The North Central Climate Adaptation Science Center is a partnership between the US Geological Survey, the University of Colorado Boulder and five consortium partners. The NC CASC fosters innovative and applied research in support of tribal, federal, state, and local natural resource management and decision-making. The North Central center is one of nine regional climate centers in the national CASC network created to help meet the changing needs of land and resource managers across the country. It serves Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas and Nebraska. 

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News

NC CASC August 2022 Tribal Climate Newsletter Now Available Online

The August 2022 issue of the NC CASC Tribal Climate Newsletter is now available online: Highlights include:


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Anthony Ciocco Rejoins the NC CASC as a USGS Climate Adaptation Scientist

Anthony Ciocco is a USGS Climate Adaptation Scientist who initially joined the NC CASC program in July of 2020 as a BIA Pathways Program Intern.


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New Publication: Conservation under uncertainty: Innovations in Participatory Climate Change Scenario Planning from U.S. National Parks

NC CASC Research Ecologist Brian Miller and former NC CASC colleague Brecken Robb are co-authors on a new publication, Conservation under uncertainty: Innovations in participatory climate change scenario planning from U.S.


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Brian Miller Co-author on New Publication on Global Biodiversity Loss

NC CASC/USGS Research Ecologist is a co-author on a new paper, "Expert perspectives on global biodiversity loss and its drivers and impacts on people". 


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NC CASC Welcomes Kynser Wahwahsuck, Tribal Climate Resilience Liaison

The NC CASC is excited to welcome Kynser Wahwahsuck, the new Tribal Climate Resilience Liaison for the Great Plains Tribal Water Alliance.


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NC CASC May/June 2022 Newsletter Now Available Online

The May/June 2022 issue of the NC CASC newsletter is now available online:


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NC CASC July 2022 Tribal Climate Newsletter Now Available Online

The July 2022 issue of the NC CASC Tribal Climate Newsletter is now available online:


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New NC CASC-funded Publications

Interannual variation in climate contributes to contingency in post-fire restoration outcomes in seeded sagebrush steppe from this project: Im


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NC CASC Welcomes Ella Ho, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Ella Ho is an undergraduate in the Astronomy and Planetary Sciences department with minors in Space and Atmospheric and Oceanic Science. Although her main focus is in space science, she firmly believes that Earth is the best planet.


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Rangwala Discusses Western U.S. Drought in Interview with CBC Radio-Canada

A prolonged drought in the western U.S. has left Colorado River reservoirs seriously depleted.


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Spotlight

The Future of International Waterways: The Milk and St. Mary River Basins Case Study

Along the US-Canadian border, international waterways weave a path from the mountains down to the foothills, feeding the Milk and St. Mary river basins, important regions to the Chippewa Cree Indians, Blackfeet, Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes. Besides providing crucial runoff to these downstream communities, the rivers also provide “critical water resources for agriculture, urban use, and support critical cold-water fisheries within the U.S. and Canada,” according to Greg Pederson (US Geological Survey). However, most of the existing natural streamflow records are pretty short, making it challenging to adequately characterize streamflow variability from those records alone.

In a time of climate change, the threat of drought looms every year here, prompting the need to investigate longer historical streamflow records, in order to guide state and federal managers on their future assessment of drought risk for the region. In a new publication by USGS scientists at the Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center , Martin and Pederson (2022) explore historical streamflow reconstructions from tree rings to gain insight into streamflow variability and drought in the region. While Dustbowl drought impacts were significant for the region in the 1930s, drought in the early 2000s surpassed even those deficits. Interestingly, lower elevation prairies were found to be considerably more sensitive to temperature variability than the mountain headwaters. The reconstructed streamflow records indicated that the more recent drought period of 2000 – 2010 was “probably the driest in the paleorecord over the prairies and occurred during a period where temperatures were probably exceeding any seen over the region in at least the last 1200 years,” says Justin Martin, co-author of the study.

On the current global emissions trajectory, the future looks much warmer which will drive important changes in seasonality across the region. What this means is that earlier melt-out of the snowpack from the winter will result in a longer warm season. Looking far out ahead, to the year 2100, droughts are likely to become increasingly severe and perhaps more frequent due to the effects of warming temperature alone. However, Pederson says, “there will be many surprises along the way to 2100 and, coupled with the unknown amount of future greenhouse gas emissions to be released or mitigated, it's difficult to project specific impacts with confidence that far into the future.” What we do know is that already scarce water resources will need to be increasingly carefully managed, especially in a region with a number of different stakeholders and the recent development of Tribal water rights.