Climate

spring wheat

REACCH strives to understand how climate factors and agricultural management practices affect one another in order to reduce agriculture’s negative impacts on climate, while preparing growers for climate-related risks. REACCH teams monitor greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the field under different cropping scenarios and simulate climate change impacts on Pacific Northwest agriculture using forecasting models. Field results in combination with simulation models help predict future perturbations associated with agricultural management.

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Climate Modeling
Models that integrate climate science with specific agricultural components provide REACCH and our stakeholders with a better understanding of possible changes in economic conditions and conservation policies, as well as the effectiveness of different farming methods under projected changes.

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Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Monitoring
Carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrous oxide (N2O) are the primary GHG concerns associated with cereal systems. Emissions can largely be managed using conservation crop and soil management strategies.

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The following table summarizes the main impacts of climate change in the Pacific Northwest.

Climate Trend Observed Change Projected Change Impacts
Warmer Winters +1.3F +5.2F Reduced snowpack, increased winter runoff, reduced overwinter mortality
Warmer Springs +1.3F +5F Earlier greenup and plant maturation, longer freeze free season
Warmer Summers +1.2F +6F Increased heat stress and evapotranspiration
Wetter Springs +12% +5% Offset increased water use by plants, increased potential for water logged soils
Drier Summers -3% -9% Increased drought stress

1985-2014 versus 1895-1984
2040-2069 versus 1971-2000
Obs change is from NCDC data using an average of WA/OR/ID
Projected change are from MACA RCP8.5 data and represent the multi-model mean change for the NW US covering WA/OR/ID and western MT.