In an attempt to leverage existing federal activities, the DOI and NOAA have established a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) related to climate science activities, and have initiated a joint pilot study between the North Central Climate Science Center (NC CSC) and the NOAA/NCAR- National Climate Predictions and Projections (NCPP) Platform. The mission of NCPP is to support state-of-the-art approaches to develop and deliver comprehensive regional climate information and facilitate its use in decision making and adaptation planning. NCPP is already partnering with the USGS GeoDataPortal (GDP) to leverage current and future capabilities. NCPP's evolving role in that partnership is to augment the GDP services by developing translational information, including guidance on use and interpretive information about the quality and appropriateness of use for various applications. NCPP believes that the best way to develop this translational information is to work with users, such as those funded through this pilot program.
The overarching goal of this pilot is to explore together the "best available climate information" to support key land management questions and how to provide that information. The projects funded through this pilot will develop a deliberate, ongoing interaction to prototype how NCPP will work with CSCs to develop and deliver needed climate information product. It will build capacity in the NC CSC by providing NCPP's translational information for climate data used as input to USGS-based ecological modeling efforts. The ultimate goals of this pilot project are: 1) to explore ways in which the climate information can help inform land management decisions through ecological response models, 2) develop approaches for ecological response modeling to be informed and enhanced by the translational climate information provided by NCPP.
The NC CSC is funding four projects within the pilot:
Additional information for each project is given below.
The value of climate information for supporting management decisions within the Plains and Prairie Potholes LCC
Max Post van der Burg, USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center; Cathy Cullinane Thomas and Tracy Holcombe
July 2012 – Summer 2013
Climate scientists often develop models to predict how climate may change in an effort to inform other models that predict how these changes may impact conservation targets. However, these models are not often translated into information that is accessible and useful for land managers and conservation decision-makers. Climate scientists need better information about what climate information is desired by decision-makers so that their outputs will more effectively meet decision-maker information needs; and conversely, decision-makers need better information about how a changingclimate may affect their management alternatives and conservation objectives. Land managers within the Plains and Prairie Potholes Landscape Conservation Cooperative (PPP-LCC) must make complex decisions that impact multiple conservation objectives in the face of considerable uncertainty. Thus, members of the PPP-LCC need decision-relevant information about how climate will change and how these changes will affect their conservation objectives, management alternatives, and consequences of their management actions. These needs can be met by the North Central Climate Science Center (NC CSC) and the NOAA Climate Prediction and Projection Pilot Platform (NCPP).
The objectives of this project are to (1) build connections between the PPP-LCC, the NC CSC, and the NCPP to facilitate a link between the end users and the producers of climate information, as well as to identify gaps between available and desired information, and (2) develop an understandable and transportable framework that will enable the PPP-LCC to prioritize their climate science needs and articulate those needs to the NC CSC and the NCPP. This project will use a decision analysis process to bring together members of the PPP-LCC and climate experts from the NC CSC and the NCPP to develop an integrated conceptual model of the interactions between climate change, land use change, and conservation and adaptation in the Plains and Prairie Potholes (PPR) region of the PPP-LCC. Quantifying aspects of this conceptual model will allow estimation of the value of climate information, thus enabling the PPP-LCC to prioritize their climate science needs. By relating climate uncertainties to the prevailing land use and socioeconomic issues in the region, the value of information analysis will produce a framework that will enable climate scientists to (1) guide the PPP-LCC toward currently available climate information and present this information in a way that will be useful to decision makers within the LCC, and (2) design future research to address remaining key uncertainties affecting conservation decisions in the region.
For more information, click here.
Projecting climate change effects on cottonwood and willow seed dispersal phenology, flood timing, and seedling recruitment in western riparian forests
Patrick Shafroth, USGS Fort Collins Science Center; with Laura Perry, Lauren Hay, Roland Viger, Steven Markstrom, Glen Liston, David Blodgett, and Nathaniel Booth
Aug. 2012 to Feb. 2014
Throughout western North America, native forests along rivers (riparian forests) are dominated by cottonwood and willow trees. These forests provide critical habitat for diverse birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and insects, and provide food and shade for fish and other instream aquatic animals. This research is aimed at predicting effects of climate change on cottonwood and willow seedling establishment in western riparian forests.
Cottonwood and willow seedling establishment along rivers is tightly coupled to the timing of peak streamflows. Currently, cottonwoods and willows tend to release their seeds during or just after spring peak streamflows, which increases the chance that the short-lived seeds will settle on bare, moist soil created by flooding and exposed by flood recession, and high enough above the river channel to avoid ice and flood damage. Warming associated with climate change, however, is leading to both earlier spring peak streamflows and earlier seed dispersal. Therefore, with changing climate, cottonwood and willow seed dispersal could occur substantially earlier or later than spring peak streamflows, potentially reducing seedling establishment and in turn reducing riparian wildlife habitat quality.
The research objective is to predict changes in the relative timing of cottonwood and willow seed dispersal and spring peak streamflows, and effects on seedling establishment, under projected climate change scenarios. It will link climate-driven models of seed dispersal timing, streamflow hydrology, and seedling establishment. Although cottonwood and willow regeneration is important for riparian wildlife habitat across western North America, this project will focus on the upper South Platte River Basin as a case study area. Results will help land managers anticipate future changes in riparian wildlife habitat quality, and potentially to respond by actively revegetating high-priority riparian areas, or by working with water management agencies to schedule dam releases that favor cottonwood and willow establishment.
For more information, click here.
For more information, click here.