CPASW 2008

Presentation Abstracts


(Listed alphabetically by first author)




Teddy Allen

Department of Geography, EastCarolinaUniversity

Greenville, North Carolina


The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) varies between positive and negative phases that influence global atmospheric circulation patterns. The seasonal strength of the Caribbean low-level jet responds to the phases of the NAO and contributes to precipitation variability throughout the Caribbean region. The Caribbean low level jet, with a maximum at 925mb, together with the 200mb winds influences the magnitude of the regional Mid Summer Drought. A strong vertical wind shear further suppresses the precipitation minimum during the Mid Summer Drought by reducing overall convective processes. This scenario can increase crop stress, which creates concern for local farmers and economies that depend on agricultural productivity.

Jamaica represents a prime example of a nation that exists within the Mid Summer Drought region that relies upon agriculture as a major component of their economy. NCAR reanalysis 925mb and 200mb wind data along with surface pressures and station rain gauge data are used to establish the relationship between the NAO, the Caribbean low level jet, and the overall magnitude of the Jamaican Mid Summer Drought. A better understanding of the onset and magnitude of the Mid Summer Drought assists farming communities in preparing for particular conditions to maximize productivity.




Karl Benedict, Ph.D.

Earth Data Analysis Center, University of New Mexico




For nearly 10-years the members of Federation of Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP Federation) have worked to develop, promote, and deploy reusable, standards-based data services, both for use within the Federation and for external project partners. This poster explains and illustrates some of the data services and service models developed by Federation members. These models include services that are based upon the geospatial data standards developed by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), web and data structure standards developed by the World-Wide-Web Consortium (W3C), metadata standards developed by the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) and the International Standards Organization (ISO), and specifications developed by communities of developers. The development of standards- based technologies within the Federation membership has greatly streamlined access to and distribution of data and data-based products, with the experience of the Federation membership providing a rich collection of service-based examples which may be used to inform the development of new applications.





Tony Boyter

U.S. Navy Climatology Center

Asheville NC


Navy Climatology Supports:

- USN Ship Transits - entire ocean basin or multiple basins includes all basic weather elements

- Global Submarine Surveillance - primarily winds, waves and ocean temperature profiles

- Exercise/Operations Planning? Specific location all basic weather elements

- Weapons/Platform Deployment/Development? Regional area support for usually one or two specific weather elements






Mark Brooks, Ryan Boyles

State Climate Office of North Carolina

North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7236


Water supply issues are becoming more economically and socially important than ever before. Reliable and timely monitoring of water resource data is critical for the operations and policy of the state and individual municipalities. With funding from the North Carolina Division of Water Resources (NC DWR), the State Climate Office of North Carolina (SCO) developed CRONOS H2O. CRONOS H2O is part of the Climate Retrieval and Observations Network of the Southeast (CRONOS) already developed by the SCO. CRONOS H2O is a database and dissemination tool that helps agencies and citizens monitor water resource data from several different sources. Streamflows, groundwater, reservoir levels, and precipitation from USGS, NC DWR, Army Corps of Engineers, and the National Weather Service are available via one database and web-interface. Assimilating such data enables quick visualization of current and past conditions and other derived tools, such as streamflow and precipitation percentiles. CRONOS H2O is being used extensively by NC DWR and other water resources groups to shape policy, make decisions, and monitor North Carolinas water resources.

The SCO, a public-service center and extension of the UNC system, works closely with NC state agencies, researchers and user-groups to serve the climate needs of North Carolina. Its core mission is extension, research, and education. The SCO has a team of meteorologists with expertise in research, extension and application development.




J.L. Camacho (1), D. Cano (1), P. Cervign (2), J. Daz (2), A.M. Gutirrez (2), J. Subiza (2)

(1) National Institute of Meteorology, Spain (2) PalinoCAM Network, Autonomous Region of Madrid, Spain, (3)




Medical urgencies related to allergenic pollens have increased in the last decades. More than 5% of the around 6 million people living at the autonomous Madrid region had an asthma crisis connected to this hazard only in the last year. PalinoCAM Network has ten stations monitoring up to 24 pollen species. Madrid Health Institute issues daily data and forecasts in close cooperation with Spanish National Institute of Meteorology. First objective of the present study is to improve forecasting of start of Platanus pollen season forecasts, in order to provide early warning to allergists and allergic patients due to the high number of asthma cases just after the first peak of the season. Usually, this date happens on mid-March but it could range from early to late March, so accurate warning brings a social and economic benefit. A preliminary evaluation on YES/NO early start could be done at the end on February based on climate data. Second objective is early evaluation of the overall conditions for a weak, normal or strong grass season and monitoring and forecasting grass pollen peaks inside the core of the pollination season. Such peaks also provoke a high number of urgencies related to asthma cases. As grass pollen season has duration that ranges between one to two months, forecasting such peaks helps in hospital management and in adequate information delivered to the public and mass media. Data and tools used: Meteorological data from INM stations within the Madrid region and European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts operational numerical prediction model. Statistical models: ARIMA, Multivariate. Pollen accounts from PalinoCAM network (1994 2006). Pollen records from 1979 to 2006 at Madrid (General Pardias). Methods: Definition of the climate variables related to start of Platanus pollination season and peaks inside the grass pollen season using statistical techniques. Multivariate and auto-regressive integrated moving average models are used to provide climate patterns and forecasts. Once climate scenarios are defined for those events, numerical prediction models are running at the appropriate time of the year to forecast in advance weather that could match with such scenarios to provide early warning. Climate variables are correlated to numerical prediction model outputs and direct correlations from numerical model outputs and pollen counts were established to refine the forecasting tool. This work is a result from close interdisciplinary cooperation between National Institute of Meteorology and institutions at different levels at Madrid Region integrated at the PalinoCAM network: national and regional, public and private. It is scheduled to broadcast those forecasts on the Internet.




Aston Chipanshi, Harvey Hill & Gordon Sparks

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and The University of Saskatchewan


A goal of NOAA and other agencies has been to utilize climate forecasts and information innovatively to enhance decision-making. This presentation describes a pilot study that integrates climate information, hydrology, geographic information systems, and economics. The goal of the integration is to develop a methodology to assess the expected cost and impact of alternative extreme rainfall events on infrastructure systems. Secondly it describes how the alternative adaptation responses are assessed in terms of costs and benefits stochastically. The presentation concludes with a description of the next steps planned to integrate this into operational settings.





Jack E. Davis and William R. Curtis

Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory

USAE Research and Development Center

Vicksburg , MS 39180


Impacts of climate change and climate variation to the US Army Corps of Engineers civil works program vary across mission areas. Projected impacts are causing the Corps to reconsider how coastal and inland flood risk is assessed, managed and mitigated. Riverine and Great Lakes navigation is susceptible to long-term drought and climate driven water levels. Changing precipitation and temperature patterns significantly influence water control operations in the west for water supply, ecosystem restoration and flood control. In addition to ecosystem restoration, Corps regulatory responsibilities are also affected, as wetland habitat and habitat for threatened and endangered species changes are already being realized.

The challenge for the Corps and all water resource manage agencies is to interpret the science related to climate projections, assess potential impacts, then translate those impacts to criteria for project planning, design and effective operation. The Corps is meeting this challenge by collaborating with Federal and non-federal management agencies regarding appropriate response to climate change, and coordinating with research efforts to define uncertainty and develop methods to manage risk associated with climate projections and assessments. This presentation provides an overview of the Corps research activities related to characterizing climate variability impacts to project operations, and to explore alternative mitigation strategies to offset expected climate variability impacts.




J. Greg Dobson and James F. Fox

University of North Carolina - Asheville


Comprehensive climate data exists within many federal, regional, and state agencies. There is now more climate information available than ever before, which can potentially improve decision making at multiple levels and across multiple sectors. However, much of the climate information is not in formats that are easily interpreted by the non-scientific community. Through the support of a multi-disciplinary collaboration involving the University of North Carolina at Asheville (UNCA), the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) at UNCA, the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), and the North Carolina State Climate Office, the issue of making raw climate data more meaningful to such local decision making groups as city and county councils, emergency and first responders, and community planners is being addressed through applied research. Additional collaborative support comes from a working relationship with the Greenville-Spartanburg National Weather Service Forecast Office.
The focus is to ingest climate data from multiple sources and integrate the data with a variety of other datasets, including economic, cadastral, infrastructure, and physical data. Data integration occurs at a county and regional scale in order to facilitate local decision making addressing issues that affect these areas directly, such as weather-related hazards, climate change, and land use planning. Geospatial Visualization techniques, including geographic information systems (GIS), Google Earth, and other open-source and online applications, are used to create a variety of integrated climate data products. Many of the products are 3D in nature (e.g. graphics, posters, animations) in an effort to simulate a virtual experience of the data and locations that the data relates to.
A particular case-study examined the Swannanoa Watershed in Western North Carolina, and a working prototype of integrated climate data products for this specific local area is presented. Dissemination of the products has included numerous presentations to various decision making groups utilizing multiple platforms (e.g. VizWall, GeoDome, Internet). Initial feedback and results collected from these groups suggests that Geospatial Visualization techniques could be excellent tools for this type of data integration, distribution, and education/outreach. It appears that local decision makers and the general public can better relate to integrated climate data products than to raw climate data.




M.M. Elsner, J.S. Littell, E.L. Miles, D.P. Lettenmaier

Climate Impacts Group, University of Washington


In April 2007, the State of Washington passed House Bill 1303 which mandated the preparation of a comprehensive statewide assessment of the impacts of climate change on the state over the next 50 years. The Climate Impacts Group (CIG) at the University of Washington has the lead for this effort, and is working with other state agencies and research organizations to prepare the most comprehensive assessment of climate change impacts on the state to date. CIGs mandate is to produce a comprehensive assessment that will utilize the most recent available technology and to present it in a form that can be used by natural resource managers and the public alike. The assessment is focused on the impacts of climate change in eight sectors: public health, agriculture, the coastal zone, forest ecosystems, salmon, infrastructure, energy, and water supply and management. We discuss the integrated approach being used in the assessment, which is structured around scientific expertise within the CIG, as well as at Washington State University and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. In addition to the eight sector groups, the team consists of a Climate Scenarios Working Group that serves all other sectors by providing projections of future regional climate downscaled to the state of Washington, and an Adaptation Group that will consider issues related to preparing for climate change. We discuss how projections for the 21st Century, based on simulations performed for the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), are used as a basis for other sectors to evaluate the impacts of climate change. We also discuss CIGs cooperation with Preparation/Adaptation Working Groups (PAWGS) that were formed by the Governors Executive Order 07-02 which charges them with making recommendations on how Washington can prepare and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Both the internal CIG research and the PAWG process have resulted in identification of emerging stakeholder needs for climate predictions and information.




M.M. Elsner, J.S. Littell, E.L. Miles, D.P. Lettenmaier

Climate Impacts Group, University of Washington




Climate change has and will continue to cause substantial changes in temperature, precipitation and related variables (e.g., streamflow timing and volume) in the western U.S. and more specifically across the state of Washington. The Climate Impacts Group at the University of Washington, in cooperation with Washington State University and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, is performing a comprehensive assessment of the impacts of climate change on Washington State, which was mandated through State House Bill 1303. The assessment utilizes an integrated approach to evaluate the impacts of climate change in relation to public health, agriculture, the coastal zone, forest ecosystems, salmon, infrastructure, energy, and water supply and management. In addition to the eight sector groups, the team includes a Climate Scenarios Working Group that serves all other sectors by providing projections of future regional climate downscaled to the state of Washington. The Scenarios Working Group bases its projections on results from simulations performed for the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). We present our projections of the range of 21st Century climate over the state of Washington and the Pacific Northwest, along with our estimates of the range of sea level rise that can be expected by Washington s coastal areas over the next century. We also report findings to date of each of the sector groups, and identify data gaps and needs for future research.





Daniel Ferguson, Anne Browning-Aiken, Gregg Garfin, Daniel McDonald, Marta Stuart, Jennifer Rice

CLIMAS-Institute for the Study of Planet Earth, University of Arizona,

Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, University of Arizona,

Arizona Cooperative Extension, University of Arizona,

Department of Geography, University of Arizona


The mission of the Climate Assessment for the Southwest (CLIMAS) program is to improve the regions ability to respond sufficiently and appropriately to climate events, variability, and changes. The program promotes participatory, iterative research involving scientists, decision makers, resource users, educators, and others who need more and better information about climate and its impacts. The CLIMAS Stakeholder Evaluation project, currently underway, is examining CLIMAS efforts to engage stakeholders on climate-related topics (with a particular emphasis on drought-related engagement) through a broad array of efforts between 2002 and 2007. The evaluation is designed to systematically examine a variety of methods employed by CLIMAS researchers and the core office to engage stakeholders.
The primary goals of the evaluation project are to determine: (a) penetration of CLIMAS information to stakeholders, (b) the perceived salience, credibility and legitimacy of CLIMAS research and outreach, and (c) changes in stakeholder attitudes, knowledge, and behavior as a result of partnerships and collaborative processes. The six-person evaluation team is comprised of both CLIMAS team members and experienced program evaluators with no CLIMAS contact prior to this effort. The team is using an evaluation approach that includes a survey, key informant interviews, and focus groups.
The knowledge generated by this project will provide a broad array of insights into the successes and challenges of a long-term, stakeholder-driven climate research and outreach effort. This knowledge is important both for the future success of the CLIMAS project itself, but more generally it will offer guidance for other initiatives with similar operational models, like the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS).





Josh Foster

UCAR/NOAA, Climate Program Office, Silver Spring, MD


In the last five years, momentum in NOAA to establish research to operations and applications transition mechanisms has grown as a result of external recommendations (e.g. National Research Council reports, CCSP Strategic Plan) and internal policy changes. In May 2005, NOAA issued an Administrative Order (NAO) 216-105 for a Policy on Transition of Research to Applications. The NOAA Climate Transition Program (NCTP) was launched in 2003, changing its name to TRACS in 2005. The mission of the TRACS Program is to use competitive research grants to transition experimentally mature climate information tools, methods, and processes, including computer related applications (e.g. web interfaces, visualization tools), from research mode into settings where they may be applied in an operational and sustained manner. The primary goal is to generate sustained delivery of useful climate information products and services to local, regional, national, and international decision and policy makers. A secondary goal seeks not only to support implementation of these transitions, but also to learn from partners how to better accomplish technology transition processes for public goods applications and improved risk management. Led primarily from the university and Federal laboratory research communities, TRACS emphasizes engaging with operations, extension, and user communities in transition partnership projects. TRACS is designed to accommodate four types of transition project partnerships: 1) Within NOAA units; 2) From external partners to NOAA; 3) From NOAA to external partners; 4) Among external (NOAA) partners (using NOAA funds). Beginning in 2005, TRACS has funded the start of projects involving universities working with a range of partners, including but not limited to, Regional Climate Centers, State Sea Grant, emergency and coastal managers, the Naval Ice Center, and agricultural extension agents. Transition projects have involved a number of decision support tools, including a distributed interactive access and resource interface for fine scale climate data known as WESTMAP, the capability to forecast sea ice in the Arctic on weekly to seasonal timescales, a tool linking east coast seasonal winter storm track forecasts to planning and management of storm surge, and climate forecast decision making tools for farmers. TRACS expects the first transition projects to be completed in 2008 defined as a sustained hand-off of a fully functional climate decision support application to an operational partner.





Clyde W. Fraisse, Joel Paz and David Zierden

University of Florida,

University of Georgia,

Florida State University is a web-based climate forecast and decision support system developed by the Southeast Climate Consortium (SECC) in partnership with the Cooperative State Extension Service. The SECC is a coalition of six universities - Florida State University, University of Florida, University of Miami, University of Georgia, Auburn University, and University of Alabama-Huntsville. AgClimate which has been operational since 2005, provides users climate forecasts and climate-based risk management tools for selected crops, forestry, pasture, and livestock. Since its initial release, AgClimate has evolved into a system that responds better to the needs of stakeholders as a result of users feedback and constant interactions with extension faculty. New modules are in the process of being incorporated into the system such as the inclusion of crop disease forecasting models and in-season updates of derived variables of interest to agriculture such as chill accumulation and growing degree days. This paper will discuss these new developments and future enhancements planned for the system.




G. Garfin, H. Hartmann, E. Lay, K. Dow, C. Fraisse, G. Carbone, D. Bathke, L. Demouche, M. Higgins, C. Roncoli, J. Rhee, M. Crimmins, V. Cabrera, M. Marsalis, A. Olsson, R. Vazquez, M. Bean, A. Thwaits

U. Arizona, U. South Carolina, U. Florida, New Mexico State U., Syracuse U., U. Georgia


The NOAA RISA program's Coping With Drought initiative provides a unique incubator for cross-regional knowledge exchange. This talk contrasts progress on two projects that seek to improve stakeholder access to drought information by broadly implementing web-based tools developed within narrowly-defined regional contexts. The projects focus on transfer of the Southeast Climate Consortium's AgClimate tool to New Mexico, the Carolinas Integrated Sciences and Assessments' Dynamic Drought Index Tool to Arizona and New Mexico, and the Climate Assessment for the Southwest/Arizona Cooperative Extension's Drought Impact Reporting System to the Carolinas. We will examine the tech transfer implications of open source code and distributed software development designed to scale a regional product for use in multiple regions with the discrete transfer of code, from a single entity to another single entity, for a set of well-defined, but expandable, set of tools. We will also contrast lessons learned from stakeholder interactions to date.




Lisa Goddard, Kelly Redmond, and Meg Austin

IRI, Columbia University

Western Region Climate Center



This postdoctoral program was conceived and developed by the US CLIVAR panel on Predictability, Prediction and Application Interface (PPAI). The mission of the PPAI panel is to encourage improved practices in the provision, validation and use of climate forecast information on sub-seasonal to centennial time scales through broad but coordinated participation within the US and active collaboration with the international climate and climate applications communities. A primary goal of this panel ( is, To enable the use of CLIVAR science for improved decision support. Making progress in interfacing climate science with decision and information systems requires more than just good climate information; it requires a dedicated effort to understanding the problems and possibilities on both sides. To complement strategies tried in the past (hosting meetings of climate scientists and decision makers; trans-disciplinary research), which although useful reach a limited and finite audience, we sought a new approach. The idea was to develop a new population of individuals qualified to work closely with both the climate research and decision making communities, through a targeted and trans-disciplinary postdoctoral program. This presentation will describe the program its goals, design, and how it is currently succeeding as the program enters its first year.





Jon Gottschalck, Sarah Trainor, Wayne Higgins, Tim Eichler

NOAA / Climate Prediction Center,

Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy,

Saint Louis University




At the Climate Prediction Applications Science Workshop (CPASW) in Seattle, Washington during March 2007, current storminess related monitoring, assessment, and prediction-related activities ongoing at the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) were described along with initial interaction with Alaska interests. An additional goal was to build linkages with interested partners to better focus resources for developing storminess related products at multiple time scales (i.e., weekly, monthly, and seasonal). In the year since, substantial progress has been made for the initiation and development of a more focused and formal collaborative effort between the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy (ACCAP) and CPC expedited by the Climate Test Bed (CTB)Regional Integrated Sciences Assessment (RISA) program.
Progress to date of this collaboration is described and includes the organization of an Alaska wide teleconference for a variety of Alaska stakeholders to learn about CPC storminess related products and potential capabilities. The above teleconference has led to a prioritized list of work items that in part will be included in a formalized workplan currently being developed. Some initial results and plans are presented and include work in three areas - (1) evaluation of storminess related numerical model results from the next generation Climate Forecast System (CFS), (2) development of a storminess index that includes information about storm frequency, duration, and intensity into a single index, and (3) plans for the development of a storminess-related probabilistic tool for the 6-10 day and 8-14 day time periods using the Global Forecast System (GFS) and later the CFS for longer time ranges (monthly, seasonal). Finally, it is hoped that the framework being utilized as part of this collaboration can be applied to other CPC products and potentially other partners wishing to work more closely with CPC.





Bart Hagemeyer




The author has investigated the relationship of El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), the Arctic Oscillation (AO), and the Pacific North American oscillation (PNA) to extreme variability of temperature, rainfall and storminess in the Florida dry season since 1997. The author's latest work has focused on the attribution of these teleconnections to extreme variability of seasonal weather events with a significant societal impact ranging from drought and wildfire, to cold outbreaks and severe weather from intense extratropical cyclones using logistic regression (LR). In addition, LR was used to calibrate the strength of teleconnections (i.e., weak, moderate, strong) based on a probabilistic measure of their impact at a location.
An advantage of using LR is that customers can be involved in the database development by defining the thresholds for critical values that are most important to their particular endeavor with the result being customized probabilistic forecasts of the impact of the teleconnections. Although the author's work has been for the Florida dry season, the basic methodology can be adapted to any area with an available dataset and to any customer with a critical seasonal forecast problem to solve probabilistically.
Traditional deterministic methods to predict the impact of ENSO on a customer have considerable drawbacks. Consider the El Nino of 2006-07; was it a weak, moderate or strong? What should a user of a seasonal rainfall forecast do to exploit the occurrence to their advantage? Conventional wisdom holds that an El Nino should result in wetter than normal conditions in Florida during the dry season, and many people were surprised when the expected heavy rain did not occur. However, using logistic regression for a variety of user scenarios based on the most recent El Nino indicated that the event was weak in the context of expected impact on rainfall and there was only a 40% chance of excessive seasonal rainfall. This is a wealth of information for decision-makers beyond saying that El Nino is wet in Florida. LR can be used in concert with a specific customer and their critical threshold to determine the relative strength of a teleconnection event to that customer and provide a probabilistic forecast of a negative or positive impact. Examples will be shown for a number of scenarios for ENSO, AO/NAO and the PNA.





Holly C. Hartmann, Leigh Welling, Lee Macholz

University of Arizona,

National Park Service,

University of Montana


Climate changes associated with global warming pose myriad risks in natural resource management. The National Park Service (NPS) faces daunting challenges in addressing prospective climate change impacts; in some parks, changes threaten the existence of emblematic park attributes. Each park faces unique risks, reflecting its natural, cultural, and historical attributes, its purpose as defined in establishing authorization, the resources available for planning and implementing adaptive responses, and the uncertainty of local climate change impacts.
We experimentally applied a formal scenario planning process to two parks: Joshua Tree National Park (JTNP) in southern California, where fire regime enhancement poses risks for management of the namesake Joshua Tree; and Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park (KHNHP), where sea level rise poses risks to significant cultural resources along the coast.
The case studies focused on the question, How will we manage this park in the face of prospective climate change impacts? The formal process emphasized development of scenarios diverging across multiple dimensions, to plausibly push the boundaries of commonplace assumptions about the future rather than simply bracketing a moderate climate projection with higher and lower extremes. This process required engaging a broad range of park management and science specialists, with participation changing flexibly as the process addressed different issues.
Participants generally were familiar with NPS planning processes or evaluating management alternatives, but not with scenario planning. The guidebook prepared by the University of Washington Climate Impacts Group and King County, Preparing for Climate Change, provided important structure for identifying external driving forces and anticipated impacts across a range of management sectors.
Implementation of the scenario planning process was challenging because participants were scattered across many states, yet scenario development required repeated iterations of extensive discussion followed by data gathering and analysis. Use of a systems diagramming tool in an Internet-based meeting environment proved useful for elucidating a common understanding of linkages between driving forces, internal system dynamics, and anticipated impacts.
Adaptation strategies were developed in response to the scenarios at a 2-day workshop at JTNP. While some sea level rise scenarios initially seemed to pose insurmountable challenges, managers ultimately identified strategies that preserved the cultural importance of KHNHP. Strategies for JTNP management were more tentative, reflecting a greater variety of external stressors and system interactions. The scenario planning approach was considered useful for considering climate change in the context of complex systems and large uncertainties, and for connecting scientific analysis to management concerns and processes.






 Session Leaders: Holly Hartmann and Carol Meyer

University of Arizona

Foundation for Earth Science


 It is no secret that science information can be difficult to access, use and understand. The problem is complicated by the disparate worlds from which data providers, tool developers and end users come and the obstacles created by the seemingly foreign languages spoken by these distinct communities. This session proposes the beginning of a conversation among those

communities - represented by the RISAs and the Federation of Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP Federation) - so that researchers can build on their understanding of the real-world needs of data end users, while engaging technology developers to bring solutions to the data access, discovery and use problems.





Wayne Higgins and Mike Halpert

Climate Prediction Center


The Climate Prediction Center (CPC) plays a unique and important role in NOAA Climate Services as a provider of short term climate forecast products (weeks, months, seasons, years) that serve a diverse customer base. CPCs role depends on strong leadership to establish new partnerships (with a customer focus) that accelerate the development and delivery of forecast products and services.
This talk presents the key elements of CPCs strategy for developing climate forecast products in cooperation with external partners. The strategy includes appropriate guidelines for adding tools to CPCs climate forecast product suite, and a Climate Forecast Products Team (CPFT) that partners with customers to meet their needs for climate information. New initiatives, such as the NOAA Climate Test Bed (CTB), are opportunities to enhance these partnerships.
Potential partners need to know what the CPC priorities are for next year, the year after that, and so on. Partners also need to know what specific CPC resources will be expended in the pursuit of those priorities, a timetable for producing specific products, and what potential partners could add to these efforts. This talk provides an overview of CPC future priorities with emphasis on the strategic challenges and the strategic approach that CPC is taking to address those challenges.





Qi S. Hu, Lisa M. PytlikZillig, Kenneth G. Hubbard, Gary D. Lynne, and Roger H. Bruning

School of Natural Resources, Center for Instructional Innovation, Department of Educational Psychology, and Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Nebraska-Lincoln


A climate information transition tool, the ThinkAboutIt and its resources, was tested and evaluated in two recent workshops. Farmers from south central Nebraska participated in the workshops. The specific decision is irrigation scheduling, how much and when, in the early growing season. A scenario is described for the field and crop condition, according to observations, and climate and weather predictions and information are given. Farmers are given the option to use or not to use several sources of weather information and predictions in making this irrigation decision. In the course of decision-making, farmers have access to coaches who can help with specific predictions or weather products and how they should be interpreted. Farmers also have access to weather/climate consultants to help in deciding how a specific climate prediction or product may be used in making this specific decision. These coaching and consulting materials are built-in resources and are provided to the users through the interface of ThinkAboutIt. In this interface, farmers also can learn how their peers have used the predictions or products in this decision.
Outcomes of the workshops suggest changes in farmers perceptions and abilities in using climate and weather predictions and products if they are properly guided to know the specifics of the predictions and are shown their relevance to the decision. Details and implications of these results will be discussed in the presentation.




Akira Ito

Climate Prediction Division  

Japan Meteorological Agency




We would like to present a new operational system of providing climate information, which is called the early warning information system for extreme weather. The aim of the activity is to improve decision-making processes for reducing social damages in early stage so that the target period of the system is approximately one to two weeks prior to its occurrence. The system regularly provides probabilistic forecasting distributions focused on an extreme high or low temperature over each local region or at each specific site through the JMA Internet site. The Internet site enables users to get any probability that the temperature will exceed the requested threshold value. Furthermore, when there is a relatively high possibility of an extreme high or low temperature that may have far reaching effects on society, the early warning information system assists forecasters to issue meteorological information on the numerical probability of its occurrence with their comments.

It is expected that the early warning information is used for paddy rice production management, applied to wheat growth model and incorporated into the planning of electric supply through the participation of agricultural organizations and electric power companies.

We are particularly concerned about low temperatures in summer. This is because low summer temperatures have serious effects on the quality and yield of rice, the staple food of the Japanese people. Moreover, excessively low temperatures in summer can cause a sharp decrease in the rice yield. In July 2007, a warning was issued about low temperatures for Northern Japan. Since the predicted probability that the average temperature for the one week period from July 11 (five days after the release of the information) would be very low was as high as 40%, we provided warning information to government agencies and other related organizations on a tentative basis. They actually applied irrigation water to reduce the damage in their paddy fields. The information enabled these organizations to advise agricultural groups and farmers on appropriate preventive measures. As this example shows, the warning information provides a means of minimizing the damage to agricultural produce. We were also able to predict record-high temperatures in August 2007. So we are planning to provide other information as well, such as cautions to prevent heatstroke, when the warning system is fully implemented.





Douglas S. Kenney, Christopher Goemans, Roberta Klein, Jessica Lowrey, and Kevin Reidy

Western Water Assessment


Recent droughts, as well as an emerging scientific consensus that past and future climate variability is greater than recent experience, has led water managers throughout the Southwest to value an increased understanding of how climate affects water demand for long-term planning and how best to conserve water quickly during periods of below normal supplies. In this region and other urban areas of the semi-arid Intermountain West, residential water use accounts for a large portion of annual municipal water demands (up to 80%), and outdoor water use for landscape irrigation makes up about half of annual residential water use. This study increases the value of seasonal climate forecasts and climate change projections to water managers by improving their understanding of how households respond to changes in climatic conditions and the effectiveness of policies aimed at reducing water demand among residential customers during a time of drought.
The purpose of this study was to quantify and assess the savings associated with the various demand management program elements during and after a drought. We compared the influence of price, water use restriction, and weather on monthly residential water demand during drought and pre-drought periods using household data from 10,000 residential customers in Aurora, Colorado before and during a turbulent drought period (1997-2005). During the drought period Aurora utilized a variety of residential demand management programs to adapt to lower water availability and help ensure continued supply reliability in the event of future droughts. Policies included water use restrictions, incentive programs, introduction of new technologies, and multiple changes in billing structures and rates. Collectively, these programs reduced total annual water demand during the drought as compared to the pre-drought period.
Results from this study expand the understanding of the effect of climate and conservation policies on residential demand in at least three salient ways: first, pricing and outdoor water restriction policies interact with each other and total water savings are not additive of each program operating independently; second, the effectiveness of pricing and restrictions policies varies among different classes of customers (i.e., low, middle and high volume water users) and between pre-drought and drought periods; and third, in demonstrating that real-time information about consumptive use helps customers reach water-use targets. Future research seeks to look further into how climate affects outdoor water demand by identifying how landscape irrigation methods and lawn size affect customers reactions to price, water restrictions, and weather.





Do Kyun Kim, Ph.D., & Edward W. Maibach, Ph.D.

George Mason University, Fairfax, VA


Concern about climate change is high among scientists, the public, and other key segments of society (e.g., farmers, health professionals, policy makers). Despite the concern, people’s behavior, business practices, and public policy have been slow to change. Diffusion of Innovation Theory helps explain why these behaviors, practices and policies have been slow to change, and what can be done about it. Our presentation focuses on harnessing the profound influence opinion leaders. The success or failure of new ideas, practices, products and services often hinges on the acceptance of, and subsequent promotion by, opinion leaders. We discuss (1) the basis for why and how opinion leaders are so influential; (2) the proven effectiveness of opinion leader strategies in other domains of society (e.g., AIDS prevention); (3) the potential to harness opinion leaders to promote climate change prevention and adaptation practices; and (4) research needed to effectively scale-up such interventions.





Dr. Chester J. Koblinsky



NOAAs strategy to address the demand for climate services is evolving. The goal is to coordinate and enhance NOAAs existing capabilities and infrastructure, as well as draw upon the full suite of resources and products across the nation. The service should provide essential information and services about the nature and impacts of changing climate conditions to meet growing public demand. Topics of discussion will include the history and evolution of climate services, strategies for integrating research and services, and the importance of regional approaches.




Michelle L'Heureux, Dan Collins, Wayne Higgins, Jeff Whitaker, Tom Hamill





The partnerships between the Climate Test Bed/CPC and the Regional Integrated Science and Assessments (RISAs) have illuminated the demand from various user communities for high-resolution, sub-seasonal, probabilistic forecast products. Forecasters at CPC currently use a blend of various forecast tools and models in order to create low-resolution probabilistic temperature and precipitation forecasts for 6-10 days and Week 2. One of the more historically skillful tools is a reforecast-based statistical correction of an ensemble forecast model (1998 MRF) developed by Whitaker and Hamill. Despite using a ten-year-old model, this technique still provides skill that rivals newer higher-resolution models and has the additional benefit of producing probabilistic, downscaled products that are in demand among diverse user communities. We seek to extend the Whitaker and Hamill technique using a state-of-the-art coupled forecast model, such as the NCEP Climate Forecast System (CFS), which, if supplemented with additional ensemble reforecasts, will enable the correction of week-3 and week-4 forecasts. Potential benefits to the user communities will include improved warning for potential of extreme events, such as flooding rains, cold-air outbreaks and heat waves in weeks 2-4.





Jessica Lowrey and Andrea J. Ray

Climate Diagnostics Center, Boulder CO


The Western Water Assessment (WWA) has conducted extensive research on the uses and needs of Colorado municipal water managers for climate information and forecasts. Preliminary results were presented at CPASW in 2006, where we noted that water managers rely heavily on annual snowpack and streamflow conditions and the past hydrologic record in their operations and planning models. However, these water managers do not use climate forecasts quantitatively. They use forecasts only qualitatively and subjectively in decisions for three reasons: 1) the forecasts are not considered skillful enough, 2) the forecasts are not specific to their region or basin of interest, 3) the seasonal averages forecasted are not adequate for their operational models. In contrast, streamflow forecasts are used quantitatively because they are specific to river basins and gauge locations, and the format is appropriate for input to operational models. In the past few years, through this project and other WWA education and communication efforts with water managers, we have seen a change in understanding and interest in climate information: water managers are increasingly coming to the WWA for information about climate, and guidance about how to use it.

As a result of these interactions, water managers are taking steps to use more climate information and to incorporate risk of climate variability in annual operations and long-term planning. For example, they have implemented drought plans that have various stages allowing for different levels of demand, and the stages have triggers based on climate variables like snowpack and forecasted streamflows. WWA workshops and meetings have also fostered communication among water management groups who share water sources and reservoirs in an interconnected system. Water managers are now working together to incorporate common analysis of climate information into hydrology models to assess the range of future streamflows for regional water planning.

This collaborative process between WWA and water managers illustrates a critical climate service and a successful RISA communication effort in this region. Results of this project include specific needs of municipal water managers for climate information and research. We will continue to foster education and communication among interconnected groups and provide feedback to NOAA climate services about these needs.





Gary McManus and Dr. Ken Crawford

Oklahoma Climatological Survey and The University of Oklahoma


The Oklahoma Climatological Survey (OCS), in its function as the state climate office, has been mandated by the Oklahoma legislature to provide climate information and expertise which could be of value to the public, as well as to state policy- and decision-makers. In accordance with that directive, OCS conducted a review of the most current assessments of climate change research to produce an official statement on climate change, and the possible impacts climate change could have on the state of Oklahoma. This document was intended to serve as a planning tool for state agencies and decision-makers, as well as a guide to help clarify the existing state of the science concerning global climate change for the citizens of Oklahoma.
The formulation of the climate change statement, eventually released by OCS in late-summer 2007, encountered considerations not strictly limited to the science itself. In an effort to get the information contained within the statement accepted by the greatest possible audience, great care was taken to avoid alarmist jargon or politically-charged content. The science portion of the climate change statement therefore was built strictly on the broad consensus that exists within the scientific community regarding climate change. A section on recommendations was added to afford OCS an opportunity to give its thoughts to decision-makers about planning for not only the impacts of climate change, but the impacts of natural variability as well.
The statement has been well-received by state decision-makers, and has afforded many opportunities for OCS to interact with other state entities concerning climate change and other matters. Partnerships have been forged with the Oklahoma Water Resources Board, the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts and the Oklahoma Conservation Commission, and the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture. Climatologists from OCS have been asked to speak to a broad range of functions and committees concerning climate change, from the Oklahoma Senate to church groups.




Richard Murphy

University of South Carolina




Communicating drought information affords an important context in which the significance of visualizing indicators can enhance decision-making. Understanding the spatiality of drought conditions can aid in gauging and mitigating current and anticipated impacts and losses. The U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) and the U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook (USSDO) synthesize complex drought model and measurement outputs that incorporate synoptic climatology, soil moisture calculations, and regionalized insights provided by experts into a summary output for a general audience. The USDM map communicates current drought conditions while the USSDO maps forecasted drought tendency. While the USDM is effective as a standalone tool, the USSDO depends on the USDM to provide context to its drought trend categories.

This investigation draws upon cartographic communication theory to ask whether a single map integrating information from the USDM and USSDO is more effective than the current method of communication that utilizes two separate maps. Information from the USDM and USSDO was integrated into a single-map format displaying categories of drought tendency within the context of measured drought conditions at the time the forecast was issued. Three variations of this single-map format were developed and tested along with the current two-map communication method. Surveys were conducted to evaluate the subjective and objective effectiveness of each visual communication method. User preference and accuracy of interpretation were the basis for evaluating and comparing the effectiveness of the single-map integrations of the USDM and USSDO versus the current method of presenting the information in two separate maps.





Rosana Nieto-Ferreira, Tom Rickenbach, Nick Guy, and Earle Williams



 African Easterly Waves are responsible for about 85% of intense tropical cyclones in the Atlantic Ocean and as such are an important contributor to rainfall from landfalling tropical cyclones in the Southeast US. African easterly waves originate in West Africa due to an instability of the African easterly jet which is in turn modulated by local convection. The onset and evolution of the West African Monsoon and African easterly wave activity during the 2006 AMMA Intensive Observation Period (IOP) are studied using ground-based radar, GPCP rainfall, and NCEP reanalysis fields. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) radar, funded by NASA, made continuous measurements of precipitation systems (organization and rainfall intensity) in the vicinity of Niamey , Niger from July to September 2006. Radar reflectivity data were processed and quality-controlled, and show the evolution of the three-dimensional structure of precipitating systems at ten-minute time intervals. Analysis of radar observations suggest that most of the rainfall in Niamey during the AMMA IOP was associated with large convective systems, observed to begin in the second week of July as the monsoon was established. These large systems were organized as squall line mesoscale convective systems (SLMCS) with large trailing regions of stratiform rain and propagated westward every 2-3 days. The radar observations also show that during the IOP, SLMCS usually passed through Niamey in the early morning hours. SLMCS observed with the MIT radar in Niamey corresponded well with rainfall events in the GPCP rainfall dataset. In the large-scale, the NCEP Reanalysis 700 mb vorticity fields suggest a strong connection between African easterly waves and the westward propagating SLMCS observed by the radar.




Jim Noel

NOAA/NWS/Ohio River Forecast Center


 The Experimental Water Resources Streamflow Outlook is produced by the National Weather Service (NWS) Ohio River Forecast Center (OHRFC). This product gives forecast summaries of basin conditions in the OHRFC area of responsibility. The outlook is the expected monthly streamflows based on averaged weekly mean flows for periods ranging from 030 days, 3060 days and 6090 days. It uses the United States Geological Survey (USGS) percentiles for breakpoints of much below, below, average, above and much above average.
With the implementation of the Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Services (AHPS), River Forecast Centers (RFCs) are issuing 30- to 90-day probabilistic hydrologic forecasts for river forecast points using the NWS River Forecast System (NWSRFS) Ensemble Streamflow Prediction (ESP) system. Spring Flood Outlooks are issued by Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs) and RFCs, based on the time of the year. In addition, hydrologic outlooks are issued both routinely and based on short term events as needed. The OHRFC Water Resources Streamflow Outlook assists WFOs by filling a gap in RFC services by providing a continuous water watch for floods and droughts beyond what is presently available.
The Water Resources Streamflow Outlook requires the use of the NWSRFS, the ESP system, and a visualization and analysis system, the ESP Analysis and Display Program (ESPADP), to generate expected weekly mean flows for the next 30, 60, and 90 days. It also uses short term quantitative precipitation forecasts (QPF) from the National Center for Environmental Predictions (NCEP) Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (HPC), the Climate Prediction Centers (CPC) 6- to 10-day, 30-day and 90-day temperature and precipitation outlooks, and the day 1 to 7 temperature departures from normal, which are derived from the National Digital Forecast Database (NDFD).
Results of this new climate product produced by the OHRFC have been very good. Verification results for a 16 month period have been promising using the CPC outlooks combined with current NWSRFS soil states. Results for a 30-day outlook showed 80% of the basins were forecast in the correct category. In addition, the probability of detection (POD) for above average streamflows was 74% with a false alarm rate (FAR) of 17%. The POD for below average streamflows was 64% with a FAR of 9%.
The outlooks are made available to partners through local WFO AHPS webpages and through the Ohio River Forecast Center webpage.






Daniel Osgood

Columbia University IRI


As participants in index insurance pilot projects gain an enhanced ability to manage climate risk, questions remain on if these tools might be scaled up to the general population, and how robust and adaptable the insurance is for challenges it must address in the future. This talk presents the experience from selected index insurance pilots and large scale market development efforts as well as research and capacity building projects intended to meet upcoming challenges.





Tim Owen, Roger Pulwarty, and Mark Svoboda

National Climatic Data Center

NOAA Climate Program Office

National Drought Mitigation Center


The NIDIS Act of 2006 calls for an interagency approach to improve drought monitoring, forecasting and early warning. Led by NOAA, NIDIS focuses on the consolidation of physical, hydrological and socio-economic impacts data; integrated observing networks; development of a suite of drought decision support and simulation tools; and interactive delivery of standardized products through an internet portal. The vision for NIDIS is a dynamic and accessible drought risk information system that informs user decisions in preparing for and mitigating of the effects of drought.
In support of this vision, the U.S. Drought Portal (USDP; has been developed as a national resource for data, models, risk information and impacts of drought, with responsibility for integrating, archiving, and disseminating data via the internet. The first release of the portal has proven especially helpful in assimilating drought-related information from multiple federal, state, and other agencies in support of monitoring, forecasting, and impacts assessment endeavors.
To strengthen this interagency collaboration, NIDIS will continue to develop the portal and other technologies (e.g., touch table), and engage partners through regional pilots with the following objectives:
Support the capability to provide data and information required for local, national, and regional decisions on drought and other sectoral issues;
Act as a data integrator to complement and support sector-based issues (e.g., drought, water quality, carbon cycle, etc.);
Promote data standards (e.g., Service-Oriented Architecture) for linkage of agency data to user inputs; and
Contribute to enhanced data visualization tools that allow integration and interrogation of agency-provided and user-input spatial data.






Peter J. Robinson

NOAAs Southeastern Regional Climate Center

Department of Geography, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Weather and Climate impacts human health in a great variety of ways. Health groups, notably the American Public Health Association, are becoming increasingly sensitized to the potential health implications of climate change. Along with this awareness is developing a more general concern associated with planning to ameliorate the impact of future climatic events. Links and forecasts for specific purposes, such has heat waves or air stagnation and pollution episodes, have long been established. Nevertheless it appears that a whole new user community is emerging. Some established application techniques may already be available, almost certainly some new ones are needed. This paper reviews some of the concerns.






Kelly Redmond, Greg McCurdy, Grant Kelly, Tim Owen, Mike Brewer

Desert Research Institute / Western Regional Climate Center,

NOAA / National Climatic Data Center

NOAA / National Weather Service


WeatherCoder III (WxC3) is an upgrade to a previous system developed by the National Weather Service (NWS) to input manual cooperative daily observations into the nation's weather and climate data distribution system. The time lag from observer to widespread access can be reduced to just a few minutes compared with lags of days, weeks, or months using traditional approaches. The observer uses a web interface to enter their daily observations. Anything that can be entered on a paper form can be entered with WeatherCoder. Logically inconsistent observations entered by the observer result in error messages and must be corrected at entry time for further processing to occur. Preliminary quality control is performed, taking into account the station's prior history if it has one. Month-specific and station-specific bounds checks are made for each element. Email messages are sent to the NWS when monthly station records are exceeded. Ample room is set aside for any remarks the observer wishes to make. These simple steps should result in the removal, and ultimately the prevention, of a large number of errors, and in addition provide immediate observer feedback on departures from observational protocols. Data can be back-entered to fill in reporting gaps. The observer can interact with a daily form, or a form that shows the entire month. An entire B-91 form can be simulated, and saved in .pdf format for local printing and on-site storage. This system thus represents a significant advance toward the desired "paperless" goal. Each Weather Forecast Office administers the station metadata for its own area. Data are converted into SHEF format, sent through the NWS Gateway, and distributed via the Applied Climate Information System (ACIS). The hope, and a realistic expectation, is that at least half of the NWS cooperative stations can supply data with this method. WeatherCoder III represents a working collaboration between the NWS, the National Climatic Data Center, and the Regional Climate Center Program.





Jeanne M. Schneider

Agricultural Research Service, USDA


For much of the United States, in particular regions without significant ENSO impacts or strong decadal trends, seasonal precipitation forecasts have very limited skill, and forecasts for non-climatological conditions are infrequent. The low predictability for seasonal to interannual precipitation variations in these regions is a subject of intense study, but it seems unlikely that a major breakthrough will occur soon. This situation is particularly disappointing for agricultural interests in the Great Plains and Midwest, prompting a search for alternatives. One possibility is probabilistic guidance based on decade-scale variations in precipitation, a purely statistical approach. There are many problems with such a surrogate, including our inability to forecast the switches between wet, dry, or neutral states. However, it seems possible that guidance based on a thoughtful statistical analysis of decade-scale variations, coupled with a decision concerning current state, could provide more skillful forecasts than a climatology composed of the entire record. This presentation will examine the related challenges, and detail an approach for assessing the utility of surrogate forecasts based on decade-scale variations in precipitation.





Fredrick H.M. Semazzi and Roberto J. Mera

Dep. of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Science, and Dep. of Mathmatics,

North Carolina State University


The functional relationship between the relative operating characteristic (ROC) and the economic value (EV) graphical methods have been exploited to develop a hybrid procedure called the extended ROC (EROC) method. The EROC retains the appealing simplicity of the traditional ROC method and the ability of the EV method to provide evaluation of the performance of an ensemble climate prediction system (EPS) for a hypothetical end user defined by the cost-loss ratio (Mu=C/L). An inequality defining the lower and upper theoretical bounds of Mu has been derived. Outside these limits, the EPS yields no added benefits for end user relative to the use of climatological persistence as an alternative prediction system. In the traditional ROC graphical method, the ROC skill (ROCS) is often expressed in terms of the area between the ROC graph and the diagonal baseline passing through the origin with slope m=1. Thus, ROCS=2A-1 where A is the area under the ROC graph. In the proposed EROC approach, a more general procedure is recommended based on the construction of user-specific baselines that do not necessarily pass through the origin and, in general, have a slope where m is not equal to 1. The skill of a particular EPS computed from the EROC method is proportional to the corresponding estimated value based on the EV graphical method. Therefore, the EROC geometry conveys the same basic information as the EV method. The SemazziMera skill score (SMSS) is proposed as a convenient and compact way of expressing the combined verification based on the ROC and EV methods. The ROCS estimate is a special case of the SMSS. The near-horizontal trail-like geometry sometimes exhibited by EV graphs is also examined. It is shown to occur when either the hit-rate or false-alarm term dominates in the formula for EV, unlike the more typical situation in which both terms are comparable in magnitude.





D. W. Shin, S. Cocke, Y.-K. Lim, T. E. LaRow, G. A. Baigorria,

and J. J. O'Brien

COAPS, Florida State University

Agricultural & Biological Engineering Department, Univ. of Florida


An advanced land model (NCAR CLM2) is coupled to the Florida State University/Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies (FSU/COAPS) climate model to improve seasonal surface climate outlooks at very high spatial and temporal resolution and to examine its potential for crop yield estimation. The regional model domain is over the southeast United States and run at 20 km resolution, roughly resolving the county level. Warm season (March-September, 7-month simulation) and cold season (October-March, 6-month simulation) ensemble simulations are performed for the period of 19 years (1987-2005) to characterize uncertainty in the forecast. Twenty member ensembles of the regional model are generated using different initial conditions and model configurations (i.e., the ensemble methods based on different convective schemes). These ensembles are used to make probabilistic crop yield forecasts. Outputs from the model such as max/min surface temperatures, precipitation, and shortwave radiation at the surface are analyzed and used as inputs into the crop models (CROPGRO-Peanut and CERES-Maize) to determine crop yields. Observed and simulated weather data produced a somewhat similar interannual variability of crop yields. Detailed results will be presented in the workshop.





Daniel Solis, David Letson and Boris Bravo-Ureta

University of Miami and University of Connecticut



Studying the sources of technical efficiency (TE) in agriculture is an important matter as it allows farmers and policy makers to identify and target (private and public) actions to improve productivity and, consequently, agricultural income (Solis et al. 2007). Fuglie et al. (2007) show that, during the past 60 years, the lowest levels of agricultural productivity in the US are highly correlated with severe drought. These results suggest that climatic conditions play an important role on defining agricultural efficiency.
In a recent extensive review of the agricultural efficiency literature, Bravo-Ureta et al. (2007) report very few published articles that include some kind of climate related variable in the empirical models. In general, authors have argued that weather and climate can be considered as stochastic shocks and thus, are naturally captured in the random error term in stochastic analyses (Coelli et al. 2005). However, some authors have questioned this approach claiming that the omission of environmental variables could bias the empirical outcomes (Demir and Mahmud 2002).
Consequently, the goal of this study is to empirically evaluate the extent in which agricultural productivity estimates are affected by variation on climate. To do so, we explore the case of the agricultural sector in the Southeast US . This geographical region is influenced seasonally by the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomena making it ideal for studying the interaction of climate variability and agricultural productivity. Although, different methodologies have been developed to study TE the stochastic production frontier (SPF) approach offers several advantages over other available alternatives (Kumbhakar and Lovell 2003).Thus, to assess the impact of climate on TE we estimate alternative SPF models with and without climatic variables. We also test alternative variables to measure the influence of climate on TE; namely, seasonal rain fall and the ENSO phase.
The empirical results show that climate variables are not only statistically significant in all estimated models but that their omission could also generate significant inconsistencies on TE scores. These results have significant policy implications. Specifically, if the effects of uncontrollable climatic factors on TE are significant, but not accounted for, then agricultural strategies seeking corrective measures to improve productivity would have little impact since the real source of technical inefficiency is the uncontrollable climatic conditions.





Viviane Silva, Lloyd Thomas, Mike Halpert and Wayne Higgins



User requests for CPC climate forecast products in Geographical Information System (GIS) format have been rapidly increasing over the past few years. In order to satisfy customer needs for improved climate information, CPC is transitioning its suite of climate monitoring, assessment, and forecast products into GIS format. This activity is directly related to CPCs mission to inform and serve the public. The objective of this project is to provide CPC data to customers in standard GIS format through an interactive, web-based system, as well as through direct data transfer.
The NOAA/CPC has just acquired a copy of the ArcGIS Server Enterprise for Linux. This software will allow for processing, extraction and display of GIS (Geographic Information System) georeferenced data sets including shapefiles, ESRI layers, and raster data sets (including geoTIFF and other formats using world files). The server also allows the distribution of Metadata. Our project and plans for the future will be described.





Tsegaye Tadesse, Brian D. Wardlow, and Jae H. Ryu

National Drought Mitigation Center, University of Nebraska - Lincoln




The complexity of drought characteristics and the temporal and spatial relationships of vegetation with climate make drought prediction and its impacts on vegetation very challenging. However, improved meteorological observations and predictions methods with recent advances in satellite-based remote sensing have greatly improved our ability to monitor vegetation condition that helps in drought early warning and knowledge-based decision support system. In addition, studies that involve investigation of ocean-atmosphere relationships indicated significant improvement of seasonal climate predictions.
Because the drought monitoring tools usually used to assess vegetation conditions are based on only climate or satellite vegetation indices, there is an increasing need for comprehensive and efficient monitoring tool that integrates both data and provides accurate and reliable information. Recent studies showed that data mining techniques used to integrate data from different databases to identify the hidden patterns within the data to investigate the complex relationships. Data mining techniques can also help not only to assess the vegetation conditions but also to predict based on historical data.
In this study attempt has been done to identify spatial and temporal patterns of drought and its impact on vegetation by integrating climate, oceanic, and satellite-derived vegetation indices. Data mining technique particularly regression tree modeling has been used in identifying these relationships and integrating the observed data to predict the general vegetation condition 2-, 4-, and 6-weeks ahead of time. This new drought monitoring tool is called the Vegetation Outlook (VegOut).
The VegOut maps are produced using rule-based regression tree models that were generated to identify historical relationships (patterns) in space and time between satellite-derived vegetation conditions, climatic drought indices, oceanic indices, and biophysical data. The data used to produce the VegOut maps include Standardized Seasonally integrated satellite vegetation Greenness (SSG); climate drought indices such as the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) and Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI), oceanic indices that include the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), Multivariate ENSO index (MEI), the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), and Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO); and biophysical parameters such as land cover type, available soil water capacity, percent of irrigated farm land, and ecological region. Because the models can be applied iteratively with input data from previous time periods, the method enables to provide predictability of vegetation conditions farther into the growing season based on earlier conditions.





Marina Timofeyeva



January 2007 marked operational release of NOAA National Weather Service (NWS) Local Three-Month Temperature Outlooks (L3MTO). L3MTO is first in the local product series that NWS operational climate services is developing to meet local customer needs for more detailed and higher spatial resolution information. A great emphasis in developing this product was given to the product user interface that includes web design, entrained staff support, and customer feedback. Web design features consistent information on product definitions, interpretation, benefits and limitations. Staff support includes formal training on product methodology, presentation format, interpretation, and long-term performance evaluation. It also includes NWS internal and public fact sheets.

In 2008, a new product is being prepared for launching: Three-Month Outlook of Local El Nino / La Nina Impacts (3MOLEI). This new product will also include an emphasis on user interface, and will provide an important auxiliary product: Local Rate of Temperature and Precipitation Trends. These will be the first two climate variables featured in 3MOLEI. Local trend rate can guide users in their decisions on local climate change and El Nina / La Nina local impacts in conjunction with climate change.

In addition to 3MOLEI on temperature and precipitation, NWS field staff will be trained to conduct local climate studies to identify other local climate variables impacted by El Nino / La Nina. Although all operational products will be centrally produced, the needs and justification will be driven by the field offices and local users.





Sarah F. Trainor, Craig Gerlach, Dan White, John Walsh

Alaska Center for Climate Assessment & Policy, University of Alaska, Fairbanks




The Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy ( is the newest member of the NOAA RISA team. Our mission is to assess the socio-economic and biophysical impacts of climate variability in Alaska, make this information available to local and regional decision-makers, and improve the ability of Alaskans to adapt to a changing climate.
To meet the challenge of diverse stakeholder needs, cross-cultural communication between Alaska Natives and western scientists, and a broad range of on-going climate impacts resulting from sea ice decline, permafrost degradation and changes in seasonality, we have initiated and continue to develop a range of climate products.
We host a monthly teleconference series focused on specific topics related to climate change in Alaska and designed to share information and create a dialogue between research scientists and diverse stakeholders from across the state. Scientists from the University of Alaska, NOAA National Weather Service, and non-profit organizations have presented on topics including: changes in seasonality and wildfire in Interior Alaska, estimated costs to public infrastructure from climate change, coastal erosion, impacts of sea ice change on humans and Bering Sea mammals, climate impacts on weather, and user feedback on CPC storm tracks products. Participation has ranged from 20 to over 45 participants per call including news media, representatives from state and federal legislative offices, state and federal agencies, Alaska Native governments and service organizations, non-profit conservation organizations and research scientists.
Our most recent product, The Alaska Weather and Climate Highlights website (, provides a monthly summary of notable weather and climate events in Alaska and is produced in conjunction with the National Weather Service, Alaska Region and the Alaska Climate Research Center.
In addition, we are working closely with the Fairbanks North Star Borough as they perform a climate change vulnerability assessment and create an adaptation plan in conjunction with their membership in the ICLEI, local governments for sustainability program. We have conducted an initial over-all stakeholder workshop affiliated with the Alaska Forum on the Environment and a more specialized workshop in rural Alaska on planning and preparing for climate change.





Dan Tufford, Greg Carbone, James Hussey, Kirstin Dow

University of South Carolina


It is widely recognized that climate anomalies can impact seasonal weather. The effects are variable depending on the season and geographic location of interest. As demand for water grows in response to increasing population, issues of water availability, quantity, and quality are increasingly urgent even in traditionally water-rich areas such as the Southeast US. Irregular short-frequency climatic phenomena such as the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) can create special water resource planning challenges. These can be subtle yet critical in regions like the Carolinas where the climate signal appears to be relatively weak. Local and regional planners will benefit from a better understanding of interannual climate effects and the extent to which these effects may influence water resource quantity and quality. In recent years interest has also turned to the potential for interacting effects of multiple anomalies. There appears to be a strong link between the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), in particular, and precipitation and weather extremes in both Europe and Eastern North America . Whether there is a differential effect of both ENSO and AMO is an open question. To analyze possible joint effects on water resources we used the long term record (1950-2004) of precipitation from COOP weather stations and discharge from USGS gauging stations across North and South Carolina. The data were totaled by month and labeled for which season and phase of the AMO (warm, cold) and ENSO (warm, neutral, cold) existed at the time. Statistical analysis was used to assess whether seasonal ENSO effects exist in precipitation and streamflow then if any effect was different depending on the AMO phase. The analysis suggests there are some seasonal ENSO effects. For example, higher precipitation and streamflow occurred in the winter of El Nino years. Stratification by AMO phase suggests the winter effect is much stronger during the warm phase than during the cool phase. There are subregional patterns within the states that suggest continental versus coastal effects. There was also not a perfect match between precipitation and streamflow results which suggests that physiography and land use also influence local effects. This presentation will expand on these results and include comments about context sensitive interpretation of broad-scale climate impacts as well as the potential effects on water resource vulnerability assessment for North and South Carolina.





Kevin Werner



The National Weather Service (NWS) routinely makes forecasts for seasonal streamflow run off volumes for snow melt dominated basins in the western United States. Water supply forecasts rely on two primary tools: Statistical Water Supply (SWS) and Ensemble Streamflow Prediction (ESP). SWS is based on regression equations while ESP is based on the NWS continuous hydrology forecast model. These tools are augmented by forecaster experience and the coordination process with other forecasting entities.
For the 2008 water year, the NWS is releasing a powerful new collection of web based applications to provide forecast users with a much greater depth of data than before including ensemble, forecast verification, and legacy applications. Ensemble streamflow prediction forecasts are routinely provided by the six NWS River Forecast Centers to this single page. Users can parse ensemble forecasts according to various climate conditions, access numerical ensemble values for their own applications, or compare predictions against previous predictions and/or observations. Verification capabilities allow both forecasters and users to generate customized graphics with information on historical forecast skill. In addition, all capabilities from previous versions including maps and forecast time evolution plots are available.
Future plans include development of tools to provide the water resource community with information about relationships between surface water and climate change and variability.
The current NWS web service is located here:





John Wiener

University of Colorado


Just about ten years ago, the "Exploratory Assessment of Potential for Improved Water Management through Increased Use of Climate Information in Three Western States and Selected Tribes" began inquiries in a project that asked a diverse set of potential climate prediction applications users about (1) what weather and climate information sources were being used; (2) what weather and climate information was wanted; and (3) when the information would be most useful. The results from question 1 were presented previously to NOAA and various meetings, including CPASW 4, with a table and later analysis of what sources were used and comment on marketing climate information. The results from questions 2 and 3 were presented to NOAA and various meetings, including AMS 2002, 2004, several CPASW meetings, and others. The "shopping lists" included items of widely variable difficulty and some have been provided, and some not. The "decision calendar" as way to compile information about what the users are doing and when they can best use information is apparently spreading, as it is basic in many user-driven approaches. But, the most difficult and far-reaching applications have been tangled in a web of issues surrounding institutional change, and the largest lesson from our community as whole that seeking such changes may be much more challenging than describing their potential has not been learned in the on-going case of Colorado water management. The presentation will review highlights and lowlights of the case with added information about on-going policy processes which may eventually prevail, and research on potential problems. The focus in the last CPASW presentation was on very long-term issues and how climate prediction applications may relate to resource management rationalization; this one will focus on near-term problems in working with the grass roots and the grass growers, considering political economy perspectives on the problem of participation versus procrastination in policy change.





Ray Wolf and Doug Kluck

NOAA/National Weather Service


 Unseasonably warm weather in March 2007 over the eastern half of the United States prompted early growth of many agricultural and horticultural crops, from wheat in the Central Plains to fruit trees and pastures across the Southeast and Midwest. March monthly temperatures averaged between 2 and 6F above normal in these areas, and this was the second warmest March on record for the entire U.S.
Arctic cold followed in early April with over 1500 weather stations breaking or matching daily record low temperatures. The magnitude and duration of the cold temperatures was particularly noteworthy in a climatological sense. Low temperatures in the teens occurred throughout the eastern half of the country, and freezing temperatures lasted almost a week in some areas. The duration of the cold combined with strong winds hindered freeze protection efforts for high value horticultural crops.
Agricultural and horticultural crops which started premature spring growth due to the warm March were thus highly susceptible to the freezing temperatures. Freeze damage was reported in nearly every state from Colorado and Oklahoma east to Virginia and Georgia. Preliminary damage estimates indicate total freeze-related losses exceed the 2 billion dollar mark, though subsequent drought, especially in the Southeast, also negatively impacted crops causing additional losses.
The National Weather Service provided advance warning of the Arctic freeze. The first indication of freeze potential in Climate Prediction Center products occurred in the 6-10 day issuance on March 29 and the U.S. Hazards Assessment on March 30. National Digital Forecast Database verification indicated forecasts made 6 days prior to the one of the coldest days of the freeze did not reflect the cold outbreak (April 1 forecast for April 7), though 3-day forecasts were very good. Text products such as the Hazardous Weather Outlook, Area Forecast Discussion, and Freeze Warnings were assessed in Central Region and provided timely information. In addition, special efforts were made to utilize web pages and media contacts to ensure the broadest possible dissemination of the forecasts.
Survey findings of Central Region Warning and Forecast Offices indicate services could be improved by establishing and utilizing closer ties with university extension service specialists and USDA field offices. Specifically, input from university extension service specialists should be used to determine the need for freeze/frost products each season, not solely calendar dates or climatology. Second, the USDA Farm Services Agency is an excellent source of impact information for regional reports and Storm Data.





Klaus Wolter, Michael S. Timlin

NOAA/ESRL PSD Climate Diagnostics Branch


This paper addresses the need for an ENSO index that allows for the definition of ENSO events under operational, near-realtime conditions. The Multivariate ENSO Index was originally developed as the first Principal Component of six atmosphere-ocean variables in the tropical Pacific basin. It provides for a more complete and flexible description of the ENSO phenomenon than single-variable ENSO indices such as the SOI or Nino 3.4 SST. Here we describe a new effort to expand the MEI concept to include both satellite (OLR) and subsurface data.




Andrew W. Wood
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering,

University of Washington, Seattle, WA



Analytical approaches for characterizing drought rely predominantly on observations of precipitation, temperature and to some extent snowpack and streamflow, often aggregated to spatial units of climate divisions or states.  Yet drought is a multi-faceted phenomenon, and the relationship of hydrologic aspects of drought to meteorological aspects of drought varies in space and with the seasonal cycle.  Physically-based hydrology models such as those associated with the NASA/NOAA Land Data Assimilation System (LDAS) project can help to make this connection across space and time scales using a spatially consistent simulation framework. One such model, the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) model, has been the core of the University of Washington Experimental Surface Water (SW) Monitor, which since 2005 has provided daily-updating current analyses of
nation-wide soil moisture, snow water equivalent and runoff, as well as a retrospective archive of similar products extending back to 1915.  This presentation describes new efforts involving the SW Monitor to develop model-based information products that are tailored for drought assessment and prediction, and highlights products based on multiple hydrologic
models and ensemble hydrologic forecasts.




Andrew W. Wood, Julie Vano, Shraddhanand Shukla

and Anne C. Steinemann

University of Washington Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering


Like many agricultural areas throughout the West, the Yakima River basin has experienced an increasing demand for water for irrigation, environmental flows and hydropower production. Coupled with apparent shifts in hydrologic runoff timing and variations in water supply, these demands have resulted in a narrowing margin within which the Yakima basins multi-reservoir system must be managed. Because the region is vulnerable to variations in seasonal water supplies, it has the potential to utilize information on current and future hydroclimatic conditions to improve water management. The University of Washington is working directly with individual stakeholders and public agencies within the Yakima water-user community to understand current uses of medium- and long-lead climate forecast information and to identify decision-focused information needs. We draw on the Yakima basin case study to present concrete examples of both opportunities and information gaps in the development of decision-appropriate, accessible forecast information for water resources management.





David Yates and David Purkey


Boulder, CO


The Water Evaluation and Planning (WEAP) decision support system (DSS) is applied to the watersheds of the South Fork of the American River in Northern California in an application for the El Dorado Irrigation District (EID). In addition to a watershed hydrology model, a demand model of the EID system was developed in WEAP, patterned off EIDs recently developed Shared Vision Model (SVM) that was used to help design the Drought Plan. The Drought Plan includes a set of triggers and responses based on watershed indices and the ENSO state, which relies on past observed hydrology. Essentially the Drought Plan is tuned to achieve a level of reliability under the worst-case historic conditions. Using the WEAP DSS, we evaluated the robustness of this Drought Plan under various future assumptions, including regional climate change, which assumes no prior assumptions of the hydrologic state.





Ning Zeng, Jin-Ho Yoon, Augustin Vintzileos, G. James Collatz,

Eugenia Kalnay, Annarita Mariotti, Arun Kumar, Antonio Busalacchi, Stephen Lord

Dept. of Atmos. and Ocean. Sci., University of Maryland

ESSIC, University of Maryland

NOAA Environmental Modeling Center

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

ENEA Casaccia, Rome, Italy

NOAA Climate Prediction Center


A prototype prediction system demonstrates the feasibility of dynamical ecosystem and global carbon cycle prediction on seasonal-interannual timescales.
Using a 25-year hindcast experiment, we explore the possibility of seasonal-interannual prediction of the terrestrial ecosystem and the global carbon cycle. This has been achieved using a prototype forecasting system in which the dynamic vegetation and terrestrial carbon cycle model VEGAS was forced with 15-member ensemble climate predictions consisting of lead times up to 9 months from the NCEP/CFS climate forecast system. The results show that the predictability is dominated by the ENSO signal with its major inuence on the tropical and subtropical regions, including South America, Indonesia, southern Africa, eastern Australia, western US and central Asia. There is also important non-ENSO related predictability such as that associated with midlatitude drought. Comparison of the dynamicalprediction results with benchmark statistical prediction methods show that the dynamical method is signicantly better than benchmark statistical methods such as anomaly persistence and damping. The hindcasted ecosystem variables and carbonux show signicantly slower decrease in skill compared to the climate variables, partly due to the memories in land and vegetation processes that lter out the higher frequency noise and sustain the signal.






David F. Zierden, Melissa Griffin, James J. O'Brien

COAPS, Florida State University,

Tallahassee, FL


Up to this point, the Southeast Climate Consortium has concentrated on bringing information on climate variability and seasonal predictions to agriculture and other sectors in the Southeast United States. Recently, there has been a groundswell of interest by stakeholders in the subject of climate change and possible mitigation and adaptation strategies. Consequently, we feel the need to respond with educational materials on the subject of climate change that address the state of the science, historical perspective, scenarios and uncertainties for the future, and potential adaptation and mitigation strategies, all on the local or regional level.
The first step in preparing for a changing climate system is a thorough understanding of the past climate. A careful analysis of historical weather and ocean observations reveals useful information on the average state and variability along with changes on time scales from seasonal, to interannual (1-5 years), decadal, and even long-term trends. Much is known about the year-to-year variations as caused by the El Nino/La Nina cycle in the Pacific Ocean. There are also variations on time scales from 10-50 years, such as the known warm periods around 1950 and 2000 and the cold winters of the 1980s. Warm season precipitation has dropped 10% to 15% in recent decades around central and south Florida, whether caused by land use changes or by circulation changes in the Atlantic Ocean. Many Florida weather stations also exhibit long term trends in temperature and rainfall, whether caused by a changing global climate or by local changes in land use and urbanization.




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