Variability, Weather, & Extreme Events

Check it out: Putting Oregon’s September Fires in Past—and Future—Context

By Sonia A. Hall Most of us probably agree that 2020 was an unprecedented year in many ways. Much of the western U.S. will remember 2020 for, among other things, the extensive fires that burned across many states. One of those states is Oregon, where climatic and weather conditions converged during Labor Day to enable […]

Roadside Fire Danger sign showing "Extreme" danger

A Review of Climate Change Research in the Columbia River Basin: Missing the Mark on Agriculture

By Paris Edwards Our understanding of regional climate change effects today will be used to inform management, policy, and the new scientific endeavors of tomorrow. With this in mind, a team of doctoral students from the Water Resources Department at the University of Idaho in Moscow carried out a systematic review of all peer-reviewed studies […]

Stream through an alpine meadow, with a snowcapped mountain in the background

Hot, Dry Summers Take a Toll on Trees in Western Washington

By Patrick Shults, Washington State University Extension The coastal Pacific Northwest is home to some of the best tree-growing conditions in the world.  Fertile soils, plenty of rain, mild temperatures, and short dry seasons allow trees to pack on solid growth each year.  These conditions also give them a significant advantage in protecting themselves from […]

Tops of two conifer trees, one showing dead branches at the very top, with green canopy below

Acting to Prepare for Severe Droughts in the Yakima River Basin

By Mengqi Zhao, recent PhD graduate, Washington State University For more than fifty years, individuals and organizations in the Yakima River Basin (YRB) have been working toward improving water availability, especially for agriculture. The mismatch between rainfall (and snowmelt) timing and the irrigation season has focused these efforts on strategies for increasing water storage. However, […]

Collage of three photos, with plants in greenhouse, a dry pond with no vegetation, and a sprinkler over a crop, close up

The Need for Flexibility when Managing Grazing

Matthew C. Reeves, U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station The amount of annual net primary production on rangelands forms the forage base upon which livelihoods and billions of dollars of commerce depend. Land managers and livestock producers in the Pacific Northwest deal with high year-to-year variations in net primary production, which often varies 40% […]

Grassy, green hillslope with some shrubs scattered around

Dry Farming Gains Ground in the Northwest

By Paris Edwards, USDA Northwest Climate Hub and Amy Garrett, Oregon State University Extension In parts of the maritime Pacific Northwest, climate conditions work well for dry farming, a set of soil preparation and management techniques that allow for growing food with little to no supplemental water. Dry farming has a long history of practice […]

Rows of densely covered vegetable crops, with a row of trees in the background

How Can Long-Term Water Storage Management Mitigate Problems in an Era of Water Resource Deficits?

Mengqi Zhao, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Washington State University The 2015 drought caused more than $700 million in economic losses across Washington State. Even with current water storage management, both in places where rivers, lakes, and reservoirs generally provide sufficient water and in places where aquifers are the most stable water […]

Set of containment structures filled with water, an aquifer recharge area

Check it out: Using the Climate Toolbox to Explain This Winter’s Snowpack Dynamics

By Sonia A. Hall You may have seen announcements or other Check It Out articles we have posted on AgClimate.net that speak about the Climate Toolbox. This online resource is a collection of tools for addressing questions relating to agriculture, climate, fire conditions, and water developed at the University of Idaho. Oriana Chegwidden, a research […]

Skier on a slope with deep powder, and trees on either side

We Need to Know if Stormwater Runoff in Near-Urban Agricultural Areas Impacts Soil or Plant Health

By Jordan Jobe, Master of Environmental Management,  Washington State University-Puyallup As farmland in the Puyallup Watershed increasingly finds itself pinned between townhomes, traffic-dense roads, commuter train tracks, and industrial sites, it seems important to be aware of unintended impacts on agricultural viability. Today, the Puyallup River floodplain is used in a variety of ways, including […]

view of field by a road, with houses and buildings in the far background