February 10, 2014: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced the creation of the USDA Regional Hubs for Risk Adaptation and Mitigation to Climate Change at seven locations around the country. These hubs will address increasing risks such as fires, invasive pests, devastating floods, and crippling droughts on a regional basis, aiming to translate science and research into information to farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners on ways to adapt and adjust their resource management.
- Midwest: National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment, Agricultural Research Service, Ames, Iowa
- Midwest Sub-Hub in Houghton, Mich.
- Northeast: Northern Research Station, Forest Service, Durham, N.H.
- Southeast: Southern Research Station, Forest Service, Raleigh N.C.
- Southeast Sub-Hub in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico
- Northern Plains: National Resources Center, Agricultural Research Service, Fort Collins, Colo.
- Southern Plains: Grazinglands Research Lab, Agricultural Research Service, El Reno, Okla.
- Pacific Northwest: Pacific Northwest Research Station, Forest Service, Corvallis, Ore.
- Southwest: Rangeland Management Unit/Jornada Experimental Range, Agricultural Research Service, Las Cruces, N.M.
- Southwest Sub-hub in Davis, Calif.
The DOI Climate Science Centers look forward to the potential opportunity for collaboration with the new USDA hubs!
February 7, 2014: The DOI Climate Science Centers and the USGS Ecosystems Mission Area are interested in promoting synthesis activities surrounding questions about the implications of climate change effects on Greater sage-grouse and sagebrush habitat in the semi-arid west. They are coordinating with the Powell Center to provide funding for a Working Group on this topic. A working group would synthesize existing climate science as it relates to Greater sage-grouse and the sagebrush habitat that supports the species with a consideration for how climate change may be altering the sagebrush ecosystem. We encourage teams of scientists working at the intersection of climate science and sage brush/sage grouse to consider developing a Powell Center Working Group proposal related to this topic. Information pertaining to the Powell Center can be found at powellcenter.usgs.gov. The deadline for proposals is April 30 for Working Groups starting in FY15. All Powell Center Working Group proposals will be reviewed by the Science Advisory Board. Please refer questions to Jill Baron or Marty Goldhaber (firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com).
February 5, 2014: Yesterday, Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, met with leading scientists and stakeholders to discuss the impacts of climate change on the Pacific Northwest region. At the meeting, Secretary Jewell highlighted Interior’s role in the President’s Climate Action Plan to reduce carbon pollution, move the economy toward cleaner energy sources and prepare communities for the impacts of climate change.
Gustavo Bisbal, Director of the Northwest Climate Science Center attended the roundtable and pointed out how the impacts of climate change on fish, wildlife, and vegetation are also having effects on the cultures of American Indian tribes in the Pacific Northwest.
“Given the broad scale and fundamental transformation we see happening in the natural environment, the Northwest CSC has placed a strong emphasis on exploring the impacts of climate change on the cultural continuity of Native American communities in the Northwest,” said Dr. Bisbal. “Our goal is to provide service that enhances the capacity of these communities to respond and adapt to resource scarcity and environmental forces.”
Other attendees to the roundtable included Dr. Lisa Graumlich, a Prentice and Virginia Bloedel Professor and Dean at the College of the Environment at the University of Washington, Nancy Lee, Deputy Regional Director of the USGS Northwest Region and other USGS scientists; representatives of the Quinault Indian Nation; Sarah Creachbaum, Superintendent of Olympic National Park; Karen Taylor-Goodrich, Superintendent of North Cascades National Park Complex, as well as other Interior and University of Washington officials and scientists.
To read the full DOI News Release about this event, please visit: http://www.doi.gov/news/pressreleases/on-heels-of-president-obamas-state-of-the-union-address-secretary-jewell-leads-roundtable-with-scientists-on-climate-change-impacts-to-the-pacific-northwest.cfm
January 17, 2014: The causes of toxic golden algal blooms in Texas reservoirs are now better understood, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey. Golden alga can produce toxins that are lethal to aquatic animals and cause considerable ecological and environmental damage. Understanding how algal blooms are caused and spread across the landscape can help resource managers prevent future occurrences. The first toxic bloom in North America occurred in the Pecos River, Texas in 1985 and blooms are now common in five river basins in west and central Texas as well as in 22 other states.
The study concluded that in the past, golden algal blooms spread because of human or natural introductions, and climate did not play a role. However, findings suggest that climate change could play a role in future bloom events. Scientists looked at reservoir water quality variables associated with golden algal habitat and toxic blooms since 2001 at 12 reservoirs from two major Texas basins, which include the Brazos and Colorado Rivers. Results identify several water quality variables that appear necessary for the occurrence of golden algal blooms. The full report, published in Harmful Algae, is available online.
"These findings may help resource managers to control future golden algal bloom occurrences by focusing on strategies to minimize anthropogenic transmission and avoid the development of certain water quality conditions," said Reynaldo Patino, USGS scientist and Leader of the Texas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. "This is the first time a large-scale retrospective analysis has been done to probe relationships between water quality and golden algal blooms."
High levels of salinity, sulfate and chloride were found to have the greatest influence on golden alga distribution and bloom formation in inland waters. Climate change could play a major role in future occurrences because the projected rise in temperatures and change in precipitation patterns may lead to higher salinity levels. Higher temperatures could lead to more water evaporating from reservoirs, which can create higher salinity levels.
This study was conducted as a part of the NCCWSC-supported project, "Modeling and Projecting the Influence of Climate Change on Texas Surface Waters and their Aquatic Biotic Communities".
Original press release: http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=3788#.UtmM36Uo5mU
December 30, 2013: The Climate Science Centers (CSCs) and the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center (NCCWSC) were recently featured in the Department of the Interior "This Week at Interior" video on December 20, 2013. The video describes the recent announcement by the Secretary of the Interior on the 2013 Climate Science Center research projects. To view the video, please visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umzTs-MGbuU&feature=youtu.be.
December 20, 2013: David Helweg has been selected as the first permanent director of the U.S. Department of the Interior's Pacific Islands Climate Science Center, headquartered at the University of Hawai'i, Manoa.
Prior to assuming his role leading the Pacific Islands CSC, David Helweg was the deputy director of the USGS Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center for more than ten years. Since 2002, Helweg has put his expertise in multidisciplinary science and experience with strategic program development to work on terrestrial, coastal and nearshore resource management issues. Before joining the USGS, Helweg held positions at the U.S. Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center in San Diego and the University of Auckland in New Zealand. He is an expert in behavioral biology, ecology, bioacoustics and signal processing.
To read the full USGS New Announcement, please visit: http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=3765
December 18, 2013: The Secretary of the Interior has announced the 2013 Climate Science Center (CSC) research projects. The CSCs are awarding nearly $7 million to universities and other partners for research as part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan to reduce carbon pollution, move our economy toward clean energy sources and begin to prepare our communities for the impacts of climate change.
Each of the Department of the Interior's eight Climate Science Centers (CSCs) worked with states, tribes and indigenous communities, federal agencies, Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs), universities supporting the CSCs, and other regional partners to identify the highest priority management challenges in need of scientific input, and to solicit and select research projects.
To see the national announcement from DOI, please visit: http://www.doi.gov/news/pressreleases/interior-announces-funding-for-new-scientific-studies-as-part-of-president-obamas-climate-action-plan.cfm
December 17, 2013: The National Park Service has released the publication Using Scenarios to Explore Climate Change: A Handbook for Practitioners. Developed under the National Park Service Climate Change Response Strategy, this guide is part of an interdisciplinary, cross-cutting approach to addressing climate change. The overall program supports National Park Service efforts to understand climate science in national parks and surrounding areas and to adapt to a changing climate to promote the resiliency of our cultural and natural heritage. Actively engaging ourselves and our audiences in park stewardship is a key ingredient of the climate change communication strategy and an integral component in addressing the effects of climate change.
This handbook describes the five-step process for developing multivariate climate change scenarios taught by the Global Business Network (GBN) during a series of training workshops hosted by the National Park Service in 2010 and 2011. The authors created this guide as a reference for workshop participants who possess some familiarity with scenario planning. The process featured in this manual is not a definitive method for building climate change scenarios, since many valid methods exist to develop climate change scenarios. The technique presented here is just one effective and proven approach.
The handbook can be found here.
December 11, 2013: For the first time, maps and summaries of historical and projected temperature and precipitation changes for the 21st century for the continental U.S. are accessible at a county-by-county level on a website developed by the U.S. Geological Survey in collaboration with the College of Earth, Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University.
The maps and summaries are based on NASA downscaling of the 33 climate models used in the 5th Climate Model Intercomparison Project and the current Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Report. The resulting NASA dataset is on an 800-meter grid with national coverage.
The USGS leveraged this massive dataset and distilled the information into easily understood maps, 3-page summaries and spreadsheet compatible data files for each state and county in the United States. A similar implementation for the USGS nested hydrologic units will be available in the next month.
To learn more, please view the complete USGS release here.
The maps and summaries are available here.
More information about USGS Climate and Land-Use Research is available here.
December 6, 2013: A new paper, "Choosing and Using Climate-Change Scenarios for Ecological-Impact Assessments and Conservation Decisions" examines how to choose from myriad climate scenarios for things like impacts and/or vulnerability assessment. Jeremy Littell, Lead Research Scientist at the Alaska Climate Science Center, co-authored this research.
The guide to climate change scenario use addresses common misperceptions about the utility of climate scenarios for biological assessments and decision making. It presents defensible strategies for choosing and using climate-change scenarios that recognize the irreducible uncertainty of future climate and meet the challenge of developing useful climate information for decision making.
Key take-aways from the paper:
· Understanding the entire system is critical to assessing how a species will fare under changing climate
· Climate change impacts analysis requires information/input from:
1) biologists – understanding of biological response to climate fluctuations
2) climate (impacts) scientists – projections of future changes in important climate-related conditions
3) policymakers – risk tolerance, time horizons, and larger context of associated decisions
To read the paper, please visit: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cobi.12163/abstract