Explore featured publications representing ongoing work being conducted by early career professionals across the Department of the Interior's Climate Science Centers and partner institutions. If you are a student or post-doc affiliated with one of the regional CSCs and would like to have your publications featured on this page, please contact us at

Northeast CSC

Evaluating infiltration requirements for new development using extreme storm transposition: A case study from Dane County, WI

Hayden, N.G., Potter, K.W., & Liebl, D.S.

2016 | Journal of the American Water Resources Association
Water flowing out of a pipe

Climate change is predicted to increase high-intensity rainfall frequency in the upper Midwest, but projections are uncertain and vary across climate models. We recommend using "extreme storm transposition" (rather than a probabalisitic, climate model-based approach) to better illustrate possible rainfall change impacts and to help communities identify stormwater-related vulnerabilities and build resilience in the face of climate change.

Realized climate niche breadth varies with population trend and distribution in North American birds

Ralston, J., DeLuca, W.V., Feldman, R.E. & King, D.I.

2016 | Global Ecology and Biogeography

Ecological niche theory states that realized niche breadth should increase with population growth. This relationship has been studied extensively in the context of density-dependent habitat selection, and there is evidence that animal populations at higher density occupy a wider range of vegetation types.

Projected changes in extreme temperature events based on the NARCCAP model suite

Horton, R.M., Coffel, E.D., Winter, J.M., & Bader, D.A.

2015 | Geophysical Research Letters
Heat map of North America.

Throughout the 21st century extreme temperatures are projected to increase faster than the mean over parts of the U.S. We use the North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program (NARCCAP) suite of high resolution regional climate models to investigate temperature changes and their causes over North America. Our results show that the eastern half of the continental U.S. is likely to see extreme temperatures diverge from the mean more than in the west, and we also find that large-scale synoptic setups - as characterized by their geopotential height anomalies - cannot explain the amplified warming. This result suggests that other dynamics, especially soil moisture feedbacks, may be driving the faster warming of extreme temperatures as compared to the mean.

Quantifying carbon stores and decomposition in dead wood: A review

Russell, M.B., Fraver, S., Aakala, T., Gove, J.H., Woodall, C.W., D'Amato, A,W, & Ducey, M.J.

2015 | Forest Ecology and Management
An eastern white pine log decaying at the Harvard Pisgah Tract in southwestern New Hampshire, a remnant of the 1938 New England Hurricane. Photo credit: Chris Woodall

The amount and dynamics of forest dead wood (both standing and downed) has been quantified by a variety of approaches throughout the forest science and ecology literature. Differences in the sampling and quantification of dead wood can lead to differences in our understanding of forests and their role in the sequestration and emissions of CO2, as well as in developing appropriate strategies for achieving dead wood-related objectives, including biodiversity protection, and procurement of forest bioenergy feedstocks. A thorough understanding of the various methods available for quantifying dead wood stores and decomposition is critical for comparing studies and drawing valid conclusions.

Multiple devleopmental pathways for range-margin Pinus banksiana forests

Gill, K.G., D'Amato, A.W. & Fraver, S.

2015 | Canadian Journal of Forest Research

Empirical knowledge of forest structure and development in early successional and range-margin populations is often lacking, limiting our ability to effectively model and manage these forests. Such is the case for jack pine (Pinus banksiana Lamb.) in central Minnesota, USA, where it reaches its southwestern range limit. Our objective was to quantify this population's historical range of variability of structural onditions and development pathways.

Contrasting human versus climatic impacts on erosion

Cook, T.L., Yellen, B.C., Woodruff, J.D. & Miller, D.

2015 | Geophysical Research Letters

Both human activity and climate change can influence erosion rates and initiate rapid landscape change. Understanding the relative impact of these factors is critical to managing the risks of extreme erosion related to flooding and landslide occurrence. Here we present a 2100 year record of sediment mass accumulation and inferred erosion based on lacustrine sediment cores from Amherst Lake, Vermont, USA.

Northwest CSC

Snow disappearance timing is dominated by forest effects on snow accumulation in warm winter climates of the Pacific Northwest, United States

2017 | Hydrological Processes
Authors Susan Dickerson-Lange (left) and Nic Wayand (right) deploying time lapse cameras to collect data.

Forests modify snow processes and affect snow water storage as well as snow disappearance timing. However, forest influences on snow accumulation and ablation vary with climate and topography and are therefore subject to temporal and spatial variability. We utilize multiple years of snow observations from across the Pacific Northwest, United States, to assess forest-snow interactions in the relatively warm winter conditions characteristic of matitime and transitional maritime-continental climates.

Challenges and successes in engaging citizen scientists to observe snow cover: From public engagement to an educational collaboration

2016 | Journal of Science Communication
Youths collecting data for the paper.

Whereas the evolution of snow cover across forested mountain watersheds is difficult to predict or model accurately, the presence or absence of snow cover is easily observable and these observations contribute to improved snow models. We engaged citizen scientists to collect observations of the timing of distributed snow disappearance over three snow seasons across the Pacific Northwest, U.S.A.

Divergence of ecosystem services in U.S. National Forests and Grasslands under a changing climate

Duan, K. et al., including Sun, S.

2016 | Scientific Reports

The 170 National Forests and Grasslands (NFs) in the conterminous United States are public lands that provide important ecosystem services such as clean water and timber supply to the American people. This study investigates the potential impacts of climate change on two key ecosystem services (i.e., water supply and carbon sequestration) of the NFs. We find that future climate change may result in a significant reduction in water yield but an increase in forest productivity in NFs. Such divergence is expected to intensify under higher greenhouse gas emission and associated climate change in the future.

Detecting unburned areas within wildfire perimeters using Landsat and ancillary data across the northwestern United States

Meddens, A.J.H., Kolden, C.A., & Lutz, J.A.

2016 | Remote Sensing of Environment
'Fire island' (unburned area) in the northwestern US.

Wildfires shape the distribution and structure of vegetation across the inland northwestern United States. However, fire activity is expected to increase given the current rate of climate change, with uncertain outcomes. A fire impact that has not been widely addressed is the development of unburned islands; areas within the fire perimeter that do not burn.