WERA102: Climate Data and Analyses for Applications in Agriculture and Natural Resources

(Multistate Research Coordinating Committee and Information Exchange Group)

Status: Active

WERA102: Climate Data and Analyses for Applications in Agriculture and Natural Resources

Duration: 10/01/2016 to 09/30/2021

Administrative Advisor(s):


NIFA Reps:


Statement of Issues and Justification

Climate change, drought, and pronounced natural climate variability pose major challenges to agriculture and natural resource management in the western United States. In turn, climate information—historical, real-time and prognostic—is vital for the sustainable management of these resources. The use of climate information is a key component of decision support tools, programs, technologies, and practices that protect and enhance water, soil, and air. Likewise, legislation and policy must incorporate knowledge of climate variability and change if we hope to maintain the stability and long-term viability of agriculture, water, timber and other goods and services in the West. These activities are consistent with efforts to be carried out under the USDA Climate Hub Program.


Currently climate data and information are collected by a wide range of federal, state and local agencies, as well as many non-governmental organizations. This information is then stored and distributed in myriad ways. Accessing relevant and reliable climate-related products continues to be a major challenge for the agriculture and natural resource communities. Communication among the various agencies and organizations responsible for this information is becoming increasingly important as a means of leveraging data collection efforts, maintaining monitoring stations, and for disseminating products that best meet stakeholder needs. State Climatologists (SCs) and NOAA Regional Climate Centers (RCCs) fill some of these coordination needs at the state and regional level, and the National Climatic Data Center performs similar—but limited—functions at the national level. However, there is a pressing need in the western US to enhance cooperation and coordination, and to address issues that SCs and RCCs working alone are not well-equipped to tackle. Collaboration and cooperation with the USDA Climate Hub Program can benefit both groups’ efforts to meet their mission statements and goals.  


Over the past 30 plus years, the Western Extension Research Activity (WERA)-102committee has served a critical function in ensuring coordination and cooperation among the many and varied groups responsible for producing climate data, climate-related information and products in the West. In times of increasingly tight budgets, the committee is playing an increasing role in ensuring the sustainability and economic viability of the networks and partnerships responsible for creating and distributing these products. Given the significant economic impacts from adverse weather and climate variability and change, it is also prudent that the committee continue to serve as a focal point for ensuring the persistence of strong weather and climate research and applications programs in the West. In short, this committee has served as a forum for coordination, discussion, and prioritization of data collection, research, and applications. It has been a platform to promote the efficient use of limited resources and to enhance our collective ability meet stakeholder needs. The new committee proposal aims to re-invigorate these activities in partnership with the western USDA Climate Hubs located in Corvallis, Oregon; Davis, California; Las Cruces, New Mexico; and Fort Collins, Colorado.

Objectives

  1. Collaborate with federal agency climate hubs and centers to highlight their unique roles and leverage limited resources for research activities related to agriculture and resource management in the western U.S.
  2. Evaluate monitoring network capabilities to facilitate regional comparison of data to address critical issues in agriculture and natural resources management.
  3. Promote access to, use of, and further development of monitoring networks and associated value added products to meet the needs of agriculture and resource management in the West.
  4. Facilitate interagency coordination for data collection and maintenance of monitoring sites in the western U.S.

Procedures and Activities

<p>Collaborate with federal agency climate hubs and centers to highlight their unique roles and leverage limited resources for research activities related to agriculture and resource management in the western U.S.</p>
<ol>
<li>Communication and coordination with federal partners and their climate centers and hubs to ensure that the needs of agriculture and natural resource management are met in the most effective manner possible. 2. Support monitoring and assessment of climate variability and change, particularly as it relates to drought and water resources. 3. Communicate improved understanding of climate variability and change, and their impacts on agricultural and natural resources. 4. Facilitate the creation of climatic time-series and climate scenarios that can be used in hydrological and natural resource models and decision support systems. 5. Collaborate on the development of tools that quantify or describe relationships between weather and climate and water availability, crops, forests, rangelands, pests, and diseases, and thereby increase the effectiveness of management activities.</li>
</ol>
<p>Evaluate monitoring network capabilities to facilitate regional comparison of data to address critical issues in agriculture and natural resources management.</p>
<ol>
<li>Identify and share relevant weather and climate data and information resources. 2. Develop technologies to gather and distribute data and information from disparate sources. 3. Provide coordination on issues surrounding data collection, quality control/assurance and, where appropriate, make recommendations or take action to ensure the creation of high-quality data sets to support both research and applications. 4. Play a leading role in the development of standards for siting and maintenance of stations, as well as standards for data archiving and metadata. &nbsp;</li>
</ol>
<p>Promote access to, use of, and further development of monitoring networks and associated value added products to meet the needs of agriculture and resource management in the West.</p>
<ol>
<li>Share methodologies for manipulating and presenting climate information spatially. 2. Facilitate the creation and use of gridded and modeled data sets and derived climate products suitable for agricultural and natural resources management.&nbsp; 3. Facilitate the creation of climate impact assessments, drought advisories and other products that are directly applicable to policymakers, water managers, and other key end-users. 4. Facilitate the development of climate products that incorporate information from multiple data sources (e.g., satellite, radar and ground observations). 5. Ensure that data and information critical to agriculture and natural resource management is delivered in formats that can be readily incorporated into decision support systems. 6. Develop and share methods to evaluate how well products and services are meeting user needs.</li>
</ol>
<p>Facilitate interagency coordination for data collection and maintenance of monitoring sites in the western U.S.</p>
<ol>
<li>Identify monitoring needs or gaps in existing networks that impact agriculture and resources management and explore remedial options. 2. Identification of data and analysis needs related to agriculture and natural resource management. 3. Explore presentation and dissemination methods for climate information using emerging technologies (e.g., web mapping, social networks, etc.). 4. Use of new and emerging sensor technologies to improve data quality and/or promote the economic sustainability of data collection networks. 5. Leveraging of existing data collection, analysis and distribution infrastructure and technologies to better meet the need of agriculture and natural resource management.</li>
</ol>

Expected Outcomes and Impacts

  • Share relevant weather and climate data and information resources.
  • Develop and share methodologies for manipulating, sharing, and presenting digital climate information.
  • Facilitate Climate Hub developed climate-related products to meet the requirements of decision support.
  • Provide climate related information via partner web sites and other outlets.
  • Assess the effectiveness of current approaches to collecting and disseminating climate data and products.
  • Identify monitoring gaps and remedial measures to address such gaps in collaboration with data gathering agencies.
  • Explore new ways to collaboratively maintain monitoring sites to maximize the ability to collect reliable climate data across Western landscapes.

Projected Participation

View Appendix E: Participation

Educational Plan

Agricultural meteorology and climatology are integral sciences in virtually all research sectors of the AES. Participants are called upon to provide consultation to other researchers, extension personnel, and end users such as growers and consultants. A major focus of the committee is the development and dissemination of weather and climate information related to agricultural and natural resources management in support of the USDA Climate Hubs. Another purpose of the WERA-102 is the on-going education of its participants regarding activities from the complex web of agencies involved in weather and climate monitoring and applications in the West. Specifically, the WERA-102 will: (1) Conduct detailed educational sessions at each annual meeting about current priority issues. The meetings can be held at the different western USDA Climate Hubs and Western Region Climate Center to better engage and share information.

Organization/Governance

Governance will be standard. Two officers are elected each year: A chair, who develops the agenda and leads the annual meeting, and a secretary who prepares the minutes and the annual report. Traditionally, the secretary becomes the chair the following year

Literature Cited

None

Attachments

Land Grant Participating States/Institutions

AZ, CO, IL, NM, NV, OK, OR

Non Land Grant Participating States/Institutions

Arizona State University, California Department of Water Resources, Institute for Water Resources, USACE, Oregon State University, University of Kentucky, US Bureau of Reclamation, USDA ARS, Wyoming
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