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The Climate Impacts Group: The Climate Impacts Group: Climate Information and Decision-making in the Pacific Northwest Lara Whitely Binder Center for Science.

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Presentation on theme: "The Climate Impacts Group: The Climate Impacts Group: Climate Information and Decision-making in the Pacific Northwest Lara Whitely Binder Center for Science."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Climate Impacts Group: The Climate Impacts Group: Climate Information and Decision-making in the Pacific Northwest Lara Whitely Binder Center for Science in the Earth System Climate Impacts Group University of Washington September 22, 2004 Climate Science in the Public Interest

2 The Climate Impacts Group  Water Resources  Aquatic Resources  Forests  Coasts  [Human Health]  [Agriculture] Climate Variability past variations and their impacts ability of institutions to respond to extremes Climate Change regional consequences of global warming adaptation/vulnerability to climate change Increase regional resilience to the impacts of climate variability and change Produce science useful to the decision-making community OBJECTIVES SECTORS SCOPE of WORK

3 How Does CIG Support Planning for Climate Variability and Change?

4 Supporting Adaptation Through… …Research  Investigating spatially-relevant sensitivity to climate variability and change. Ex: ENSO impacts on PNW snowpack.  Provides the foundation for decision-support and outreach activities …Decision-support tools  Designed to facilitate use of climate information in operations and planning …Outreach  Designed to provide regular dialogue between the CIG and the stakeholder community

5 New CIG Web Site CIG web site redesigned to better serve as a planning resource Includes information on:  PNW climate variability and change  Climate impacts  Forecasts and planning tools  Meetings and workshops  CIG publications

6 Supporting Adaptation: Decision-support Tools

7 CIG Decision-Support Tools: Climate Variability Seasonal climate outlook Long-lead (1 year) climate-based streamflow forecast for the Columbia River and Snake River systems. Expanding to western U.S. Six-month lead time reservoir forecasts tools (under development) Oregon Coastal Coho salmon survival forecasts Extreme events forecasting Designed to help with management on seasonal to interannual time scales. Main “products”:

8 Seasonal Climate Outlook Interpreting global ENSO forecasts and PDO state for PNW (temperature, precipitation). Excerpt of the Fall 2004 - Winter 2005 forecast: Tropical Pacific now: The tropical Pacific has been slightly warmer than normal for several months, and is expected to continue so, with a chance that a weak El Niño event will occur this winter. (See the Climate Prediction Center's discussion.) What will it mean for the Northwest in coming months? With little forecasting help from the tropical Pacific, the odds for precipitation are roughly normal for the next year. The odds for temperature are also normal until winter, when above-average temperatures become more likely - a reflection largely of recent trends toward warmer weather (e.g., 8 of the last 10 winters have been at least 1°F warmer than "normal" in Washington state).Climate Predictionprecipitation temperature Available on CIG, WA State Climatologist web sites ( ). Lets resource managers begin hedging risks based on historically observed responses to ENSO and PDO.

9 Long-lead Streamflow Forecasts Long-lead Streamflow Forecasts -- Forecast may affect reservoir mgmt, hydro production, instream flow management choices -- Scenarios available for western US. Updated monthly. -- Scenarios available on the CIG’s web site. Climate Forecast Estimated Initial Conditions Forecast Ensemble Lead time = 12 months Warm ENSO Only

10 Developing six-month forecasts for municipal water supplies in the Puget Sound area using NCEP forecasts  Streamflow forecast  Reservoir storage forecast  Demand forecasts Municipal Reservoir Forecasts

11 Construct Forecasting Systems: Salmon Returns Coastal Ocean Conditions Sea surface temperatures Sea level Nearshore winds Oregon coho salmon survival SpringFallWinterSummer Fishery Run-size forecast (using obs’d conditions) Run-size forecast (using SST forecast) Plankton surveys Jack returns Harvest & allocation decisions (February)

12 Experimental 7-14 day extreme weather event risk assessment forecasts available for the PNW. Available for region or by specific stations. Based on observed relationships between the probability of certain extreme weather events in the US and variations in Pacific North American atmospheric circulation pattern.  Ex: PNW locations 2-4 times more likely to experience an extremely high daily maximum temperature on positive vs. negative PNA days, depending on location Forecasts include probabilities for:  Extreme warm/cold days, days with extremely high precip, heavy snowfall events Extreme Events Forecasting

13 CIG Decision-Support Tools: Climate Change Climate change impact scenarios Client-based research consultancies Climate change streamflow scenarios tool Technical planning assistance Designed to help managers evaluate and respond to projected climate change impacts. Research focused on the 2020s and 2040s. Main “products”:

14 Temperature and Precipitation Scenarios Projected changes in average annual PNW temperature and precipitation for the decades of the 2020s and 2040s Providing range of projections allows for risk management (i.e., “what if” scenarios) 2020sTemperaturePrecipitation Low+ 0.9 °F+ 2 % Mean+ 2.7 °F+ 7% High+ 4.7 °F+ 14 % 2040sTemperaturePrecipitation Low+ 2.7 °F- 3 % Mean+ 4.1 °F+ 7% High+ 5.8°F+ 14 % Available on the CIG’s web site: Based on an average of 8 global climate models driven by an increase in equivalent CO 2 of 1% per year. Benchmarked to the decade of the 1990s.

15 Changes in April 1 snowpack available at basin and sub-basin levels Scenarios for April 1 Snowpack Current Climate -44%-58% “2020s” (+3°F)“2040s” (+4.5°F) Contact the CIG for availability

16 Client-based Research Consultancies City of Portland (2002) Tualatin River Basin (2004) Seattle Public Utilities (2004)

17 Climate Change Streamflow Scenario Tool for the Columbia River Basin Water policy workshops have highlighted the need to inject climate change information into existing river basin planning activities and to provide free access to streamflow scenarios. Available at: Partners: Northwest Power and Conservation Council Idaho Dept of Water Resources

18 Supporting Adaptation: Outreach

19 Promotes regional understanding of climate impacts in PNW water resource management. Activities include:  Workshops and meetings  Presentations and briefings  One-on-one technical assistance  Work with the local media  Web site development and maintenance Provides opportunity for feedback from the stakeholder community Outreach

20 Technical Assistance for Watershed Planning  Building a foundation and forging relationships with state staff and local planning units  Developing language for use in planning documentation  Developing GIS-based maps of watershed-scale impacts Information about climate variability and change need to be translated for and delivered to the watershed level. Initial focus on WA; expanding to OR, ID

21 Meetings and Workshops Sector-specific meetings with technical resource staff and senior decision makers:  Climate Impacts on Salmon Management and Recovery in the Columbia River Basin (9.21.04)  Fall climate and water forecast meetings (WA/OR and ID)  Climate and water policy meetings (2001, 2002) 2005: expansion of salmon and coastal work CIG available to give presentations at meetings, agencies, etc.

22 Mapping PNW Climate: GIS Tool CIG is developing a GIS tool for delivering sub- regionally based information on climate and climate impacts Mapping past and future patterns of PNW climate. Also mapping of future climate scenarios. Data layers include:  Vegetation/Land Cover  Soils  Ownership  Political Boundaries  Elevation  Hydrography (Rivers/Lakes)  Coastline  Watershed Boundaries

23 Early GIS Products Available for Columbia River basin Streamflow and snowpack maps being developed for Washington State watersheds on pilot basis Will be available on CIG website

24 CIG is available to assist in planning activities  Research General as well as consultancy-based research  Decision-support products Forecasts Climate change scenarios  Outreach Technical assistant Meetings and workshops

25 For More Information or Assistance…. Please contact Lara Whitely Binder UW Climate Impacts Group 206-616-5349 Climate Science in the Public Interest

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