Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Oregon's Rogue River Basin to Face Climate-Change Hurdles

17.12.2008
Three major global climate-change projections scaled down to Oregon's Rogue River Basin point to hotter, drier summers with increasing wildfire risk, reduced snowpack and rainier, stormy winters, according to a report coordinated by the University of Oregon’s Climate Leadership Initiative and the National Center for Conservation Science & Policy.

Among the report's recommendations: a gradual relocation of structures and people from areas at most risk of flash flooding and wildfires and a call for governments, private firms and households to prioritize and cooperatively pursue strategies and policies to prepare for the changes.

"Preparing for Climate Change in the Rogue River Basin of Southwest Oregon" is the first of four such reports that, authors say, represent the first such comprehensive scaling down of global models to specific river basins in the United States. The three models involved (Hadley, CSIRO and MIROC) are used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a scientific intergovernmental body established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and United Nations Environment Programme.

Many buildings and infrastructure in the Rogue basin are in flood plains, while many rural populations reside year-round in narrow and steeply sloped canyons. Storms and other climate stresses, the report concludes, could threaten millions of dollars in direct costs and five to 10 times that in indirect costs. There currently are a total of $21.5 billion in taxable properties in Josephine and Jackson counties alone, although not all are considered in harm's way.

At a policy level, the report urges governments to work with collaborative mindsets. It also will be important that climate preparation become a priority and that any proposed solutions also consider potential impacts on other sectors to assure continued vitality for the region's population centers and economies. The report focuses on conditions projected for 2040 and 2080.

"Our research found that climate change will significantly stress the natural environment of the Rogue basin," said Bob Doppelt, director of the Climate Leadership Initiative. "These changes will, in turn, have important consequences for the economy, social welfare and quality-of-life in the region. Proactive steps to prepare for climate change should become a priority for every government, private company and household in the basin."

A bottom line for the Rogue basin, Doppelt said, is that: "It is going to transition into an area that, for comparison purposes, could seem similar to Sacramento, Calif. It gets very hot and very dry there in the summer months." Urban areas at risk include Ashland, Medford, Central Point, Grants Pass and Cave Junction.

A brief preliminary presentation of the report on Dec. 3 was well received by the Rogue Valley Council of Governments, said Craig Harper, manager of the council's natural resources department. The council co-sponsored the Dec. 16 official release of the report in Medford, Ore.

"Rogue basin communities must take the necessary steps to learn how to cope with the effects of climate change, and to develop the systems that will allow them to recover from its impacts," Harper said. "Our region is resilient and strong, but to remain so we must begin to respond to these coming changes."

Forthcoming reports will cover Oregon's Upper Willamette, Klamath and Umatilla river basins. The four documents are being prepared by the UO's Climate Leadership Initiative and the Ashland, Ore.,-based National Center for Conservation Science & Policy in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station through its Mapped Atmosphere-Plant-Soil System (MAPSS) Team. The reports incorporate findings and recommendations of separate panels of scientists, land managers and policy experts.

Widespread risk to industry, species and economies

Agriculture may be hard hit in the Rogue basin, including vineyards that produce much of Oregon's famous Pinot Noir wine. Pear crops, already are sensitive to temperature variations, also will be at risk, said co-author Roger Hamilton, government program manager for UO's Climate Leadership Initiative. These crops, he said, "may need to move toward the coast or northward."

As projected average temperatures in the Rogue basin rise 1-3 degrees Fahrenheit by 2040 and 4-8 degrees by 2080 -- and summers heat up 7-15 degrees by 2080 -- dramatic impacts are possible for fisheries, forestry, agriculture, hydroelectric power generation, transportation systems (road infrastructure and fuel costs) and water quality, the report concludes. Another major issue will be public health and emergency services, especially in at-risk areas.

A copy of the full report is available at: http://tinyurl.com/5b7fre

“The global climate models forecast increased precipitation at high latitudes and decreased precipitation at desert latitudes," said Ron Neilson of the USFS Pacific Northwest Research Station MAPSS program. "The Rogue River Basin falls directly in the transition between these two major global bands, rendering future forecasts of precipitation highly uncertain. Most importantly, the models forecast increased severity and variability of precipitation events, particularly in the Rogue basin transition zone between the wet north and the dry subtropics. More severe and variable weather might mean longer and deeper droughts, as well as longer and more severe floods.”

Science panelists addressed the restoration and maintenance of floodplains and fisheries, including the survivability of salmon, steelhead and other native species, as well as protection measures for forests and forest wildlife species. At risk to wildfires will be Port Orford Cedar and Brewer's Spruce, which are relics from the last ice age, as well as the Marbled Murrelet, an already threatened coastal seabird that nests in old-growth forests, Spotted Owl and fisher, the report noted. High-elevation changes also will threaten other bird species and native vegetation.

Policy and land-management panelists focused on the implications to economic systems, including those related to the timber and agricultural industries, the relocation of structures and human populations, changes necessary to maintain transportation systems, alternative energy sources such as solar and high-efficiency thermal biomass, water allocation and groundwater use, emergency management and ramifications for public health.

The consistent theme of the panels' recommendations was the call integrated governmental efforts. Specifically, the report calls for plans and policies that focus on a "future range of variability" rather than the long-held approach of management based on historic patterns. It also calls for "expanded planning and decision-making to the landscape level rather than planning at the forest, county, city or project levels in isolation from other regions or interests."

"Society's challenge is two-fold," said Cindy Deacon Williams, senior scientist for the National Center for Conservation Science & Policy. "We not only must reduce our emissions, we also must prepare for the climate impacts already on the way. Even if emissions are successfully reduced, it will take 50 to 100 years for the climate to stabilize. During that time we are likely to see significant consequences in the Rogue basin. Communities need to start taking action now to prepare for those impacts."

Doppelt, Hamilton, Williams and Marni Koopman, a climate scientist with the National Center for Conservation Science & Policy wrote the final report.

About the University of Oregon
The University of Oregon is a world-class teaching and research institution and Oregon's flagship public university. The UO is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), an organization made up of 62 of the leading public and private research institutions in the United States and Canada. Membership in the AAU is by invitation only. The University of Oregon is one of only two AAU members in the Pacific Northwest.
About the National Center for Conservation Science & Policy
The National Center for Conservation Science & Policy is a non-profit conservation science and policy organization working to bridge the gap between sound conservation science and natural resource policy. The National Center translates conservation science for community and government leaders to ensure that policy decisions are based on the best available science.
Sources:
• Bob Doppelt, director, Climate Leadership Initiative, University of Oregon's Institute for Sustainable Environment, 541-346-0687, bdoppelt@uoregon.edu
• Roger Hamilton, government program manager, Climate Leadership Initiative, University of Oregon's Institute for Sustainable Environment, 541-346-1608, grh@uoregon.edu
• Cindy Deacon Williams, senior scientist, National Center for Conservation Science & Policy, 541-601-4737, cdwill@medford.net
• Ron Neilson, bioclimatologist, U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station MAPSS program, Corvallis, 541-750-7303, rneilson@fs.fed.us

• Craig Harper, manager, department of natural resources, Rogue Valley Council of Governments, 541-423-1369, charper@rvcob.org

Links: UO Climate Leadership Initiative: http://climlead.uoregon.edu/; UO Institute for a Sustainable Environment: http://www.uoregon.edu/~enviro/; National Center for Conservation Science & Policy: http://www.nccsp.org/; U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station MAPSS: http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/mdr/mapss/index.shtml; Rogue Valley Council of Governments: http://www.rvcog.org/; a PDF copy of the report: http://tinyurl.com/5b7fre; and a PDF copy of the report's appendix, with graphics: http://tinyurl.com/5phw2u

Jim Barlow | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.uoregon.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Preservation of floodplains is flood protection
27.09.2017 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>