Toward a Regional Earth System Model

Numerical models of the climate system continue to evolve and improve, incorporating more and more elements that influence climate. Two important directions of improvement are finer spatial resolution (being able to drill down to smaller and smaller areas), and representations of that most unpredictable aspect of climate: human behavior. These models are called “earth system…

New Tools for Gauging Estuarine Dynamics

Estuaries — vital nurseries for sea life in the Pacific Northwest — provide water filtration and habitat protection for the many species that live in and around them. To better understand how climate change will alter the dynamics of tides, winds, ocean waves and stream flows in these critical ecosystems, a new tool was designed…

Warmer Temperatures Could Boost Plant Growth on Rangelands

East of the Cascade mountains, hundreds of thousands of cattle graze the vast rangelands. This economically vital agricultural region of the Pacific Northwest could become more productive as a result of climate change, a new study finds. Climate models show that rangelands in the interior West — including eastern Oregon and Washington as well as…

Investigating Die-Offs of Western Woodlands

Western North American forests are experiencing a rapid increase in severe die-offs from droughts, insect attacks and fires. This increase in mortality has contributed to lumber mills closing, as well as to other, more far-reaching, economic impacts. Since 2013, OCCRI’s Forest Mortality, Economics, and Climate (FMEC) project has been studying the processes behind these die-offs….

Summaries for Policymakers Provide Guidance for Action

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) just released the summaries for policymakers for the reports by Working Groups 2 and 3. They are highlighted below. (Last fall’s report from Working Group 1 was highlighted in the March 2014 issue of the CIRCulator.) Impacts, Adaptation, and VulnerabilityWorking Group 2 has created a practical “guide to action,” evaluating current…