This Year’s Drought, A Slow-Moving Disaster

Drought is a slow-moving disaster. Set into motion well before its impacts are fully realized, drought creeps along at a low rumble, until the evitable outcome results. This is more or less where the Northwest is at right now. We’re bracing for the impacts of exceptionally low snowpack and also what is likely to be…

Causes and Consequences of the Pacific Warm “Blob”

This past year was a time of odd happenings. In the eastern Pacific Ocean, several tropical fish species were spotted well outside their normal swimming haunts. On land, drought persisted in the western United States along with record warmth west of the Cascades. At the same time, record low temperatures and high snowfall appeared along…

Demand Plus Precipitation Better Project Shortages

In a new paper, Naresh Devineni and colleagues take a novel approach to calculating local water risk. Unlike other studies — which typically consider local water use and all available water on a time-averaged basis — the Devineni team considered fluctuations in local precipitation (“renewable water”) over time on the county scale, along with local…

Featured Researcher Nick Bond, Washington State Climatologist

Washington State Climatologist Nick Bond sees himself as a generalist, not a specialist. But that’s the way he likes it. As state climatologist, Bond is responsible for assessing climate impacts on his state. This has not only given him the opportunity to learn a little bit about a lot of different things, but in the…

Doug-fir Needs Balance of Cold-Warm Fluctuations

Many tree species need cold fall and winter temperatures in order to produce buds in the spring. Botanists call this phenomenon “budburst.” Rising temperatures caused by rising levels of greenhouse gases are expected to disrupt budburst, potentially resulting in abnormal tree growth and greater susceptibility to drought. But as researchers are discovering, the budburst picture…