Foundational Science Area: Developing Climate Change Understanding and Resources for Adaptation in the North Central U.S.
This project supported the activities of the Climate Foundational Science Area (FSA) at the North Central Climate Science Adaptation Center (NC CASC). These activities included foundational research into drought processes relevant to the different climatic zones and ecosystems in the NC CASC region.
We examined role of the atmospheric thirst for water from the land surface (aka, Evaporative Demand), how that may change during the 21st century and affect drought related risks in the future. We developed and did outreach with a drought index called the Evaporative Demand Drought Index (EDDI), that solely looks at the Evaporative Demand parameter, for its drought early warning potential, its ability to capture flash droughts and indicate persistence of severe drought conditions.
Our research also examined how mountain snowpack is changing in the Intermountain West region of our domain, what processes are driving that change. For this, we focused on Wyoming’s Wind River Mountain Range because of its relevance to water resources for the Wind River Indian Reservation. Our findings show that as the region is experiencing warming, the snowline is shifting up and proportionally more rain is falling as precipitation than snow during the cold season leading to lower snowpack thickness and earlier melt.
Climate FSA through this project was extensively involved in supported several NC CASC projects and stakeholders in providing assistance with climate science understanding, and use and provision of climate data. We have developed a strong stakeholder network in the region, and, in several cases, maintained a sustained engagement to promote literacy and integration of relevant climate science and data into understanding ecological impacts and develop strategies to foster resilience in different social-ecological systems.