US National Climate Assessment: Northwest Forecast

The U.S. National Climate Assessment forecast for Northwest suggest significant climate changes in the years to come.  The report, released on May 6, 2014, was issued on behalf of the National Science and Technology Council and the U.S. Global Change Research Program.  It is the Third National Climate Assessment: Climate Change Impacts in the United States.

Section 21 focuses on the Northwest.  The Convening Lead Authors are:

  • Philip Mote, Oregon State University
  • Amy K. Snover, University of Washington

The Lead Authors authors are:

  • Susan Capalbo, Oregon State University
  • Sanford D. Eigenbrode, University of Idaho
  • Patty Glick, National Wildlife Federation
  • Jeremy Littell, U.S. Geological Survey
  • Richard Raymondi, Idaho Department of Water Resources
  • Spencer Reeder, Cascadia Consulting Group

The authors conclusion on the future of the Northwest are summarized as follows:

  1. Changes in the timing of streamflow related to changing snowmelt are already observed and will
    continue, reducing the supply of water for many competing demands and causing far-reaching
    ecological and socioeconomic consequences.
  2. In the coastal zone, the effects of sea level rise, erosion, inundation, threats to infrastructure and
    habitat, and increasing ocean acidity collectively pose a major threat to the region.
  3. The combined impacts of increasing wildfire, insect outbreaks, and tree diseases are already
    causing widespread tree die-off and are virtually certain to cause additional forest mortality by
    the 2040s and long-term transformation of forest landscapes.  Under higher emissions scenarios,
    extensive conversion of subalpine forests to other forest types is projected by the 2080s.
  4. While the agriculture sector’s technical ability to adapt to changing conditions can offset some
    adverse impacts of a changing climate, there remain critical concerns for agriculture with respect
    to costs of adaptation, development of more climate resilient technologies and management, and
    availability and timing of water.