UW Today

May 6, 2014

UW scientist a lead author on third National Climate Assessment

News and Information

University of Washington climate scientist Amy Snover, director of the UW Climate Impacts Group, is a lead author on the Northwest chapter of the National Climate Assessment, published May 6 by the U.S. federal government.

The report, “Climate Change Impacts in the United States,” includes national overviews and ten regional chapters. Snover was one of two convening lead authors on the 11-page chapter concerning impacts to Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

“In the Northwest, we have identified leading risks of concern, and we have the good news that more communities are working to understand and apply this science,” Snover said.

“The take-home question I ask is: Are we ready for these changes?” Snover said. “I would argue that it’s time to take a clear-eyed look at these risks, and to have an engaged conversation about how we’re going to prepare for them.”

The four key impacts for the Northwest region are:

  • Water-related challenges from earlier snowmelt that would reduce summer water supplies.
  • Coastal vulnerabilities due to sea-level rise, erosion, flooding and ocean acidification.
  • Forestry impacts with more wildfires, insect outbreaks and tree disease.
  • Agricultural impacts from changes to temperatures, water supplies and pests.

The agricultural sector will also benefit from a longer growing season that may compensate for potential risks from changes to irrigation, pests and disease, Snover said.

report cover

2014 National Climate Assessment

The other lead author for the Northwest chapter is Philip Mote, a former UW scientist now at Oregon State University. Snover and Mote also edited a  270-page report published in November, “Climate Change in the Northwest,” that provides more detail for the Northwest region.

The new assessment was written by more than 300 U.S. experts. It includes national overviews and regional summaries on topics such as water, energy, agriculture, transportation, human health, tribal lands, oceans, rural communities and public policy. For the first time it also assesses progress in climate change adaptation and mitigation.

The other authors of the Northwest chapter are Susan Capalbo at Oregon State University; Sanford Eigenbrode at the University of Idaho; Patty Glick at the National Wildlife Federation; Jeremy Littell, a former UW scientist now at the U.S. Geological Survey; Richard Raymondi at the Idaho Department of Water Resources; and Spencer Reeder at Cascadia Consulting Group.

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For more information, contact Snover at 206-221-0222 or aksnover@uw.edu.

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