Water

If the continental United States represented the entire surface of the earth, water would cover as much as every state west of the Mississippi River, with enough left over to cover the state of New York. Of the total volume of water on earth, about 97% is saltwater, and only about 3% is fresh. 98% of the freshwater is locked away in groundwater, ice caps, and glaciers, meaning only 2% of the world’s freshwater is available for human use. That’s about 148 gallons per person on Earth. In comparison, a 10-minute shower can take between 20 and 50 gallons of water.

The Earth typically does not gain or lose water in substantial amounts, so the water you use likely existed, in some form, before the first living creature evolved. While the amount of water on the planet does not change significantly, the amount of water in parts of Earth’s system can fluctuate wildly. In addition, water is not distributed evenly across the land surface. The result is that some areas are climatically wetter or drier than others, which shapes local agriculture and restricts which crops and livestock can prosper in a given region.

In the United States, some areas are expected to become drier as the climate, including average temperature and average precipitation, changes. Conversely, other areas are predicted to become wetter. The frequency of extreme weather events--severe floods, persistent drought, and severe storms--is also expected to change in some regions. The effect of climate change on water availability and wet and dry seasons has numerous potential implications for agriculture, especially in areas where the climate is expected to become less suitable to sustained agricultural production.

Extreme Precipitation and Trends There is clear evidence that precipitation in the Northeast is more intense than it was in the past. The increase in the Northeast has been greater than any other region in the U.S. (Figure 1). Between 1901 and 2014, total annual precipitation…

Taking action now can help forested watersheds prepare for and adapt to a changing climate. Forested watersheds improve water quality and enhance water storage, naturally regulate streamflows, reduce flood damages and stormwater runoff, replenish groundwater and provide a myriad…

Growing Season Length Warmer temperatures have resulted in a longer freeze-free season and longer growing season across the region (Frumhoff et al. 2007, Kunkel et al. 2013). The freeze-free season, which is the period between the last occurrence of 32 °F in the spring and the…

Traditional and indigenous knowledge and perspectives have not often been recognized in climate adaptation planning efforts focused on natural resources. The Northern Forests Climate Hub is collaborating with regional tribal partners to address this gap, and collaborating to…

Dibaginjigaadeg Anishinaabe Ezhitwaad - A Tribal Climate Adaptation Menu and resources.   Climate change has impacted and will continue to impact indigenous peoples, their lifeways and culture, and the natural world upon which they rely, in unpredictable and potentially…

Engaging the Integrated Erosion Tool (IET) to define Soil Conditioning Index (SCI), understand impacts of climate on modeled cropping systems plus improve farmer profitability  The 2019 Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Liaison, Justin Mount, is working with the…

In 2015, the Southwest and California Climate Hubs published a report describing the potential vulnerability of crops, forests and animal agriculture to climate-driven environmental changes. The exposure of specific sectors of the agricultural and forestry industries varies…

Lessons Learned from the Urban Forestry Climate Change Response Framework Project: Chicago Wilderness Overview Urban areas are already experiencing impacts of a changing climate including increased temperatures, flooding, and extreme storms. These impacts are projected to…

This year is different for Cecarelli Farms. In late January 2018, Nelson Cecarelli passed away after a battle with cancer. His legacy of agricultural stewardship and passion for farming continue through his business partner and friend, Will DellaCamera. Over the past 20 years,…