Oregon's Network of Climate Knowledge


Rising seas bring together scientists and tribes
SEATTLE — Last week, a group of environmental scientists, resource managers, planners, researchers, students and elders gathered at the Mountaineers’ headquarters on Sand Point Way to exchange ideas. The occasion was a two-day forum called “Making Sense of Sea Level Rise,” organized and hosted by the Tulalip Tribes. The symposium was geared toward combining knowledge from disparate organizations and individuals and looking for opportunities to collaborate. Herald Net (May 2, 2016).

Heat, rain make for wild weather week
This has been a wild week for weather in the mid-Willamette Valley, with a taste of summer followed by ferocious thunderstorms. Downpours Thursday night resulted in a new record of 1.04 inches of rain for the day, said Kathie Dello, deputy director of the Oregon Climate Service at Oregon State University. The previous record was .65 inches back in 1978. The heavy precipitation came on the heels of a record-setting 84 degrees on Tuesday at Hyslop, she added, topping the previous mark of 80 degrees set in 1918. Overall, April has been hot so far, with a temperature about six degrees above average in Linn and Benton counties, Dello said. Regardless, the warm temperatures are resulting in a rapidly melting snowpack throughout Oregon. “There are some areas where the snow is almost gone,” Dello said. “Places that have reservoir storage like the Willamette will be OK. Places without reservoir storage may see some (water) shortages this summer. This summer is projected to be hot again, so there could be fire issues,” she said. Democrat Herald (April 22, 2016).

As forecasters get it wrong, Oregon lucky with snowpack
Winter forecasters don’t know quite everything, and this winter brought proof. “I remember being really worried in October,” said Kathie Dello, deputy director of the Oregon Climate Service at Oregon State University. “All the signs were pointing to another bad year.” Now, the Beaver State has a robust snowpack and healthy reservoir storage. Whether it’s good fortune or just part of nature’s cycle, the summer of 2016 is looking a lot healthier than 2015. Statesman Journal (April 1, 2016).

Extreme Events Show Signal of Climate Change
A 10-person committee of the National Research Council, including OCCRI Director Philip Mote, issued a report on March 11 that examined the influence of humans on recent extreme weather events. Though the committee stopped short of saying that climate change is causing more frequent and severe events – a link difficult to prove in a short time frame – the connection, it acknowledges, is unmistakable. Read more in the OSU Press Release (March 15, 2016).

Preparing for a Different Climate
Young Farmers are looking ahead to see what a warmer, drier climate might look like. John Stevenson of OCCRI, a Regional Extension Climate Specialist with the Pacific Northwest Climate Impacts Research Consortium (CIRC), shared numbers at the 2016 Ag Summit in Boise. Stevenson remains optimistic that agriculture in the PNW will adapt. Changing crop rotations in the face of less secure surface water is one of the ways farmers can make changes today that will pay off later. Magic Valley (February 22, 2016).

Winter warmer and wetter than normal
This winter was warmer and wetter than usual, and residents might see flowers blooming a bit earlier, said Kathie Dello, deputy director of the Oregon Climate Service at Oregon State University. This winter — that’s December, January and February for weather experts — was the seventh-warmest on record at OSU’s Hyslop Research Farm, which sits halfway between Albany and Corvallis on Highway 20 and is the mid-Willamette Valley’s official weather station. Corvallis Gazette Times (March 1, 2016).

OCCRI’s John Stevenson to give keynote at ID Ag Summit, Feb. 16, 2016.
John Stevenson of OCCRI, a Regional Extension Climate Specialist with the Pacific Northwest Climate Impacts Research Consortium (CIRC) and Oregon Sea Grant at Oregon State University, will present the keynote speech at this year’s Ag Summit in Boise, ID, on Feb. 16 @ 9AM. His address in entitled “What are Our Climate Variability Trends and How Models Help Us”. (February 11, 2016).

Huge Improvement in OR Snowpack This Year.
Compared to 2015, Oregon’s snowpack is way up. OCCRI Associate Director Kathie Dello discusses this year’s conditions compared to last year’s in the Statesman Journal and on KTVZ.com. (February 1, 2016).

Agriculture in a Changing Climate Workshop, Kennewick, WA, March 9-11, 2016.
You’re invited to participate in this free workshop (registration required). Your expertise is needed to assist in identifying and planning for climate mitigation and adaptation strategies for agriculture in the Pacific Northwest. There will be dedicated mitigation and adaptation sessions, guest speakers, panel discussions, breakout sessions, and a poster session networking event. More information here . (January 27, 2016).

NW Ski Resorts Adapting to a Changing Climate.
OCCRI Director Philip Mote comments on the changes ski resorts may have to adapt to in a warming world, and OCCRI researcher John Stevenson tells of his personal experiences as a skier in the NW at KUOW Public Radio. (January 6, 2016).

Drought, floods, heat; a year of extreme weather in the Willamette Valley.
OCCRI Associate Director and Deputy Director of the Oregon Climate Service, Kathie Dello, sums up a year of wild weather in the Democrat-Herald. (January 4, 2016).

OR drought eases, “overall it’s very encouraging”.
Kathie Dello, OCCRI Associate Director and Deputy Director of the Oregon Climate Service, tells the Statesman Journal that while recent rains have helped the drought situation considerable, due to the current El Nino the rest of the winter is still a wild card. (December 18, 2015).

Due to the drought in OR, flooding from recent heavy rains is minimized.
OCCRI Director Dr. Philip Mote told KEZI News that the recent drought significantly depleted river bed soil moisture. This soil moisture had to be replaced before water levels in the rivers could rise. (December 18, 2015).

72 scientists ink letter to U.S. presidential candidates urging leadership on clean energy.
OCCRI Director Dr. Philip Mote, along with other prominent climate scientists, pen a letter to major United States presidential candidates urging strong American leadership on clean energy. (December 14, 2015).

This Winter in OR? Dry and warm.
OCCRI Director Dr. Philip Mote tells Oregon Public Broadcasting that this year’s El Nino will lead to a warm, dry winter in the PNW (November 25, 2015).

Is the drought over? The answer is no.
Kathie Dello of the Oregon Climate Service tells the Albany Democrat-Herald that recent rains do not signal an end to the current drought. (November 18, 2015).

Winter rain instead of snow will be the new normal
At the Corvallis City Club on November 9, OCCRI Director Philip Mote noted that winter precipitation falling as rain, rather than snow, due to warmer temperatures will become a much more frequent occurrence in the PNW. He also noted that this leads to reduced snowpack, and hence reduced snowmelt recharge of rivers and streams in the summer months. (November 11, 2015).

Large El Nino event this winter could lead to low OR snowpack, again
In the Bend Bulletin , Oregon Climate Service Deputy Director Kathie Dello notes that this winter’s large El Nino (one of the biggest ever) could lead to low snowpack in OR. While the precipitation forecast is uncertain, warmer temperatures will lead to more rain on snow events, which translates to lower snowpack. (October 28, 2015)

September wetter than usual, but impact of hot summer lingers
Oregon Climate Service Deputy Director Kathie Dello comments on recent weather in the Albany Democrat Herald. (October 7, 2015)

The Blob
OCCRI Director Dr. Philip Mote is interviewed by Yale Climate Connections concerning The Blob (the large patch of warm water off the west coast of the United States). (September 29, 2015)

Effect of El Nino on this Winter’s precipitation “uncertain”
In Eugene’s Register Guard, Kathie Dello of the Oregon Climate Service explains the uncertain effect of this year’s strong El Nino on PNW precipitation. (September 29, 2015)

OR Climate Service sounds the alarm bell
In The Corvallis Advocate, Kathie Dello of the Oregon Climate Service discusses how the western drought is impacting water supplies. (September 18, 2015)

WA also sees warmest summer on record
Record setting heat was present in WA as well as OR this summer. At Climate Central Kathie Dello of the Oregon Climate Service notes that due to an El Nino and warm waters in the North Pacific, “the warmest year on record in Oregon is certainly plausible”. (September 10, 2015)

Warmest “Summer” on record in Linn-Benton counties
June-August was the warmest period ever for those months, says Kathie Dello of the Oregon Climate Service. The 1.1 degree F increase over the previous record set in 1958 was “huge”. In the Democrat-Herald Kathie notes that Portland, Salem, and Eugene also experienced their hottest summers on record. (September 4, 2015)

“Rains won’t dent the drought” – Kathie Dello, OR Climate Service
In the Democrat-Herald Kathie says that this weekend’s forecasted rains, while welcome, will still leave Oregon in a drought . (August 28, 2015)

“When a rain forest is on fire, it’s obvious something extraordinary is happening.”
Kathie Dello, Deputy Director of the Oregon Climate Service, comments in the Eugene Register-Guard on the conditions that lead to an Olympic National Park forest fire this spring. Also see Oregon State University’s Terra magazine. (August 28, 2015)

“It’s a unique year” – Kathie Dello, OR Climate Service
Kathie comments on this summer’s unrelenting heat for the Democrat-Herald. (August 13, 2015)

“This is the biggest drought that we have seen in decades”
Kathie Dello, Deputy Director of the Oregon Climate Service comments on the ongoing western drought in the Daily Barometer.

Scientists Looking for Help Studying “The Blob”, the Western Drought, and Climate Change
“Citizen scientists” can use their own computers to help scientists study The Blob (the large body of unusually warm water off the west coast), the western drought, and climate change in general. Unused computer time on laptops and desktops is “donated” to run sophisticated climate models, and then the results are combined and studied by climate scientists at OSU and elsewhere. This program has recently been highlighted by The Oregonian, CBS television, The High Country News, Southern California Public Radio, Oregon State University, The Register Guard, phys.org, and the Beach Connection. Dr. Philip Mote also discusses this research on Think Out Loud (Oregon Public Broadcasting). For more information, or to volunteer to participate, go to the climateprediction.net Western US Drought page. (July 15, 2015)

“This looks a lot like our future”
Oregon Climate Service Deputy Director Kathie Dello comments on the recent warm winter and hot, dry summer in the Corvallis Gazette-Times. (July 1, 2015)

El Niño Seen Strengthening, Unlikely To Bring Drought Relief
OCCRI Director Dr. Philip Mote notes that the projections for a stronger El Nino “make it more likely the winter will be warmer than average, and also in the Northwest that it would be drier than average”. Listen to the story at kuow.org, or read about it in the Bend Bulletin. (June 22, 2015)

Understanding Regional Climate Change
OCCRI Director Dr. Philip Mote, in an Oregon State University produced video on YouTube discusses regional climate change and how OCCRI is working to connect it to people in real ways. (April 30, 2015)

The PNW’s “Wet Drought” May Be a Sign of Things To Come
OCCRI Director Philip Mote and Associate Director Kathie Dello comment on the PNW’s “Wet Drought” (precipitation near normal in some areas, but temperatures too warm for accumulating snowpack) at Climate Central. (April 28, 2015)

PNW too wet? Now it’s too dry?
Oregon Climate Service Deputy Director Kathie Dello used to get questions from people who wanted to move to the PNW about “how wet is it, really”? Now she’s getting questions about “how dry is it, really?” Read more about the Oregon/western US drought at The High Country News. (April 28, 2015)

KLCC interview with OCCRI Associate Director Kathie Dello, “Drought in Oregon”
“NPR for Oregonians” interviews Kathie on the drought in the western US (it’s not just CA). Listen here. (April 28, 2015)

Costs Skyrocket for Oregon’s Wildfire Insurance Policy
Following two devastating fire seasons, the state this week was offered a $25 million policy to help cover potentially high wildfire costs. But, the premium is almost double last year’s. During the past four years of drought, Oregon has seen an abnormally high number of acres burned. Due to warm temperatures and low snow-pack, climatologists say a bad season could be on the way. “Even though we’ve had these few days of cool showery weather, the extended outlook doesn’t look very promising,” Kathie Dello, Deputy Director of the Oregon Climate Service, tells The Bend Bulletin. (April 3, 2015)

Minimal 2014-15 Snowpack – A Taste of Things To Come?
In a piece in The Oregonian on the 2014-15 Oregon drought, OCCRI Associate Director Kathie Dello points out that although it’s impossible to peg an isolated event such as drought to the long-term shifts anticipated with climate change; “this looks a lot like our future climate models”. (March 31, 2015)

Snowpack level is “atrocious”
OCCRI Director Philip Mote comments on the exceptionally warm winter of 2014-2015 and the resultant low snowpack, in the Register Guard. (March 30, 2015)

This week’s snow is “too little, too late”
Kathie Dello, Associate Director of OCCRI, tells KATU Portland on 3/25/15 that snowpack was a quarter of normal last year in the (Cascade) mountains.

“We need to have some really tough conversations about our future and water supply”
OCCRI Associate Director Kathie Dello tells Climate Central, in response to record warmth along the west coast this winter.

Sixth Annual PNW Climate Science Conference
The Sixth Annual conference will be held in Coeur d’Alene, ID on Nov 4-5, 2015. The PNW Climate Science Conference annually brings together more than 250 researchers and practitioners from around the region to discuss scientific results, challenges, and solutions related to the impacts of climate on people, natural resources, and infrastructure in the Pacific Northwest. Watch this space for more details as they become available.

Lack of snow leaves CA’s “water tower” low
Research by OCCRI researchers Philip Mote and Darrin Sharp is featured in a National Geographic online article about CA’s continuing drought.

Climate Change Study Predicts Earlier Runoff
OCCRI’s John Stevenson presented a summary of the Wood River Basin project on March 6 at the Climate and Water Conservation Seminar sponsored by the University of Idaho Extension and the Wood River Land Trust.

Second Warmest Winter in PNW (after 1933-34)
OCCRI Director Philip Mote talks to KTVZ in Bend and the Salem Statesman Journal about the historic warmth and low snowpack in the PNW this winter.

“Warmer than normal temps for the next 3 months”
OCCRI Associate Director Kathie Dello tells Oregon Public Broadcasting.

“Winter seems to have completely forgotten about us out here”
OCCRI Associate Director Kathie Dello tells USA Today, Climate Central and the AP.

OCCRI Associate Director Kathie Dello in Wired magazine
“The way water is portioned out in the American west is that if you got here first you get to use it first.” Read more about the western drought in Wired.

REACCH Summer 2015 internships
Regional Approaches to Climate Change, Pacific Northwest Agriculture (REACCH PNA) is a USDA-funded, multi-institutional project focused on improving the long-term sustainability of agriculture within the region. REACCH partners are teaming up to offer a total of 11, 9-week long, undergraduate internships. Deadline for application is April 1, so act soon!

OCCRI Associate Director Kathie Dello on the NOAA Monthly Climate Call
Kathie Dello discusses key findings in last month’s NOAA report in the February Monthly Climate Call.

OCCRI affiliated researcher Dr. Bev Law in the Washington Post
Dr. Bev Law comments on a projected “mega-drought” and the ongoing Forest, Mortality, Economics, and Climate project in the Washington Post.

Oregon Snowpack at Record Lows
ABC News , Time, and the New York Times highlight the Oregon drought, quoting OCCRI Associate Director Kathie Dello.

OCCRI and CIRC now on Twitter and Facebook
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