Spatial and Topical Distributions of Mountain-Climate Research in the Columbia River Basin

Authors: Courtney Cooper*, University of Idaho, Paris Edwards, University of Idaho, Adrienne Marshall, University of Idaho, Meghan Foard, University of Idaho, Shana Hirsch, University of Washington, Micah Russell, University of Idaho, Timothy Link, University of Idaho
Topics: Mountain Environments, Climatology and Meteorology, Water Resources and Hydrology
Keywords: gap analysis, synthesized knowledge, climate change, Columbia River Basin, mountains, content analysis, headwaters, adaptation, mitigation
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Stones Throw 1 - Granite, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This presentation will report on a recent review of multidisciplinary thematic content and the spatial distribution of climate change research in mountain headwaters of the Columbia River Basin (CRB). Like other transboundary basins, the CRB encompasses diverse ecosystems and cultures. Climate change presents interacting biophysical and social threats to ecosystem services such as the provisioning of seasonal snowmelt to maintain freshwater supplies. Sustaining existing ecosystem services will require resilient adaptation and mitigation strategies. Results from this review suggest that climate change research in the CRB focuses on impacts more frequently than adaptation, while mitigation is rarely a focus. Additionally, most studies assess trends at large spatial extents, rely on secondary data, and make projections of climate change impacts rather than observations or predictions. The spatial distribution and thematic content of research vary across the international border, with greater concentrations of research in the United States than Canada. Within the two countries, the biophysical conditions and long-term research site locations partially explain the spatial distribution of research. Physical and ecological content appears more frequently than social. Closely related disciplines such as hydrology and climatology often co-occur, while more disparate disciplines such as sociology and ecology seldom co-occur. The limited interaction between social and biophysical content reinforces the need for increased collaboration between disparate disciplines. This presentation will illuminate areas of climate change research integration and identify key knowledge gaps. Results help inform future research opportunities both in mountainous regions and in the CRB specifically which may enhance climate change response strategies.

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