Articles

Research Data Collection at the Reynolds Creek Experimental Watershed

by: D. Marks, M. Seyfried, G. Flerchinger and A. Winstral

Volume 2007, No. 4, 2 Jun 2007

To understand how variations in climate, land use, and land cover will impact water, ecosystem, and natural resources in snow-dominated regions, we must have access to long-term hydrologic and climatic databases. Data from watersheds that include significant human activities, such as grazing, farming, irrigation and urbanization, are critical for determining the signature of human induced changes on hydrologic processes and the water cycle. One of the primary components of effective watershed research is a sustained, long-term monitoring and measurement program. Such an effort was undertaken when the Reynolds Creek Experimental Watershed (RCEW) was added to the USDA Agricultural Research Service watershed program in 1960. The RCEW, a 239 km 2 drainage in the Owyhee Mountains near Boise, Idaho, has been continuously monitored since the early 1960's and continues to the present. The vision for RCEW as an outdoor hydrologic laboratory in which watershed re search would be supported by sustained, long-term monitoring of basic hydro-climatic parameters was described in 1965 in the first volume of  Water Resources Research . Research at the RCEW continues to be supported by monitoring at 9 weirs, 21 primary and 4 secondary meteorological measurement stations, 24 precipitation stations, 8 snow courses, 5 snow study sites, 14 soil temperature profiles, 4 soil moisture profiles and 3 sub-surf ace hill-slope hydrology sites.  These support a wide range of experimental investigations including snow hydrology and physics, cold season hydrology, water quality, model development and testing, water and carbon flux experiments, ecosystem processes studies, grazing effects, and mountain climate research. Active watershed manipulation allows research on fire ecology and hydrology, vegetation-climate interaction, watershed restoration, grazing and wildlife management, and invasive plants. All data are ingested into a computer database, and available to the public vi a both web-based and on-line ftp access.   

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NOAA Climate Data Stewardship: Progress through Partnerships

by Robert J. Leffler, Michael J. Brewer, Robert E. Livezey, Robert W. Reeves, Myron Berger, Timothy W. Owen, Karsten Shein

Volume 2007, No. 3, 2 Jun 2007

Recent changes in the organizational structure of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have created an environment conducive to improved end-to-end agency climate data stewardship.  Changes include the reintroduction of a climate services program into the National Weather Service (NWS) through the creation of a Climate Services Division (CSD) at the headquarters level, the creation of a NWS liaison at the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), and the addition of six Regional Climate Centers as contractual support for NCDC. Action is being undertaken to mitigate deficiencies identified in the current surface weather and climate data collection, quality control, and dissemination process. Central to the effort in improving NOAA’s end-to-end data stewardship process is the strengthened partnerships and related coordination and collaboration between these different organizations. Strengthened partnerships, data policy changes, staff training in climate principles, and more effective operational practices ensure compliance with climate community needs and pay immediate dividends through increased data quality and data availability for all users.  The evolution and changes noted above are documented. Future agency priorities for additional improvements that further protect the integrity of the nation’s climate record are also discussed.  

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Agricultural Climatology

by Kenneth G. Hubbard

Volume 2007, No. 2, 2 Jun 2007

Agricultural Climatology can play a role in decisions related to “What Crop Should I Plant?”, “When Should I  Plant?”, “What Hybrid Should I Plant?”, “What is  Happening with Crops in other Parts of the  World?”, and “Where Should the Feedlot be  Located?”.  There are a host of other questions that  Agricultural Climatology can help to answer  including: “What Seeding Density Should I  Choose?”, “What is the Optimal Fertilizer  Treatment?”, “How do I Choose Effective Pest  Treatment?”, “When should I conduct aerial  spraying?”, “Is Irrigation an Effective Option?”,  “Can I Grow a Second Crop?”, “Will an On-the- Farm Wind Energy Plant be Cost Effective?”,  “Where is the Optimal Location of a new Ethanol  Plant?”, “Is the Duration of the Growing Season  Changing?”, and “Is the Likelihood of Heat  Stress Changing?”.  For Agricultural Climatology to reach its potential with respect to these and other decisions federal investments and commitments are needed.  First and foremost the federal government must commit to supporting data gathering networks.  Secondly, the federal institutions must support the infrastructure necessary to archive and disseminate the basic data. Quality  Control/Assurance must be standardized between  agencies and institutions and any changes to  existing data sets should be synchronized so that  all parties have the “best” available data. A suite of standardized products should be supported so  that the data can be provided to potential users in  the agricultural sector in  formats that are readily used.   

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The Past and Future of Climate-related Services in the United States

By Stanley A. Changnon

Volume 2007, No. 1, 1 Jun 2007

Climate information has been the foundation upon which the nation’s weather-sensitive activities and infrastructure have been developed over the past 200 years. By 1970, climate services had begun to move to a new level of recognition and ever higher value to the climate-sensitive sectors of the nation. The past four decades have seen a series of scientific advances and technological changes that have vastly enhanced the provision of climate information. Atmospheric scientists created major improvements in weather-sensing instruments, in data quality and its archival, in the ease of accessing data and climate information, and in the generation of user-friendly climate products. Coupled with these advances have been national and global economic conditions and government policies that have acted to greatly increase the demand for climate products. On the government side, there has been establishment of state climatologists in all states, a national network of six regional climate cen ters, and an enhanced national data center. On the business side, there has been a rapid expansion into climatology, bringing new climate-based products and services to a vast array of climate-sensitive businesses and government agencies. However, not all aspects of climate services are at an optimum level. Five limitations need future attention to achieve optimum usage of climate information: better climate training; stabilization of weather/climate measurements; enhanced outreach to users; better information on climate impacts; and knowledge of effects of climate change. Regardless, provision of climate data and information is the oldest atmospheric sciences activity in service to society and its most successful.  

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