DOINews: Interior Announces New 2013 Research Projects at the Southwest Climate Science Center

Last edited 4/26/2016

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced that the Southwest CSC is awarding nearly $1.2 million to universities and other partners for research to guide resource managers in planning how to help species and ecosystems adapt to climate change.

The six funded studies will focus on how climate change will affect natural resources and management actions that can be taken to help offset such change. They include:

  • Characterizing how the changing climate of the Southwest is affecting cool- and warm-season precipitation in the Colorado River basin and the corresponding response of stream flow in individual sub-basins. The result will be a stream-flow projection product that better accounts for physical mechanisms of weather and climate on a regional and local scale, which can be directly used by water resource providers.
  • Clarifying impacts of natural climate variability on the frequencies and intensities of specific extreme temperature and precipitation events as well as their cascading influences on stream flow in the changing climate of the Southwest. Results of this study will help water, park, forest, fisheries and wildlife managers make better-informed decisions.
  • Linking climate, hydrological and ecological changes over the next 30 years in a Great Basin watershed. Climate change in this region is forecasted to affect water resources, and this project will help water managers identify threats and opportunities posed by climate variations in the next decades.
  • Examining the changing effects of the North Pacific Jet on water resources and Sierra Nevada fires. The NPJ is a high-altitude narrow path of strong winds over the North Pacific Ocean, and a key determinant of snowpack variability in California. Changes in the NPJ trajectory are forecasted for the future as the climate changes, which could greatly influence California water resources, ecosystems and fire. The project will inform decision makers for proactive wildland fire management.
  • Two studies that together will help improve best practices and communications among climate scientists and stakeholders, including agency managers. With thousands of resource managers across the Southwest making tens of thousands of decisions that may well require climate science information, effective information transfer and stakeholder engagement in climate science are vital. The results from these assessments will be shared widely among the climate science and resource communities, and will help ensure that climate science is prioritized by what information is most critical for resource managers and decision makers.