84th AMS Annual Meeting

Wednesday, 14 January 2004: 1:45 PM
Developing pilot climate services for the Pacific Northwest: the University of Washington Climate Impacts Group
Room 401
Edward L. Miles, JISAO/Univ. of Washington, Seattle, WA; and P. W. Mote, A. F. Hamlet, N. Mantua, D. P. Lettenmaier, R. N. Palmer, and A. K. Snover
The Climate Impacts Group (CIG) at the University of Washington and affiliated institutions is an interdisciplinary team of researchers assembled to study the impacts of climate variability and change on the Pacific Northwest (PNW). The group has focused its research on climate impacts to hydrology and water resources, forests, aquatic ecosystems, and coastal systems. Aside from more traditional research goals and priorities, the group has been instrumental in creating a number of pilot climate services for the region, including experimental forecasting products. Interactions between the CIG and the current and potential user community for these climate services have played an important role in shaping both the primary research and the experimental products developed by CIG. A primary focus of work at interannual time scales has been experimental forecast products for water management applications. Interviews with water managers conducted at the onset of the project demonstrated that the potential users were unprepared to make use of new forecast products facilitated by advancing climate forecasts. As a result , a formal outreach program was developed to create a two-way sharing of information between the CIG and the potential users. To disseminate new forecast products, CIG conducts an ongoing series of fall water workshops that target regional water managers. At these workshops, climate forecasts for the coming winter are presented along with streamflow forecasts for locations of interest to the user community. Members of the user community are also invited to describe their particular management problems and decision processes, and to give feedback regarding the usefulness of the forecasts. CIG has also conducted a series of workshops and meetings focusing on the implications of climate change for the region. In a process that has been analogous to outreach efforts associated with interannual forecasts, the CIG has engaged in regular interactions with water managers and upper level decision makers that have resulted in ongoing partnerships between the CIG and a number of specific water management agencies involved in long term water planning. These ongoing interactions with the user community help provide a "road map" for other agencies who want to include climate change in their long-term planning, as well as a forum for refining the specific products and services provided by the CIG.

Supplementary URL: