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Upcoming Presentation | Predicting climate change impacts on shallow landslide hazards

In the Western U.S., landslides are a major mechanism of landscape change. Landslides transport sediment to streams, often contributing to damage of downstream infrastructure. Site-specific traits (e.g., slope) control the pre-conditioning of hillslopes to failure, while triggering factors (e.g., rainfall) lead to losses in strength initiating landslides.  There is need to unify geologic and hydroclimatic research to provide regional-scale landslide prediction for resource management and climate adaptation strategies.  This dissertation develops a landslide probabilistic model that derives hillslope inherent and dynamic stability driven by hydrologic simulations from the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) model. 

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Upcoming Presentation | Integrating climate change into fish habitat restoration planning

This presentation will address the improvement in coordination between Clean Water Act compliance, ESA species recovery, and consequences of climate change for place-based Native American Groups. The discussion will update the UW community on the current status of temperature modeling for the South Fork Nooksack TMDL project, and summarize climate change integration into the Nooksack Indian Tribe’s habitat restoration program. 

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Winter was record warm for the contiguous U.S.

A strong El Niño helped fuel a warm and wet winter for the United States.  The average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during winter (December – February) was 4.6°F above the 20th century average, a new record, according to scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.  Alaska had its second warmest winter on record.  The winter precipitation total for the contiguous U.S. was 1.26 inches above the 20th century average, ranking as the 12th wettest winter on record for the Lower 48 states and the wettest since 1997/1998. 

Read more on the NOAA website

Office of the Washington State Climatologist March newsletter is released

The OWSC Newsletter contains information on the current state of Washington’s climate, including the current outlook and a review of notable climate and weather events. Topics covered in the March issue include: a February climate summary; a note on a historic bird mortality event on the coast; snowpack and drought update; the temperature and precipitation outlook. The newsletter is produced monthly and will be available on the OWSC website or by e-mail subscription. 

Read More on the OWSC website

Seattle City Light releases 2015 Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Plan

In 2015, Seattle City Light developed a Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Plan. The plan assesses the potential impacts of climate change to the utility and identifies actions that can be taken to reduce vulnerability and increase resilience. The plan will be used to guide the implementation of climate change adaptation actions throughout the utility. 

Read the report

Tree genetic adaptations to climate

Andrew Shirk, a research scientist at CIG, is collaborating on a new research project evaluating how landscape and climate affect the movement of genes through populations of three tree species: the southwestern white pine, Douglas-fir, and fremont cottonwood. 

Read more about the research

Upcoming Presentation | Avoiding the impacts of climate change: Results from the BRACE study

Understanding how impacts may differ across alternative levels of future climate change is necessary for an informed response to the climate issue. Over the past two years, NCAR’s Climate and Human Systems Project has been carrying out a study on the Benefits of Reduced Anthropogenic Climate changE (BRACE), which assesses the differences in impacts between two specific climate futures: those associated with Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) 4.5 and 8.5. This project is quantifying avoided impacts in terms of extreme events, health, agriculture, tropical cyclones, and sea level rise, and includes contributions from a number of NCAR scientists as well as participants from 15 other institutions. 

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New book chapter evaluates the effects of fire and drought on forests and rangelands in the US

CIG affiliated researchers have authored a chapter on the the effects of fire and drought on forests and rangelands in the United States in the book “Effects of Drought on Forests and Rangelands in the United States: A Comprehensive Science Synthesis.” Rapid climate change and shifts in disturbance regimes may cause significant changes in productivity and capacity for carbon storage in forests and rangelands of the United States. As the climate warms, it is expected that more ecosystems will become water limited, more sensitive to variability in temperatures, and prone to more frequent disturbance. Consequently, productivity may decline across much of the West, and long-term carbon sequestration may be limited by a continuous mosaic of disturbances of various severities. 

Read the book here

Save the date for the 2017 National Adaptation Forum

The 2017 National Adaptation Forum is headed for the Twin Cities. The Forum will take place in Saint Paul, Minnesota May 9-11, 2017! Visit the National Adaptation Forum website for more details. You can already learn about the location, accommodations and travel. Over the next 15 months the website will be updated about the call for proposals, registration, and other news as it develops. 

Learn More About the Forum

Mathematical model explains recurring rainstorms in the tropical Indian & Pacific oceans

University of Washington scientists have published a mathematical model that could help explain and forecast the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO), a massive cluster of thunderstorms that plays a role in global weather. Better understanding of the MJO would help predict tropical rainstorms and flooding over India, northern Australia, and Pacific islands such as the Maldives and Indonesia. It could also improve medium-range global forecasts, since the MJO can nudge weather patterns that affect the mainland U.S. 

Read more at UW Today
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