understanding their ecological impacts may provide opportunities to better predict responses to climate change.

A new paper out in Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences seeks to address this gap in... Read more

Evaluation Indicators to Improve Coproducing Climate Science

January 30, 2017

People who manage natural and cultural resources or those who make decisions about those resources are increasingly in need of usable climate change information. However, just producing more data is not always the best approach. Information that will be the most useful to managers and decision-makers needs to apply directly to their situation and be at relevant spatial and temporal scales. To address this need, some researchers have involved the end users of their research in a collaborative process - often called the "coproduction of knowledge," but also known as "... Read more

New Scenario Planning for Climate Adaptation Website

January 12, 2017

Decision-makers and managers are increasingly being asked to make decisions in the context of uncertainty, with climate change adding new sources of complexity. Scenario planning is being used as means of providing managers with insights into options for responding appropriately to change in the near and long term. The increasing use of scenario planning prompts some questions, such as:

  • What is the state-of-the-art in scenario development?
  • How can uncertainty within scenarios be communicated effectively to stakeholders and what types of scenarios are appropriate... Read more