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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Boise, Idaho » Watershed Management Research » Research » Research Project #434074

Research Project: Generic Weather and Climate Tools for Agricultural and Natural Resource Modeling Applications

Location: Watershed Management Research

Project Number: 2052-13610-014-09-A
Project Type: Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jan 1, 2018
End Date: Jul 30, 2018

Under our current CRIS we developed weather/climate tools specific to rangeland restoration planning and management, but found that these tools have generic utility for other agricultural and natural resource applications. ARS modeling programs in crop production, animal production and hydrology also use the same suite of meteorological inputs; require distributed weather data in areas that don't have adequate historical weather stations; need seasonal forecasting tools to improve real-time management; and could utilize downscaled and disaggregated Global Climate Models to conduct sensitivity analysis under potential future climate. We propose to expand the weather and climate toolbox that we have developed for rangeland restoration to be more useful for other ARS and USDA agricultural and natural resource modeling applications, and as a resource for the USDA Long-Term Agro-ecosystem Research (LTAR) and the USDA Climate Hub networks. The output of this project would be an ARS website. We propose to expand our current rangeland restoration program to add seasonal forecast and disaggregated climate change applications, and to broaden the scope of this program to other agricultural and natural resource modeling programs within the ARS modeling community.

The tools that we have already developed have a generic utility for a number of other agricultural and natural resource modeling applications. This funding would allow us to work directly with members of ARS, agency, and university modeling communities to expand the utility of their models by providing customized spatial weather datasets based on the weather database tools developed by our cooperator. This funding would also allow us to expand the weather and climate toolbox to conduct model-specific skill assessment of seasonal climate forecasts in support of real-time management applications in the areas of rangeland restoration and management, hydrology, erosion, and agricultural production. Our cooperators have already developed seasonal forecast tools for individual and ensemble models from the North American Multimodel Ensemble (NMME). As part of this Innovation grant project, we would conduct model-specific skill assessment to determine the utility of these forecasting tools in support of ARS modeling programs. This would include development of a climate-generator function to expand forecast time series weather data to accommodate expected annual variability in future weather scenarios. In this application, various weather variables would still be correlated under each estimated alternative weather scenario. In this work, we would target assisting and collaborating with other modeling groups in the ARS Long-Term Agro-ecosystem Research (LTAR) network, and cooperation with the USDA Climate Hub network.