Natural Resource Assessments

RPA Assessment and Climate Change

Examining the condition of a forest stand

The 2010 RPA assessments provide a snapshot of current U.S. forest and rangeland conditions, and project conditions 50 years into the future to 2060.

Presenter: 
Linda Joyce
Publication date: 
11/17/2010

Options for Natural Resource Management Under a Changing Climate

Woman working in the field

How can natural resource managers use climate change assessments as a resource, and what are some general options for adaptating to a changing climate?

Presenter: 
Linda Joyce
Publication date: 
05/11/2007

Managing Natural Resources in the Face of Uncertainty

A group discussing mangement options

What's a resource manager to do about climate change? One general approach is to address uncertainty with scenarios, vulnerability and risk assessment, robust decisions, and monitoring.

Presenter: 
Jim Morrison
Publication date: 
05/12/2010

Projecting Climate Change in the United States: Developing climate projections to support the Forest Service RPA 2010 Assessment

Contact First Name: 
Linda
Contact Last Name: 
Joyce
Principal Investigator(s): 
Linda Joyce
Research Partners: 
David T. Price, Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Northern Forestry Centre, Edmonton, AB, Canada; Daniel W. McKenney, Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Great Lakes Forestry Centre, Sault Ste Marie, ON, Canada; David P. Coulson, USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fort Collins, CO, USA; R. Martin Siltanen, Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Northern Forestry Centre, Edmonton, AB, Canada; Pia Papadopol, Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Great Lakes Forestry Centre, Sault Ste Marie, ON, Canada; Kevin Lawrence, Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Great Lakes Forestry Centre, Sault Ste Marie, ON, Canada
FS Research Station(s): 
Rocky Mountain Research Station
Summary: 

For the 2010 USDA Forest Service Resource Planning Act (RPA) Assessment, a scenario-based approach is being used. A set of future U.S. scenarios, the RPA Scenarios, linked with IPCC global scenarios, provide a coherent interdependent future for population dynamics, socioeconomic factors and climate change, 50 years into the future. This project developed the historical and projected climate data set being used in concert with the socioeconomic data in resource models of forest condition, water supply/use projections, wildlife habitat, recreation participation, and amenity migration for the RPA Assessment.

Project Abstract: 

In order to provide a diverse set of economic and population futures, the RPA scenarios were linked to the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES) A1B, A2 and B2, and data on U.S. populations and economic growth. Climate projections driven by these scenarios were available at the global spatial scale, too large a scale for assessing climate change effects in the RPA Assessment. Researchers from the USDA Forest Service and the Canadian Forest Service collaborated in the production of a suite of downscaled change factors to use in developing climate projections covering the continental United States and Canada. This project, also collaborative, developed the conterminous U.S. climate projections for the three scenarios (A1B, A2, and B2) and for each of three climate models. The A1B and A2 scenarios drive three climate models: CGCM3.1(T47), CSIRO-MK3.5(T63), and MIROC3.2(medres) from the Fourth IPCC Assessment. The B2 scenario drives the climate models CGCM2, CSIRO-MK2, and UKMO-HadCM3 used in the IPCC Third Assessment. The climate variables are: monthly total precipitation in millimeters (mm), monthly mean daily maximum air temperature in degrees Celsius (°C), and monthly mean daily minimum air temperature in degrees Celsius (°C). The downscaled change factors were used to develop nine future climate projections for the conterminous United States. Computed monthly mean daily potential evapotranspiration (mm) and mean grid elevation in meters (m) are also included in the data set. Downscaled climate data were developed for the period 1960-2100 at the 5 arcminute grid scale (approximately 9.25 km grid at the equator) for the conterminous United States. These data were also summarized to the U.S. county level. The development of this climate dataset creates a nationally consistent set of scenario-based climate projections for the RPA Assessment.

Expected Outcomes: 

The downscaled climate projections and the historical climate data for the conterminous United States are available at the U.S. county scale and at the 5 arcminute grid scale on the Forest Service Research Archive.

Coulson, David P.; Joyce, Linda A. Historical climate data (1940-2006) for the conterminous United States at the 5 arcminute grid spatial scale based on PRISM climatology. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.2737/RDS-2010-0011

Coulson, David P.; Joyce, Linda A. Historical Climate data (1940-2006) for the conterminous United States at the county spatial scale based on PRISM climatology. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. Available: DOI URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.2737/RDS-2010-0010

Coulson, David P.; Joyce, Linda A.; Price, David T.; McKenney, Daniel W.; Siltanen, R. Martin; Papadopol, Pia; Lawrence, Kevin. 2010. Climate Scenarios for the conterminous United States at the 5 arc minute grid spatial scale using SRES scenarios A1B and A2 and PRISM climatology. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. Available: DOI URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.2737/RDS-2010-0017

Coulson, David P.; Joyce, Linda A.; Price, David T.; McKenney, Daniel W. 2010. Climate Scenarios for the conterminous United States at the 5 arc minute grid spatial scale using SRES scenario B2 and PRISM climatology. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. Available: DOI URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.2737/RDS-2010-0018

Coulson, David P.; Joyce, Linda A.; Price, David T.; McKenney, Daniel W.; Siltanen, R. Martin; Papadopol, Pia; Lawrence, Kevin. 2010. Climate Scenarios for the conterminous United States at the county spatial scale using SRES scenarios A1B and A2 and PRISM climatology. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. Available: DOI URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.2737/RDS-2010-0008

Coulson, David P.; Joyce, Linda A.; Price, David T.; McKenney, Daniel W. 2010. Climate Scenarios for the conterminous United States at the county spatial scale using SRES scenario B2 and PRISM climatology. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station.Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.2737/RDS-2010-0009

The project uses the change factor (‘delta’) data developed for the continental United States and Canada, in a collaborative effort between the Canadian Forest Service and the US Forest Service. The change factors at the scale of 5 arcminutes were used with historical climatology from PRISM in this study to develop the climate projections used in the RPA Assessment. However, the change factor data set has utility to users who have their own historical climatology or wish to use one of the many historical climatologies available to develop a set of climate projections for the continental United States (all states but Hawaii). The downscaling methods are described in Price and others (2011a) and Joyce and others (2011). The downscaled change factors at the 5 arcminute spatial scale are available on the web; see project description in High resolution interpolation of climate scenario change factors for the conterminous USA derived from AR4 General Circulation Model simulations also on the CCRC site.

Joyce, Linda A.; Price, David T.; McKenney, Daniel W.; Siltanen, R. Martin; Papadopol, Pia; Lawrence, Kevin; and Coulson, David P. 2011. High Resolution Interpolation of Climate Scenarios for the Conterminous USA and Alaska Derived from General Circulation Model Simulations. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-263. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 87 p. www.fs.fed.us/rm/pubs/rmrs_gtr263.html

Price, D.T.; McKenney, D.W. ; Joyce, L.A. ; Siltanen, R.M.; Papadopol, P. ; Lawrence, K. 2011.High-Resolution Interpolatio n of Climate Scenarios for Canada Derived from General Circulation Model Simulations.Nat. Resour. Can., Can. For. Serv., North. For. Cent., Edmonton, AB.Inf. Rep. NOR-X-421. http://cfs.nrcan.gc.ca/publications/download-pdf/32971

Research Results: 

Joyce, Linda A.; Price, David T.; Coulson, David P.; McKenney, Daniel W.; Siltanen, R. Martin; Papadopol, Pia; Lawrence, Kevin. In review. Projecting Climate Change in the United States: A Technical Document Supporting the Forest Service RPA 2010 Assessment. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-XXX. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station.

Geographic Region: 
International
United States
Project Status: 
Action

Condition of Forest and Rangeland Resources

Contact First Name: 
Linda
Contact Last Name: 
Joyce
FS Research Station(s): 
Rocky Mountain Research Station
Summary: 

Will climate change affect the forest productivity and the forest sector in the United States? The Forest Service conducts periodic assessments of the condition of forest and rangeland resources under the authority of the Renewable Resources Planning Act (RPA). These periodic assessments synthesize and integrate the current state of scientific knowledge for policy discussions. Increasing concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide has raised concerns about the vulnerability of forest to the elevated carbon dioxide and potential changes in climate and climate variability. The Forest Service is mandated by the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act (RPA) of 1974 (as amended in 1990) to prepare a Renewable Resources Assessment to assess the impact of climate change on the condition of renewable resources on forests and rangelands, and to identify the rural and urban forestry opportunities to mitigate the buildup of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Since 1990, RMRS scientists have provided the technical analyses of climate change for the RPA assessments.

Geographic Region: 
United States
Project Status: 
Complete
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