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ARS Home » Plains Area » El Reno, Oklahoma » Grazinglands Research Laboratory » Agroclimate and Natural Resources Research » Research » Research Project #431400

Research Project: 2016-2017 La Nina Early Warning and Impacts in the Rio Grande Basin

Location: Agroclimate and Natural Resources Research

Project Number: 3070-11130-006-009-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2016
End Date: Aug 31, 2021

The National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln (NDMC) will work with the USDA Southern Plains Climate Hub and other collaborators to support the National Drought Resilience Partnership (NDRP) by conducting a series of user-focused activities in a regional context. These activities will provide early warning and post-event assessment of La Niña impacts, in order to advance producer preparedness and resiliency to climate variability and change.

The proposed activities will take place in two locations along the Rio Grande Basin, one in New Mexico (Las Cruces or TBD) and the other in South Texas (Lower Rio Grande TBD). The Rio Grande is an essential agricultural production corridor and one that is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate extremes, including La Niña. The Rio Grande is also a focal point for existing climate services transboundary collaborations with Mexico, and as such the lessons learned from this activity may be portable to other transboundary locations (e.g., Pacific Northwest). Pre-event workshops: The project will start in fall 2016 with two workshops being conducted prior to the start of the projected La Niña event in two targeted regions where the impacts associated with La Niña are unique and diverse. The NDMC, in partnership with USDA and other collaborators listed above, will organize two Fall 2016 workshops, one in each location, targeted at key in-region agricultural audiences (see “Audiences targeted”). Each workshop will include an overview of the current state of the La Niña event and existing landscape conditions (e.g., water, forage); provide background information about La Niña and its connection to climate change; highlight short-term agricultural vulnerabilities to weather and climate extremes in each location and potential adaptation strategies; and identify producer information and services needs that could be addressed, to some degree, during the La Niña event. During the La Niña: The USDA Climate Hubs will work with in-region partners, such as NWS, to provide regular and authoritative monitoring, prediction, and impact information to agricultural interests during the La Niña event. These communications may take multiple forms, such as webinars, media briefings, coordination calls, and additional in-person workshops. Post-event workshops: The NDMC will convene two additional workshops, one in each location, after the La Niña event has ended. Each workshop will include a review of the climatological and agricultural impacts of the event itself; a discussion of the benefits provided by the Hubs and other partners during the event, and any challenges and obstacles encountered; a review of lessons learned and the potential portability of this model to other regions; and the capturing of emerging science questions and product and services development opportunities for future action and potential funding. Findings from the post-event workshops can serve as the basis for subsequent event assessment reports, recommended changes or enhancements to existing tools and products and peer-reviewed publications.