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A warming climate, fire exclusion, and land cover changes are altering the conditions that produced historical fire regimes and facilitating increased recent wildfire activity in the northwestern United States. Understanding the impacts of changing fire regimes on forest recruitment and succession, species distributions, carbon cycling, and ecosystem services is critical, but challenging across broad spatial scales. One important and understudied aspect of fire regimes is the unburned area within fire perimeters; these areas can function as fire refugia across the landscape during and after wildfire by providing habitat and seed sources. With increasing fire activity, there is speculation that fire intensity and...
Abstract (from http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11069-016-2376-z): Drought is among the most insidious types of natural disasters and can have devastating economic and human health impacts. This research analyzes the relationship between two readily accessible drought indices—the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) and Palmer Hydrologic Drought Index (PHDI)—and the damage incurred by such droughts in terms of monetary loss, over the 1975–2010 time period on monthly basis, for five states in the south-central USA. Because drought damage in the Spatial Hazards Events and Losses Database for the United States (SHELDUS™) is reported at the county level, statistical downscaling techniques were used to estimate...
Abstract (from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/gdj3.47/abstract): Two datasets of soil temperature observations collected at Norman, Oklahoma, USA, were analysed to study horizontal and vertical variability in their observations. The first dataset comprised 15-min resolution soil temperature observations from 20 September 2011 to 18 November 2013 in seven plots across a 10-m transect. In each plot, sensors were located at depths of 5, 10, and 30 cm. All seven plots observed fairly consistent maximum soil temperature observations during the spring, fall, and winter months. Starting in late May, the observed spread in soil temperatures across the 10-m transect increased significantly until August when the...
Wildfire refugia are forest patches that are minimally-impacted by fire and provide critical habitats for fire-sensitive species and seed sources for post-fire forest regeneration. Wildfire refugia are relatively understudied, particularly concerning the impacts of subsequent fires on existing refugia. We opportunistically re-visited 122 sites classified in 1994 for a prior fire refugia study, which were burned by two wildfires in 2012 in the Cascade mountains of central Washington, USA. We evaluated the fire effects for historically persistent fire refugia and compared them to the surrounding non-refugial forest matrix. Of 122 total refugial (43 plots) and non-refugial (79 plots) sites sampled following the 2012...
This management brief summarizes the results of a project evaluating the scientific body of research on climate adaptation actions relevant to ecological drought. This adaptation science assessment evaluated strategies developed and prioritized by participants at regional adaptation workshops by synthesizing supporting evidence from the literature. The brief presents findings on the benefits and limitations of these climate adaptation options from the accompanying report, Extremes to Ex-Streams: Ecological Drought Adaptation in a Changing Climate.
Abstract (from ScienceDirect): The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has developed the PRObability of Streamflow PERmanence (PROSPER) model, a GIS raster-based empirical model that provides streamflow permanence probabilities (probabilistic predictions) of a stream channel having year-round flow for any unregulated and minimally-impaired stream channel in the Pacific Northwest region, U.S. The model provides annual predictions for 2004–2016 at a 30-m spatial resolution based on monthly or annually updated values of climatic conditions and static physiographic variables associated with the upstream basin. Predictions correspond to any pixel on the channel network consistent with the medium resolution National Hydrography...
Abstract (from SpringerOpen): Wildfires in the Pacific Northwest (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and western Montana, USA) have been immense in recent years, capturing the attention of resource managers, fire scientists, and the general public. This paper synthesizes understanding of the potential effects of changing climate and fire regimes on Pacific Northwest forests, including effects on disturbance and stress interactions, forest structure and composition, and post-fire ecological processes. We frame this information in a risk assessment context, and conclude with management implications and future research needs. Large and severe fires in the Pacific Northwest are associated with warm and dry conditions, and such...
Abstract (from http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.3417/2017006): The Earth system is undergoing rapid, profound anthropogenic change. The primary axes of change include not only the climate system, but also the spread of invasive species, altered biogeochemical and hydrological cycles, modified disturbance regimes, and land degradation and conversion. These factors are influencing the distribution of species and the structure and function of ecosystems worldwide, interacting with climatic stressors that may preclude the persistence of many current species distributions and communities. Ecological disturbances such as wildfires and insect outbreaks can interact with climate variability to precipitate abrupt change...
A new method for automatic detection of atmospheric rivers (ARs) is developed and applied to an atmospheric reanalysis, yielding an extensive catalog of ARs land-falling along the west coast of North America during 1948–2017. This catalog provides a large array of variables that can be used to examine AR cases and their climate-scale variability in exceptional detail. The new record of AR activity, as presented, validated and examined here, provides a perspective on the seasonal cycle and the interannual-interdecadal variability of AR activity affecting the hydroclimate of western North America. Importantly, AR intensity does not exactly follow the climatological pattern of AR frequency. Strong links to hydroclimate...
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To assess the current topography of the tidal marshes we conducted survey-grade elevation surveys at all sites between 2009 and 2013 using a Leica RX1200 Real Time Kinematic (RTK)Global Positioning System (GPS) rover (±1 cm horizontal, ±2 cm vertical accuracy; Leica Geosystems Inc., Norcross, GA; Figure 4). At sites with RTK network coverage (San Pablo, Petaluma, Pt. Mugu, and Newport), rover positions were received in real time from the Leica Smartnet system via a CDMA modem (www.lecia-geosystems.com). At sites without network coverage (Humboldt, Bolinas, Morro and Tijuana), rover positions were received in real time from a Leica GS10 antenna base station via radio link. When using the base station, we adjusted...
Abstract (from AGU 100): This study investigates snowmelt and streamflow responses to cloudiness variability across the mountainous parts of the western United States. Twenty years (1996–2015) of Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite‐derived cloud cover indices (CC) with 4‐km spatial and daily temporal resolutions are used as a proxy for cloudiness. The primary driver of nonseasonal fluctuations in daily mean solar insolation is the fluctuating cloudiness. We find that CC fluctuations are related to snowmelt and snow‐fed streamflow fluctuations, to some extent (correlations of <0.5). Multivariate linear regression models of daily snowmelt (MELT) and streamflow (ΔQ) variations are constructed for each...
There is growing evidence that the rate of warming is amplified with elevation, such that high-mountain environments experience more rapid changes in temperature than environments at lower elevations. Elevation-dependent warming (EDW) can accelerate the rate of change in mountain ecosystems, cryospheric systems, hydrological regimes and biodiversity. Here we review important mechanisms that contribute towards EDW: snow albedo and surface-based feedbacks; water vapour changes and latent heat release; surface water vapour and radiative flux changes; surface heat loss and temperature change; and aerosols. All lead to enhanced warming with elevation (or at a critical elevation), and it is believed that combinations...
Climate policy developers and natural resource managers frequently desire high-resolution climate data to prepare for future effects of climate change. But they face a long-standing problem: the vast majority of climate models have been run at coarse resolutions—from hundreds of kilometers in global climate models (GCMs) down to 25–50 kilometers in regional climate models (RCMs).
Abstract (from http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0174045): Several studies have projected increases in drought severity, extent and duration in many parts of the world under climate change. We examine sources of uncertainty arising from the methodological choices for the assessment of future drought risk in the continental US (CONUS). One such uncertainty is in the climate models’ expression of evaporative demand (E0), which is not a direct climate model output but has been traditionally estimated using several different formulations. Here we analyze daily output from two CMIP5 GCMs to evaluate how differences in E0 formulation, treatment of meteorological driving data, choice of GCM,...
Abstract (from ESA): Estimating population size and resource selection functions (RSFs) are common approaches in applied ecology for addressing wildlife conservation and management objectives. Traditionally such approaches have been undertaken separately with different sources of data. Spatial capture–recapture (SCR) provides a hierarchical framework for jointly estimating density and multi‐scale resource selection, and data integration techniques provide opportunities for improving inferences from SCR models. Despite the added benefits, there have been few applications of SCR‐RSF integration, potentially due to complexities of specifying and fitting such models. Here, we extend a previous integrated SCR‐RSF model...
Climate change is affecting species and ecosystems across the Northeast and Midwest U.S. Natural resource managers looking to maintain ecological function and species persistence have requested information to improve resource management in the face of climate change. Leveraging the research that has already been supported by the Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center and its partners, this project used the latest modeling techniques combined with robust field data to examine the impact of specific climate variables, land use change, and species interactions on the future distribution and abundance of species of conservation concern. An interdisciplinary team worked to understand the mechanisms that are driving...
Abstract (from ScienceDirect): Paleohydrologic records can provide unique, long-term perspectives on streamflow variability and hydroclimate for use in water resource planning. Such long-term records can also play a key role in placing both present day events and projected future conditions into a broader context than that offered by instrumental observations. However, relative to other major river basins across the western United States, a paucity of streamflow reconstructions has to date prevented the full application of such paleohydrologic information in the Upper Missouri River Basin. Here we utilize a set of naturalized streamflow records for the Upper Missouri and an expanded network of tree-ring records...


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