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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Reno, Nevada » Great Basin Rangelands Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #318158

Title: Indicators of climate change in Idaho: An assessment framework for coupling biophysical change and social perception

item KLOS, P. ZION - University Of Idaho
item ABATZOGLOU, JOHN - University Of Idaho
item BEAN, ALYCIA - University Of Idaho
item BLADES, JAROD - University Of Idaho
item CLARK, MELISSA - University Of Idaho
item DODD, MEGAN - University Of Idaho
item HALL, TROY - University Of Idaho
item HARUCH, AMANDA - University Of Idaho
item HIGUERA, PHILIP - University Of Idaho
item HOLBROOK, JOSEPH - University Of Idaho
item JANSEN, VINCENT - University Of Idaho
item KEMP, KERRY - University Of Idaho
item LANKFORD, AMBER - University Of Idaho
item LINK, TIMOTHY - University Of Idaho
item MAGNEY, TROY - University Of Idaho
item MEDDENS, ARJAN - University Of Idaho
item MITCHELL, LIZA - University Of Idaho
item MOORE, BRANDON - University Of Idaho
item MORGAN, PENNY - University Of Idaho
item Newingham, Beth
item NIEMEYER, RYAN - University Of Idaho
item SODERQUIST, BEN - University Of Idaho
item SUAZO, ALEXIS - University Of Idaho
item VIERLING, KERRI - University Of Idaho
item WALDEN, VON - University Of Idaho
item WALSH, CHELSEA - University Of Idaho

Submitted to: Weather, Climate, and Society
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/25/2015
Publication Date: 7/1/2015
Publication URL:
Citation: Klos, P., Abatzoglou, J., Bean, A., Blades, J., Clark, M.A., Dodd, M., Hall, T.E., Haruch, A., Higuera, P.E., Holbrook, J.D., Jansen, V.S., Kemp, K., Lankford, A., Link, T.E., Magney, T., Meddens, A.J., Mitchell, L., Moore, B., Morgan, P., Newingham, B.A., Niemeyer, R.J., Soderquist, B., Suazo, A.A., Vierling, K.T., Walden, V., Walsh, C. 2015. Indicators of climate change in Idaho: An assessment framework for coupling biophysical change and social perception. Weather, Climate, and Society. 7:238-254.

Interpretive Summary: In the face of climate change, land managers need information to adapt management practices and decisions in future climate. Establishing indicators of climate change would facilitate end-users to incorporate climate change information into land management. Using an interdisciplinary team, which included social and biophysical scientists, we 1) conducted a statewide survey of natural resource managers and professionals in Idaho to assess what they deemed as important indicators of climate change, and 2) explored if that type of data was available. Survey respondents stated water availability, drought, plant productivity, and wildland fire as the top four climate change indicators, which were all related to precipitation. We were only able to obtain historical data for water availability, drought, and wildland fire. Other data sets deemed important to managers and professionals (distribution of plant and animal species and timing of outdoor recreation windows) were lacking. Our basic framework will help others create local-to-regional scale climate change assessments that overlap social importance with biophysical changes.

Technical Abstract: Climate change is well documented at the global scale, but local and regional changes are not as well understood. Finer, local-to-regional scale information is needed for creating specific, place-based planning and adaption efforts. Here we detail the development of an indicator-focused climate change assessment in Idaho. This interdisciplinary framework couples end-users' data needs with observed, biophysical changes at local-to-regional scales. An online statewide survey of natural resource professionals was conducted to assess the perceived impacts from climate change and determine the biophysical data needed to measure those impacts. Changes to water resources and wildfire risk were the highest areas of concern among resource professionals. Guided by the survey results, 15 biophysical indicator datasets were summarized that included direct climate metrics (e.g. air temperature) and indicators only partially influenced by climate (e.g. wildfire). Quantitative changes in indicators were determined using time series analysis from 1975-2010. Indicators displayed trends of varying likelihood over the analysis period, including increasing growing season length, increasing annual temperature, increasing forest area burned, changing mountain bluebird and lilac phenology, increasing precipitation intensity, earlier center of timing of streamflow, and decreased 1 April snowpack; changes in volumetric streamflow, salmon migration dates, and stream temperature displayed the least likelihood. A final conceptual framework derived from the social and biophysical data provides an interdisciplinary case example useful for consideration by others when choosing indicators at local-to-regional scales for climate change assessments.