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Foundational Science Area: Developing Climate Change Understanding and Resources for Adaptation in the North Central U.S.

Building our Foundational Understanding on Primary Climate Drivers (2014-2016)


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In the North Central U.S., drought is a dominant driver of ecological, economic, and social stress. Drought conditions have occurred in the region due to lower precipitation, extended periods of high temperatures and evaporative demand, or a combination of these factors. This project aimed to improve our understanding of drought in the North Central region and determine what future droughts might look like over the 21st century, as climate conditions change. Researchers evaluated, with the intent to improve, available and emerging data on climate conditions that influence drought (such as changes in temperature, precipitation, evaporative demand, snow and soil moisture), as well as datasets related to the surface water balance (such [...]

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Funding Agency :
North Central CSC
Principal Investigator :
Imtiaz Rangwala
Project Team :
Candida Dewes
CMS Group :
Climate Adaptation Science Centers (CASC) Program

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“Pronghorn, Wyoming - Credit: USFWS”
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The Foundational Science Team identifies and addresses climate science challenges that are important for ecologists and land managers in the North Central region. Drought is a dominant driver of ecological, economic, and social stress in the region, and is expected to be a major mode in which the impacts of climate change will be manifested in the region. The specific goal of this project is to improve the understanding of drought, and in particular to improve the climatic data (temperature, soil moisture, and other aspects of the water balance) that is being used to make projections of future ecological conditions in the regions. We will work to translate this scientific knowledge and data so that it is useful for land managers through the development of future drought scenarios that are supported by the quantitative data and tailored to the needs of the different landscapes within our region.

Project Extension

typeTechnical Summary
valueIn order to understand how climate change will affect the ecosystems of the North Central Region, it is essential to imaprove our ability to understand, measure and model the surface water balance, and how that balance might change over the next several decades to a century. Particular focus will be paid to improving the datasets and methods regarding evapotranspiration, and in particular the proper physically-based calculation of potential evapotranspiration (PET). This will include developing a better understanding of the drivers of long-term change in evaporative demand. The main integrative focus of all three Foundational Areas will be on the role drought in the region, both as a present-day stressor, but also a way in which climate change will likely be manifested. The work will include a) evaluation climate conditions in different regions of the North Central domain which would lead to drought conditions (e.g., extended heat conditions, extended periods of low precipitation, or a combination of both) and the large-scale climate drivers of these local conditions, b) evaluation of climate products that are related to the surface water balance and drought (for example, evapotranspiration and streamflow projections), and c) synthesis of existing information on drivers of drought in the North Central domain for use in adaptation. Through close work with the Impacts Team (Hansen), we will provide guidance and evaluation of climate products for ecological modeling, particularly for the forests and grasslands modeling efforts. Through close work with the Adaptation and Vulnerability Team (Ojima/McNeeley) we will develop and provide narrative drought scenarios of relevance for the various DRAI study areas. This includes work on evaluation and integration of existing and novel data products into the ReVAMP resource. The proposal consists of a common introduction to the objectives of the three Foundational Science teams, a proposal body specific to the goals of the Climate team, and a common section describing the collaboration strategies that will integrate the activities of the three teams.
typeFY 14 Grant

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Additional Information


Type Scheme Key
RegistrationUUID NCCWSC 222e7427-f2bc-4491-981f-3d100ed31616
StampID NCCWSC NC14-MJ0058

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