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

Northwest CSC

Spatiotemporal spawning patterns of smallmouth bass at its upstream invasion edge

Rubenson, E.S. & Olden, J.D.

2016 | Transactions of the American Fisheries Society

Climate change and land-use practices are causing widespread warming of streams, forcing resident species to adapt or migrate. For instance, in the John Day River, Oregon (Columbia River basin), rising temperatures are facilitating the range expansion of Smallmouth Bass Micropterus dolomieu into critical salmon rearing habitat. Understanding Smallmouth Bass reproductive ecology at its range boundaries is integral to understanding and ultimately predicting its upstream range expansion.

Capturing subregional variability in regional-scale climate change vulnerability assessments of natural resources

Buotte, P.C., Peterson, D.L., McKelvey, K.S. & Hicke, J.A.

2016 | Journal of Environmental Management

Natural resource vulnerability to climate change can depend on the climatology and ecological conditions at a particular site. Here we present a conceptual framework for incorporating spatial variability in natural resource vulnerability to climate change in a regional-scale assessment.

Selecting climate change scenarios using impact-relevant sensitivities

Vano, J.A., Kim, J.B., Rupp, D.E., & Mote, P.W.

2015 | Geophysical Research Letters

Climate impact studies often require the selection of a small number of climate scenarios. Ideally, a subset would have simulations that both (1) appropriately represent the range of possible futures for the variable/s most important to the impact under investigation and (2) come from global climate models (GCMs) that provide plausible results for future climate in the region of interest. We demonstrate an approach to select a subset of GCMs that incorporates both concepts and provides insights into the range of climate impacts.

Tree mortality from drought, insects, and their interactions in a changing climate

Anderegg, W.R.L., et al., including Hood, S.

2015 | New Phytologist
Drought- and beetle-induced tree mortality in California.

Climate change is expected to drive increased tree mortality through drought, heat stress, and insect attacks, with manifold impacts on forest ecosystems. Yet, climate-induced tree mortality and biotic disturbance agents are largely absent from process-based ecosystem models. Using data sets from the western USA and associated studies, we present a framework for determining the relative contrinution of drought stress, insect attack, and their interactions, which is critical for modeling mortality in future climates.

Observations of distributed snow depth and snow duration within diverse forest structures in a maritime mountain watershed

Dickerson-Lange, S.E., Lutz, J.A., Gersonde, R., Martin, K.A., Forsyth, J.E., & Lundquist, J.D.

2015 | Water Resources Research

Spatially distributed snow depth and snow duration data were collected over two to four snow seasons during water years 2011-2014 in experimental forest plots within the Cedar River Municipal Watershed, 50 km east of Seattle, Washington, USA. These 40 x 40 m forest plots, situated on the western slope of the Cascade Range, include unthinned second-growth coniferous forests, variable density thinned forests, forest gaps in which a 20 m diameter (approximately equivalent to one tree height) gap was cut in the middle of each plot, and old-growth forest.

Repeated spring precipitation shortage alters individual growth patterns in Scots pine forests in the Western Alps

Castagneri, D., Bottero, A., Motta, R., & Vacchiano, G.

2015 | Trees
Scots pine trees effected by drought

Over the last decades, Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) decline has involved large areas in the European Alps. Although the species is supposed to be drought resistant, increased temperatures and droughts are often indicated as predisposing causes of the decline. Nevertheless, the exact climate conditions that initiate the decline, and the reasons why they differentially affect individual trees, are unknown.

Adapting transportation to climate change on federal lands in Washington State, U.S.A.

Strauch, R.L., Raymond, C.L., Rochefort, R.M., Hamlet, A.F., & Lauver, C.

2015 | Climatic Change
A recently replaced culvert in North Cascades National Park on Cascade River Road

Research scientists collaborated with federal land managers of two national parks and two national forests to conduct a climate change vulnerability assessment and to identify adaptation strategies for a transportation network covering 28,900 km of roads and trails in north-central Washington, U.S.A. The assessment employed observations of sensitivity and response to climatic variability, downscaled climate projections, literature reviews, current management policies and practices, expert knowledge, and stakeholder engagement.

Assessing the impacts of projected climate change on biodiversity in the protected areas of western North America

Langdon, J.G.R. & Lawler, J.J.

2015 | Ecosphere
As climates continue to change, species distributions, ecological communities, and ecosystems will be altered. An understanding of the trends in these changes can allow protected area managers to develop more effective climate-adaptation strategies. Here, we quantify the relative amount of projected potential climate-driven ecological change across a protected area network by calculating three metrics.

Evaluation of CMIP5 20th century climate simulations for the Pacific Northwest USA

Rupp, D.E., Abatzoglou, J.T., Hegewisch, K.C., Mote, P.W.

2013 | Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres

Monthly temperature and precipitation data from 41 global climate models (GCMs) of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) were compared to observations for the 20th century, with a focus on the United States Pacific Northwest (PNW) and surrounding region.

North Central CSC

Drought risk assessment under climate change is sensitive to methodological choices for the estimation of evaporative demand

Dewes, C.F., Rangwala, I., Barsugli, J.J., Hobbins, M.T., & S. Kumar 

2017 | PLOS ONE

What is the future of drought in the United States?  An important part of answering this question is understanding how atmospheric evaporative demand (E0), “the thirst of the atmosphere”, will change. Evaporative demand, also referred to as potential evapotranspiration, can lead to drought stress on a landscape and increase irrigation needs for agricultural systems.  The authors address whether currently used formulations for determining E0 are up to the task of projecting drought in the future.