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Hawaiʻi is considered a worldwide biodiversity hotspot, with nearly 90 percent of its native plants found nowhere else in the world. However, about half of these native plants are imperiled by threats including human development, non-native species, and climate change. Through this project, scientists modeled the relative vulnerability of over 1,000 native plant species to the effects of climate change. A panel of experts in Hawaiian plant species assisted with the development of the model and verified its results. From the model, researchers were able to develop a vulnerability score for each plant species and identify categories of species with high, medium, and low vulnerability to climate change. This information...
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The Jago, Okpilak, and Hulahula rivers in the Arctic are heavily glaciated waterways that are important for fish and wildlife as well as human activities including the provision of food, recreation, and, potentially, resource extraction on the coastal plain. If current glacial melting trends continue, most of the ice in these rivers will disappear in the next 50-100 years. Because of their importance to human and natural communities, it is critical to understand how these rivers and their surrounding environments will be affected by climate change and glacier loss. The overarching goal of this project was to research (1) the amount of river water, sediment, nutrients, and organic matter in the Jago, Okpilak, and...
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Cheatgrass began invading the Great Basin about 100 years ago, changing large parts of the landscape from a rich, diverse ecosystem to one where a single invasive species dominates. Cheatgrass dominated areas experience more fires that burn more land than in native ecosystems, resulting in economic and resource losses. Therefore, the reduced production, or absence, of cheatgrass in previously invaded areas during years of adequate precipitation could be seen as a windfall. However, this cheatgrass dieoff phenomenon creates other problems for land managers like accelerated soil erosion, loss of early spring food supply for livestock and wildlife, and unknown recovery pathways. We used satellite data and scientific...
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Maintaining the native prairie lands of the Northern Great Plains (NGP), which provide an important habitat for declining grassland species, requires anticipating the effects of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations and climate change on the region’s vegetation. Specifically, climate change threatens NGP grasslands by increasing the potential encroachment of native woody species into areas where they were previously only present in minor numbers. This project used a dynamic vegetation model to simulate vegetation type (grassland, shrubland, woodland, and forest) for the NGP for a range of projected future climates and relevant management scenarios. Comparing results of these simulations illustrates...
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In southwestern Colorado, land managers anticipate the impacts of climate change to include higher temperatures, more frequent and prolonged drought, accelerated snowmelt, larger and more intense fires, more extreme storms, and the spread of invasive species. These changes put livelihoods, ecosystems, and species at risk. Focusing on communities in southwestern Colorado’s San Juan and Gunnison river basins, this project will expand opportunities for scientists, land managers, and affected residents to identify actions that can support resilience and adaptation in the face of changing climate conditions. This project builds on the project “Building Social and Ecological Resilience to Climate Change in southwestern...
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One of the biggest challenges facing resource managers today is not knowing exactly when, where, or how climate change effects will unfold. To help federal land managers address this need, the North Central CASC has been working with the National Park Service to pioneer an approach for incorporating climate science and scenario planning into NPS planning processes, in particular Resource Stewardship Strategies (RSS). These strategies serve as a long-range planning tool for a national park unit to achieve its desired natural and cultural resource conditions, and are used to guide a park’s full spectrum of resource-specific management plans and day-to-day management activities. To support adaptation planning within...
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Natural and cultural resource managers across the country have begun to use a tool known as "scenario planning" to help prepare for climate change effects that may unfold in the future. In this process, scientific projections are used to identify different plausible, relevant, and divergent climate conditions for a particular area, and then through a participatory process, scientists and resource managers develop "scenarios" which describe the implications of these different conditions for resources and management. The North Central CASC has been working with the National Park Service (NPS) Climate Change Response Program (CCRP) to encourage and support national parks in incorporating climate science and scenario...
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With joint funding from the North Central Climate Science Center (NC CSC) and NASA's Earth Science Applied Sciences Program, the NC CSC supports resource managers and their decision process through its Resource for Vulnerability Assessment, Adaptation and Mitigation Planning (ReVAMP), a collaborative research/planning effort supported by high performance computing and modeling resources. The NC CSC focuses primarily on climate data as input to the ReVAMP. In this project the NASA DEVELOP program was used to evaluate how remote sensing data sets can contribute to the ecological response models that are implemented in the ReVAMP system. This work demonstrates the utility of remote sensing in vulnerability assessment...
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Federal land managers need an adaptive management framework to accommodate changing conditions and that allows them to effectively link the appropriate science to natural resource management decision-making across jurisdictional boundaries. FRAME-SIMPPLLE is a collaborative modeling process designed to accomplish this goal by coupling the adaptive capabilities of the SIMPPLLE modeling system with accepted principles of collaboration. The two essential components of the process are FRAME (Framing Research in support of the Adaptive Management of Ecosystems), which creates a collaborative problem-solving environment, and SIMPPLLE (SIMulating Patterns and Processes at Landscape Scales), which is a vegetation dynamics...
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Streamflow in the Colorado River is heavily influenced by high-elevation snowpack. Warming temperatures in spring can reduce snow-fed flows, with serious implications for the water supplies that support communities and wildlife. While it is already well-known that precipitation has a significant influence on river flow, recent observations suggest that temperature and the amount of water in soil may also influence streamflow. In the face of a changing climate, it is important that resource managers understand how factors such as changing temperatures and precipitation will affect this vital water source. To address this need, researchers are examining records of streamflow, temperature, soil moisture, and precipitation...
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Scientists, planners, policy makers and other decision-makers in the South Central U.S. want to understand the potential impacts of changes in climate, precipitation, and land-use patterns on natural and cultural resources. Though the potential impacts of climate change can be modeled to help decision-makers plan for future conditions, these models rarely incorporate changes in land-use that may occur. Climate change and land-use change are often linked, as shifts in precipitation and temperature can alter patterns in human land-use activities, such as agriculture. This project sought to address this gap by developing new software tools that enable stakeholders to quickly develop custom, climate-sensitive land-use...
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Problem The Village of Dryden, rural homeowners, farms, and businesses in the Virgil Creek Valley tap several confined sand and gravel aquifers in the Virgil Creek valley in the town of Dryden . The valley contains a large moraine with complex stratigraphy consisting of continuous and discontinuous layers of till, lake deposits, and glaciofluvial sand and gravel. Sand and gravel units form the aquifers in the valley-fill deposits. There are at least three extensive confined aquifer units at various depths. However, little is known about (1) the location of recharge and discharge areas, (2) direction of groundwater flow, (3) extent of hydraulic connection between aquifer units, and (4) extent of surface- and ground-water...
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Title IV has been successful in reducing emissions of SO2 and NOx from power generation to the levels set by Congress. In fact, by 2009, SO2 emissions from power plants were already 3.25 million tons lower than the final 2010 cap level of 8.95 million tons, and NOx emissions were 6.1 million tons less than the projected level in 2000 without the ARP, or more than triple the Title IV NOx emission-reduction objective. As a result of these emission reductions, air quality has improved, providing significant human health benefits, and acid deposition has decreased to the extent that some acid-sensitive areas are beginning to show signs of recovery. Current emission reductions and the passage of time, which is needed...
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A limited amount of valid scientific information about global climate change and its detrimental impacts has reached the public and exerted a positive impact on the public policy process or future planning for adaptation and mitigation. This project was designed to address this limitation by bringing together expertise in the social and communication sciences from targeted academic institutions affiliated with the Department of the Interior’s Climate Science Centers (CSCs) through a workshop. The project team brought together expertise in the social and communication sciences from targeted academic institutions, particularly experts and scholars who are affiliated with the nation’s CSCs, by means of an invited...
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The sky island forests of the southwestern United States are one of the most diverse temperate forest ecosystems in the world, providing key habitat for migrating and residential species alike. Black bear, bighorn sheep, mule deer, and wild turkey are just a few of the species found in these isolated mountain ecosystems that rise out of the desert landscape. However, recent droughts have crippled these ecosystems, causing significant tree death. Climate predictions suggest that this region will only face hotter and drier conditions in the future, potentially stressing these ecosystems even further. Simple models predict that vegetation will move to cooler and wetter locations in response to this warming. However,...
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The South Central U.S. encompasses a wide range of ecosystem types and precipitation patterns. Average annual precipitation is less than 10 inches in northwest New Mexico but can exceed 60 inches further east in Louisiana. Much of the region relies on warm-season convective precipitation – that is, highly localized brief but intense periods of rainfall that are common in the summer. This type of precipitation is a significant driver of climate and ecosystem function in the region, but it is also notoriously difficult to predict since it occurs at such small spatial and temporal scales. While global climate models are helpful for understanding and predicting large-scale precipitation trends, they often do not capture...
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The South Central U.S. is one of the main agricultural regions in North America: annual agricultural production is valued at more than $44 billion dollars. However, as climate conditions change, the region is experiencing more frequent and severe droughts, with significant impacts on agriculture and broader consequences for land management. For example, in 2011 drought caused an estimated $7.6 billion in agricultural losses in Texas and an additional $1.6 billion in Oklahoma. Although there are many drought monitoring tools available, most of these tools were developed without input from the stakeholders, such as farmers and ranchers, who are intended to use them. The goal of this project was to assess the information...
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The threat of droughts and their associated impacts on the landscape and human communities has long been recognized in the United States, especially in high risk areas such as the South Central region. There is ample literature on the effects of long-term climate change and short-term climate variability on the occurrence of droughts. However, it is unclear whether this information meets the needs of relevant stakeholders and actually contributes to reducing the vulnerability or increasing the resilience of communities to droughts. For example, are the methods used to characterize the severity of drought – known as drought indices – effective tools for predicting the actual damage felt by communities? As droughts...
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The Department of the Interior and the U.S. Geological Survey have made it a priority to train the next generation of scientists and resource managers. The Climate Adaptation Science Centers (CASCs) and consortium institutions are working to contribute to this initiative by building and supporting a network of students across the country who are interested in the climate sciences and climate adaptation. The purpose of this project was to support the development of a national early career communication platform to facilitate and increase information sharing and networking across the CASCs and consortium institutions. This was accomplished by working with the Early Career Climate Forum (ECCF), a CASC-supported science...
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Social scientists funded through the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center (NCCWSC) and the Climate Science Centers (CSCs) have an obligation to provide access to their climate science related research data. We suspect, as with other data types, that tools for creating and editing social science metadata specific to the climate science domain and linking the metadata to the actual data either do not exist or are non-intuitive for scientists. Through our research we sought to verify whether any definitive metadata tool for social scientists working in the climate science domain exists. We also sought to determine whether a commonly agreed upon social science metadata standard exists. We suspect that...


map background search result map search result map Modeling Effects of Climate Change on Cheatgrass Die-Off Areas in the Northern Great Basin Using a Collaborative Modeling Approach to Explore Climate and Landscape Change in the Northern Rockies and Inform Adaptive Management Projecting the Future Encroachment of Woody Vegetation into Grasslands of the Northern Great Plains by Simulating Climate Conditions and Possible Management Actions Regional Short- and Long-term Climate Impacts on Northern Rocky Mountain and Great Plains Ecosystems Building Capacity within the CSC Network to Effectively Deliver and Communicate Science to Resource Managers and Planners The Impacts of Glacier Change on the Jago, Okpilak, and Hulahula Rivers in the Arctic Establishing Climate Change Vulnerability Rankings for Hawaiian Native Plants Predicting Sky Island Forest Vulnerability to Climate Change: Fine Scale Climate Variability, Drought Tolerance, and Fire Response Improving Representation of Extreme Precipitation Events in Regional Climate Models Community Resilience to Drought Hazard: An Analysis of Drought Exposure, Impacts, and Adaptation in the South Central U.S. Developing Effective Drought Monitoring Tools for Farmers and Ranchers in the South Central U.S. Examining the Influence of Temperature and Precipitation on Colorado River Water Resources: Reconstructing the Past to Understand the Future Supporting Social Scientists working with the CSCs in Data Sharing Efforts Supporting Early Career Climate Communications and Networking National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program Report to Congress 2011: An Integrated Assessment Hydrogeology of the Virgil Creek Valley in the Town of Dryden, Tompkins County, New York Building a Decision-Support Tool for Assessing the Impacts of Climate and Land Use  Change on Ecological Processes Building Social and Ecological Resilience to Climate Change in Southwestern Colorado: Phase 2 Refining Guidance for Incorporating Climate Science and Scenario Planning into National Park Service Resource Stewardship Strategies Supporting the National Park Service in Climate Adaptation Planning Hydrogeology of the Virgil Creek Valley in the Town of Dryden, Tompkins County, New York Refining Guidance for Incorporating Climate Science and Scenario Planning into National Park Service Resource Stewardship Strategies Predicting Sky Island Forest Vulnerability to Climate Change: Fine Scale Climate Variability, Drought Tolerance, and Fire Response Building Social and Ecological Resilience to Climate Change in Southwestern Colorado: Phase 2 Modeling Effects of Climate Change on Cheatgrass Die-Off Areas in the Northern Great Basin Establishing Climate Change Vulnerability Rankings for Hawaiian Native Plants The Impacts of Glacier Change on the Jago, Okpilak, and Hulahula Rivers in the Arctic Examining the Influence of Temperature and Precipitation on Colorado River Water Resources: Reconstructing the Past to Understand the Future Projecting the Future Encroachment of Woody Vegetation into Grasslands of the Northern Great Plains by Simulating Climate Conditions and Possible Management Actions Building Capacity within the CSC Network to Effectively Deliver and Communicate Science to Resource Managers and Planners Improving Representation of Extreme Precipitation Events in Regional Climate Models Community Resilience to Drought Hazard: An Analysis of Drought Exposure, Impacts, and Adaptation in the South Central U.S. Building a Decision-Support Tool for Assessing the Impacts of Climate and Land Use  Change on Ecological Processes Using a Collaborative Modeling Approach to Explore Climate and Landscape Change in the Northern Rockies and Inform Adaptive Management Regional Short- and Long-term Climate Impacts on Northern Rocky Mountain and Great Plains Ecosystems Supporting the National Park Service in Climate Adaptation Planning Developing Effective Drought Monitoring Tools for Farmers and Ranchers in the South Central U.S. National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program Report to Congress 2011: An Integrated Assessment Supporting Social Scientists working with the CSCs in Data Sharing Efforts Supporting Early Career Climate Communications and Networking