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ARS Home » Plains Area » El Reno, Oklahoma » Grazinglands Research Laboratory » Agroclimate and Natural Resources Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #265605

Title: Emerging climate services for water resources planning

item Schneider, Jeanne

Submitted to: USDA Miscellaneous Publication 1343
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/7/2011
Publication Date: 3/7/2011
Citation: Schneider, J.M. 2011. Emerging climate services for water resources planning [abstract]. Climate Prediction Applications Science Workshop, Iowa State University, Des Moines, Iowa, March 1-4, 2011. Available:

Interpretive Summary: Abstract only.

Technical Abstract: The author’s perspective on new or experimental forecasts and data products that may be important for water resource planning were shared. Everyone who lives and works with the consequences of weather and climate have known or suspected for years that climate is shifting, have been adapting, and want better information. Because the availability of sufficient soil water at critical stages of plant development is the primary determinant of potential biomass production for most U.S. crops, all forecasts related to the supply of plant-available soil water (e.g., precipitation, ET) are especially critical. Over the last decade, NOAA units (and especially NOAA-funded RISA programs) have accomplished an incredible amount with very limited funding. These include an entire suite of updated or new NOAA products, available for free online at, that actually support development and implementation of climate-informed decision support for agricultural and water resource management. Among the most important developments are forecasts with place specificity down to 5 km, and out to 3-7 days, in several formats including GIS-compatible files (e.g., National Digital Forecast Database); river stage and flooding forecasts; and plans for more inter-agency and cross-agency collaborations and products. However, more forecast products are needed, especially because all the federal programs responsible for management of our nation’s natural resources now tasked with preparing plans to cope with climate change. These needed products and forecasts include: better climate data for locations, or on a 5 km grid; better metadata about online climate data, including appropriate uses (spatiotemporal scale issues), data quality (or lack thereof), and especially forecast uncertainty/confidence and skill; more skillful forecasts at all lead times past 3 days; all climate forecasts on a 5 km grid; all weather and climate forecasts as probability distributions; new products and forecasts for ET, soil moisture, soil temperature, solar radiation (in energy units); and standardized, probabilistic, official, “future climate scenarios” at fine spatial and temporal scales.