Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Science in action to improve the sustainability of agriculture, natural resources, and food systems
Learn More Program Areas

Climate Impacts & Adaptation

Washington’s agricultural landscape is characterized by a broad diversity of crop and livestock production systems — each of which have emerged within and adapted to well-defined agri-climatic niches in different parts of the state. Small changes in climatic trends or patterns (e.g. temperature, precipitation, extreme events, etc.) could increase climate-related production risks, necessitate shifts in production systems or management practices, and change pest pressures.
 
The availability and capture of solar radiation, water, and nutrients are basic factors for plant growth and survival. Temperature plays an important role in general biological activity, defining the length of the growing season, plant phenological development, the incidence of heat or freezing stresses, and other factors that affect crop productivity and quality. Plant growth and development are reduced or halted at low temperatures, cells are damaged by freezing temperatures, and high temperatures can be devastating during flowering and initial stages of yield formation. The interaction of these factors will determine the impact on crop productivity, management, and economics of agriculture under climate change.  All crops and associated pests respond to climatic shifts.  While we can currently project some crop and pest responses to climate change, the complexity of interactions between climate-driven variables makes accurate prediction difficult. We are seeking to better understand the complicated response of crops and pests under conditions of elevated CO2 and temperature to adequately assess the influence of climate change on crop production and farm management variables.
 
CSANR and partners have undertaken several projects in the past decade to shape our understanding of the impact of climate change on agricultural production in the region to inform regional investments in agricultural adaptation to climate change. These projects include an initial “triage” assessment of agricultural vulnerability (Washington Climate Change Impact Assessment Project), a broadened evaluation of crop vulnerability to climate change and irrigation (Columbia River Supply and Demand Forecast) and ongoing projects assessing wheat production (REACCH), expanded regional forecasting (BioEarth) and specific water-shed level considerations (WISDM).

 

Featured Publications

Impacts of near-term climate change on irrigation demands and drop yields in the Columbia River Basin

Rajagopalan, K., K.J. Chinnayakanahalli, C.O. Stockle, R.L. Nelson, C.E. Kruger, M.P. Brady, K. Malek, S. Dinesh, M.E. Barber, A.F. Hamlet, G.G. Yorgey, and J.C. Adam. 2018. Water Resources Research.

Estimating climate change effects on grazing management and beef cattle production in the Pacific Northwest

JS Neibergs, TD Hudson, CE Kruger, K Hamel-Rieken. 2018. Climatic Change, 5-17.  

Integrating historic agronomic and policy lessons with new technologies to drive farmer decisions for farm and climate: The case of Inland Pacific Northwestern U.S.

Pan, W., W. Schillinger, F. Young, E. Kirby, G. Yorgey, K. Borrelli, E. Brooks, V. McCracken, T. Maaz, S. Machado, I. Madsen, J. Johnson-Maynard, L. Port, K. Painter, D. Huggins, A. Esser, H. Collins, C. Stockle, and S. Eigenbrode. 2017. Frontiers in Environmental Science. 5:76. doi: 10.3389/fenvs.2017.00076

Comparison of Greenhouse Gas Offset Quantification Protocols for Nitrogen Management in Dryland Wheat Cropping Systems of the Pacific Northwest

TT Brown, CM Lee, CE Kruger, JP Reganold, DR Huggins. 2017. Frontiers in Environmental Science 5, 72.

Design and Use of Representative Agricultural Pathways for Integrated Assessment of Climate Change in US Pacific Northwest Cereal-Based Systems

John M Antle, Jianhong E Mu, Hongliang Zhang, Susan M Capalbo, Penelope L Diebel, Sanford D Eigenbrode, Chad E Kruger, Claudio O Stöckle, JD Wulfhorst, and John T Abatzoglou. 2017. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 5, 99.

Northwest U.S. Agriculture in a Changing Climate: Collaboratively Defined Research and Extension Priorities

Georgine Yorgey, Sonia A. Hall, Elizabeth Allen, Elizabeth Whitefield, Nichole Embertson, Vincent P. Jones, Kirti Rajagopalan, Brooke R Saari, Gabrielle Roesch-McNally, Bea Van Horne, John Abatzoglou, Harold P. Collins, Laurie Houston, Timothy W Ewing, and Chad E. Kruger,  Front. Environ. Sci., 31 August 2017

Climate Considerations

Allen, Kruger, C.E., Abatzoglou, J., K. Rajagopalan and E.M. Kirby. 2017. Chapter 1 In Yorgey, G. and C. Kruger, eds. Advances in Dryland Production Systems in the Pacific Northwest. Washington State University Extension, Pullman, WA.

Farm Policies and the Role for Decision Support Tools

Houston, L., C. Seavert, S. Capalbo, J. Antle. 2017. Chapter 12 In Yorgey, G. and C. Kruger, eds. Advances in Dryland Production Systems in the Pacific Northwest. Washington State University Extension, Pullman, WA.

Advances in Dryland Farming in the Inland Pacific Northwest

Georgine Yorgey and Chad Kruger, Eds. 2017. Washington State University Extension. Pullman, WA.

BioEarth Agricultural Adaptation Scenarios Stakeholder Workshop Summary Report

Allen, E., C.E. Kruger, K. Rajagopalan, M. Brady, K. Malek, S. Richey & J.C. Adam. (2017).  Washington State University.

Agriculture in a Changing Climate: Research and Extension Priorities in the Northwest

Yorgey, Georgine; Kruger, Chad; Saari, Brooke; Hall, Sonia A.; Whitefield, Elizabeth; Embertson, Nichole;  Jones, Vincent P. Rajagopalan, Kirti; Allen, Elizabeth; Roesch-McNally, Gabrielle; Van Horne, Beatrice; Abatzoglou, John; Collins, Hal; Houston, Laurie; Seavert, Clarke; Ewing Timothy. (2017). Technical Publication from the Agriculture in a Changing Climate Workshop, held in Kennewick, WA, March 9-11, 2016. Published February 28, 2017.

Grazed cover cropping: Drew Leitch (Farmer to Farmer Case Study Videos)

Yorgey, G.G., K. Borrelli, and K. Painter. 2017. Produced by Darrell Kilgore and WSU CAHNRS Communications. Pullman, WA.

Stripper Header and Direct Seeding: Ron and Andy Juris (Farmer to Farmer Case Study Series)

Yorgey, G.G., K. Borrelli, K.M. Painter, and H. Davis. 2017. Pacific Northwest Extension Publication 694, Pullman, WA.

Technical Supplement for the Columbia River Basin Long-Term Water Supply and Demand Forecast

Adam, J.C., M. Barik, J. Yoder, M.P. Brady, D. Haller, M.E. Barber, Hall, S.A., C.E. Kruger, G.G. Yorgey, M. Downes, C.O. Stockle, B. Aryal, T. Carlson, G. Damiano, S. Dhungel, C. Einberger, K. Hamel-Reiken, M. Liu, K. Malek, S. McClure, R. Nelson, M. O’Brien, J. Padowski, K. Rajagopalan, Z. Rakib, B. Rushi, W. Valdez. 2017. Publication No. 16-12-008. Washington Department of Ecology, Olympia, WA. 216 pp.

Strip tillage of vegetables with livestock integration: Eric Williamson (Farmer to Farmer Case Study Videos).

Yorgey, G.G., K. Borrelli, A. McGuire, and K. Painter. 2017. Produced by Darrell Kilgore and CAHNRS Communications. Pullman, WA.

Climate science information needs among natural resource decision-makers in the Northwestern U.S.

Allen, E., J. Stephens. G.G. Yorgey, C.E. Kruger, S.M. Ahamed, and J.C. Adam. 2017. Climate Services, 5, 11-22.

Modeling environmental change: A guide to understanding model results that explore the impacts of climate change on regional environmental systems

Allen, E., G. Yorgey, K. Rajagopalan, and C. Kruger. 2015. WSU Extension Fact Sheet FS159E.

Increasing resilience among cereal-based farmers in the Inland Pacific Northwest – Farmer to Farmer Case Studies

Yorgey, Georgine, Kathleen Painter, Hilary Davis, Kristy Borrelli, Sylvia Kantor, Leigh Bernacchi, R. Dennis Roe, Chad Kruger  2014.  Video and print case studies part of REACCH PNA project. The goal of these case studies to inspire others to take management risks on their farms that can improve their overall sustainability and resiliency into the future. Future case studies are in progress and will focus on farmers who manage water in irrigated systems, tillage practices and residue management in unique ways.

BioEarth: Envisioning and developing a new regional earth system model to inform natural and agricultural resource management

Adam, J. C., J. C. Stephens, S. H. Chung, M. P. Brady, R. D. Evans, C. E. Kruger, B. K. Lamb, M. Liu, C. O. Stöckle, J. K. Vaughan, K. Rajagopalan, J. A. Harrison, C. L. Tague, A. Kalyanaraman, Y. Chen, A. Guenther, F. Leung, L. R. Leung, A. B. Perleberg, J. Yoder, E. Allen, S. Anderson, B. Chandrasekharan, K. Malek, T. Mullis, C. Miller, T. Nergui, J. Poinsatte, J. Reyes, J. Zhu, J. S. Choate, X. Jiang, R. Nelson, J. Yoon, G. G. Yorgey, K. Johnson, K. J. Chinnayakanahalli, A. F. Hamlet, B. Nijssen, and V. Walden. Climatic Change, 2014. (DOI) 10.1007/s10584-014-1115-2

Agriculture – Impacts, Adaptation, and Mitigation

Sanford D. Eigenbrode, Susan M. Capalbo, Laurie L. Houston, Jodi Johnson-Maynard, Chad Kruger, & Beau Olen. Chapter 6 in, Dalton, M.M., P.W. Mote, and A.K. Snover [Eds.]. 2013. Climate Change in the Northwest: Implications for Our Landscapes, Waters, and Communities. Washington, D.C. Island Press.

Critical Research Needs for Successful Food Systems Adaptation to Climate Change

Miller, M., M. Anderson, C. Francis, C. Kruger, C. Barford, J. Park, and B. McCown. 2013. http://dx.doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2013.034.016   Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development.

What do we currently know about the impacts of climate change on Pacific Northwest cropland agriculture?

Kruger, C. 2012. Recorded webinar.  Part of Pacific Northwest Agriculture and Climate Change Webinar Series available here http://csanr.wsu.edu/webinars/pnw-ag-and-climate-change/ .

2011 Columbia River Basin Long Term Water Supply and Demand Forecast Technical Report

2012. Ecology Publication 12-12-001.  The technical report is available for download by section, including appendices, at the bottom of the linked page.

2011 Columbia River Basin Long Term Water Supply and Demand Forecast Legislative Report

2012. Ecology Publication 11-12-011.

Assessment of Climate Change Impact on Eastern Washington Agriculture

Stockle, C.O., Nelson, R.L., Higgins, S., Brunner, J.F., Grove, G.G., Boydston, R.A., Whiting, M.D., & Kruger, C.E. (2010). Climatic Change 102 (1-2), 77-102.

 

Additional Publications

Assessing the Impact of Climate Change on Columbia River Basin Agriculture through Integrated Crop Systems, Hydrologic, and Water Management Modeling

Rajagopalan, K., K. Chinnayakanahalli, J.C. Adam, C.S. Stockle, R. Nelson, M. Brady, M.E. Barber, S. Dinesh, K. Malek, G. Yorgey, C. Kruger, T. Marsh, and J. Yoder, 2011.  AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts, San Francisco, CA, Dec. 6.

WRDC Rural Connections Newsletter: Climate Change issue

Western Rural Development Center’s Rural Connections Newsletter Climate Change issue June 2011 contains three articles written by CSANR faculty and staff members. View the entire issue here (6 MB), or view the individual articles by clicking the titles here: Anaerobic Digestion in the Pacific Northwest; Climate Change and Family Forest Landowners in the Pacific Northwest: Attitudes & Understanding; Climate Change and Agriculture in the Pacific Northwest.

Assessment of Climate Change Impact on Eastern Washington Agriculture

Stockle, C.O., et. al. 2009. Chapter 5 in The Washington Climate Change Impacts Assessment: Evaluating Washington’s Future in a Changing Climate. A report from the University of Washington Climate Impacts Group.

The Washington Climate Change Impact Assessment Conference Proceedings

Conference agenda includes links to agriculture sector breakout group presentations.