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Indicators of Climate Change in Idaho
MRIC 2015/16

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Indicators of Climate Change in Idaho

The Intersection of Biophysical Change with Social Perception

John Abatzoglou
Department of Geography

Timothy Link and Penny Morgan
Department of Forest, Rangeland and Fire Sciences

Presented with support of the Provost’s Office and University Honors Program


Graduate students at the University of Idaho, with faculty advisors, surveyed stakeholders in Idaho to assess perceived impacts of climate change to natural resources across the state. This survey led to a set of long-term physical and biological observations that compose climate indicators for the state of Idaho. From the timing of lilac blooms and mountain bluebird nest records to the amount of snowpack and streamflow, these climate indicators provide a comprehensive picture of climate variability and change in Idaho for the past 30 to 100 years. Now published in Weather, Climate and Society, the research is coupled with outreach literature and a website soon to be made available to the public.


John Abatzoglou is an associate professor in the Department of Geography. His research interests are in climate science and meteorology specific to the American West. He works on both theoretical aspects of climate, as well as applied climatology and climate impacts on water resources, ecology and agriculture.

Timothy Link is an associate professor of forest hydrology in the College of Natural Resources. His research focuses broadly on how climate, vegetation, and human activities influence hydrological processes from the point to the small watershed scale. Specific research topics focus on how vegetation affects snowpack and related ecological processes, how climate changes will be manifested in the rain-snow transition zone in complex terrain, and how forest management activities affect water flow, quality, and riparian systems.

Penny Morgan is a professor in the College of Natural Resources. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Utah State University and her doctorate at the University of Idaho. Her current research focuses on some of the broad challenges facing people in the West: How will the changing climate influence fire occurrence and severity? Where, when and why do fires burn severely? What drives landscape dynamics, and how can we best manage landscape change? How does vegetation recover following large fires, and how does post-fire management affect weeds and other vegetation regrowth?

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