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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

Farmer-to-Farmer & Rancher-to-Rancher Case Studies Series

Authors include: Yorgey, G., Borrelli, K., Painter, K., Davis, H., Hall, S., Hudson, T., Neibergs, S., Reeves, M., Kruger, C., McGuire A., Finkelnburg, D., Roe, D., Brooks, E., and Kantor, S. 2016-2019. PNW Extension Publications and videos. These series explore strategies that innovative regional farmers and ranchers are using that enhance resilience to climate change and other future challenges. Case studies highlight producers in dryland and irrigated annual cropping, rangeland, and dairy production systems. Practices relate to soil health, diversification, responsive management, and many others.

Farmers’ Trust in Sources of Production and Climate Information and Their Use of Technology

Borrelli, K. A., G. E. Roesch-McNally, J. D. Wulfhorst, S. D. Eigenbrode, G. G. Yorgey, C. E. Kruger, L. L. Houston, L. A. Bernacchi, R. L. Mahler. 2018. Journal of Extension.

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

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.

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.

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.

2016 Washington State Legislative Report, Columbia River Basin Long-Term Water Supply and Demand Forecast

Hall, S.A., J.C. Adam, M. Barik, J. Yoder, M.P. Brady, D. Haller, M.E. Barber, 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. 2016.  Publication No. 16-12-001. Washington Department of Ecology, Olympia, WA. 216 pp.

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.

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 Climate Network

The AgClimate Network is a web-based hub for communication between regional scientists and stakeholders about climate change and agricultural and natural resources topics. A consortium of institutions including Oregon State University, University of Idaho, and Washington State University, and the United States Department of Agriculture Northwest Climate Hub support individuals who contribute content to this site and share articles and analyses.

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.

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

2012. Ecology Publication 12-12-001.

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

2012. Ecology Publication 11-12-011.

Additional Publications

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 and look for these titles: 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., 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.

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.

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