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This project consisted of two principal components: (1) A climatological analysis of burn conditions (2) A forum to discuss fire risk and management practices The climatological study included seasonality and inter-annual variability and potential changes due to increasing temperatures. The regional forum engaged stakeholders in a discussion of the use of prescribed fire in a safe and effective manner.
These videos were recorded as part of an online interactive course titled "Managing for a Changing Climate", offered by the University of Oklahoma. The course is free and available worldwide for anyone with an internet connection through the Janux platform. Course content and assignments provide students with an integrative understanding of the climate system, the role of natural variability in the climate system, external drivers of climate change, and the implications of climactic shifts for natural and cultural resources. Resources managers, tribal environmental professionals, staff and students at other Climate Science Centers and Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, and members of the general public can participate...
Climate, sea level rise, and urbanization are undergoing unprecedented levels of combined change and are expected to have large effects on natural resources—particularly along the Gulf of Mexico coastline (Gulf Coast). Management decisions to address these effects (i.e., adaptation) require an understanding of the relative vulnerability of various resources to these stressors. To meet this need, the four Landscape Conservation Cooperatives along the Gulf partnered with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance to conduct this Gulf Coast Vulnerability Assessment (GCVA). Vulnerability in this context incorporates the aspects of exposure and sensitivity to threats, coupled with the adaptive capacity to mitigate those threats. Potential...
The Gulf Coast Vulnerability Assessment (GCVA or “Assessment”) is a collaborative effort to evaluate the vulnerability of four key ecosystems and eleven associated species to the effects of climate change, sea level rise, and land use change across the U.S. portion of the Gulf of Mexico. It is designed to inform land managers, researchers, and decision makers about the relative vulnerability across individual species and ecosystems and how that vulnerability varies spatially across the Gulf region for each. The GCVA is a qualitative assessment that compiles the expert opinions of managers, scientists, administrators, and others. The results presented herein represent informed opinions of the experts engaged, 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...
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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 seeks to address this gap by developing new software tools that enable stakeholders to quickly develop custom, climate-sensitive land-use...
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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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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 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 is to assess the information...
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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 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,...
Abstract (From http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JHM-D-15-0062.1): Over mountainous terrain, ground weather radars face limitations in monitoring surface precipitation as they are affected by radar beam blockages along with the range-dependent biases due to beam broadening and increase in altitude with range. These issues are compounded by precipitation structures that are relatively shallow and experience growth at low levels due to orographic enhancement. To improve surface precipitation estimation, researchers at the University of Oklahoma have demonstrated the benefits of integrating the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Precipitation Radar (PR) products into the ground-based NEXRAD rainfall...
This webinar is part of a series featuring South Central Climate Science Center researchers studying the Rio Grande, a critical water resource for people and wildlife. Learn more at southcentralclimate.org and view the other webinars in this series here.
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The threat of droughts and their associated impacts on the landscape and human communities have long been recognized in the United States, especially in high risk areas such as the southcentral region. This project examines whether existing drought indices can predict the occurrence of drought events and their actual damages, how the adaptive capacity (i.e., resilience) varies across space, and what public outreach and engagement effort would be most effective for mitigation of risk and impacts. The study region includes all 503 counties in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. This data set was created to assess the community resilience to the drought hazards using the Resilience Inference Measurement...
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This dataset contains the result of the bioclimatic-envelope modeling of the two reptile species -- Rio Grande Cooter (Pseudemys gorzugi) and Gray-Checkered Whiptail (Aspidoscelis dixoni) -- in the South Central US using the downscaled data provided by WorldClim. We used five species distribution models (SDM) including Generalized Linear Model, Random Forest, Boosted Regression Tree, Maxent, and Multivariate Adaptive Regression Splines (MARS) and ensembles to develop the present day distributions of the species based on climate-driven models alone. We then projected future distributions of the species using data from four climate models: Community Climate System Model version 4 (CCSM4), Hadley Centre Global Environment...
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This dataset contains the result of the bioclimatic-envelope modeling of the three amphibian species -- the Sacramento Mountain Salamander (Aneides hardii), the Jemez Mountains Salamander (Plethodon neomexicanus), and the Chiricahua Leopard Frog (Lithobates chiricahuensis) -- in the South Central US using the downscaled data provided by WorldClim. We used five species distribution models (SDM) including Generalized Linear Model, Random Forest, Boosted Regression Tree, Maxent, and Multivariate Adaptive Regression Splines (MARS) and ensembles to develop the present day distributions of the species based on climate-driven models alone. We then projected future distributions of the species using data from four climate...


map background search result map search result map Building Capacity within the CSC Network to Effectively Deliver and Communicate Science to Resource Managers and Planners 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. Building a Decision-Support Tool for Assessing the Impacts of Climate and Land Use  Change on Ecological Processes Projected future bioclimate-envelope suitability for amphibian species in South Central USA Combined county-level drought incidence, damage, and census data Projected future bioclimate-envelope suitability for reptile species in South Central USA Predicting Sky Island Forest Vulnerability to Climate Change: Fine Scale Climate Variability, Drought Tolerance, and Fire Response Projected future bioclimate-envelope suitability for amphibian species in South Central USA Projected future bioclimate-envelope suitability for reptile species in South Central USA 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 Combined county-level drought incidence, damage, and census data Developing Effective Drought Monitoring Tools for Farmers and Ranchers in the South Central U.S.