Analyses of Historical and Projected Climates to Support Climate Adaptation in the Northern Rocky Mountains
Most of the western United States is experiencing the effects of rapid and directional climate change (Garfin et al. 2013). These effects, along with forecasts of profound changes in the future, provide strong motivation for resource managers to learn about and prepare for future changes. Climate adaptation plans are based on an understanding of historic climate variation and their effects on ecosystems and on forecasts of future climate trends. Frameworks for climate adaptation thus universally identify the importance of a summary of historical, current, and projected climates (Glick, Stein, and Edelson 2011; Cross et al. 2013; Stein et al. 2014). Trends in physical climate variables are usually the basis for evaluating the exposure component in vulnerability assessments. Thus, this chapter focuses on step 2 of the Climate-Smart Conservation framework (chap. 2): vulnerability assessment. We present analyses of historical and current observations of temperature, precipitation, and other key climate measurements to provide context and a baseline for interpreting the ecological impacts of projected climate changes.
KeywordsVulnerability Assessment Snow Water Equivalent Medieval Warm Period Yellowstone National Park Climate Refugium
We particularly thank Forrest Melton, Alberto Guzman, Rama Nemani, and Bridget Thrasher for providing access to and considerable assistance using the NEX climate data, analysis tools and code, and the NASA Ames High End Computing (HEC) system. This work would not have been possible without their support. Any use of trade, product, or firm names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the US government.
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