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Southeast CASC Develops Interactive Climate Visualization Tool

The Southeast CASC published an article highlighting a climate visualization platform for forestry professionals created by Southeast CASC researchers.

Loblolly pine forest
Loblolly pine forest. Photo by Doug Goldman, hosted by the USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database.

Read the original story posted by the Southeast CASC, here.

Pine forests provide valuable ecosystem services to the Southeast region through jobs, plant and wildlife habitat, and recreation. However, pine trees are sensitive to climate factors such as temperature and precipitation that may impact their ability to provide these services.

As part of an initiative to explore the relationship between loblolly pine trees and climate in the Southeast, Southeast CASC supported researchers surveyed and assessed the need of forestry professionals and developed a tool to visualize climate risks and opportunities related to loblolly pine tree planting and growth.

The Pine Integrated Network: Education, Mitigation an Adaptation Project (PINEMAP) Decision Support System displays observed historical, projected change, and projected average values for variables including temperature, precipitation and water yield. A time series plot also shows the range of possible outcomes. Projections of future climate conditions were calculated using MACA, a downscaling process that utilized daily meteorological variables to provide local information across a 6km resolution for continuing current levels of emissions as well as reduced or moderate levels. This method was applied across 20 Global Climate Models.

The goal of the project was to “foster improved access, use, and interpretation of climate projections by actual users making actual planning decisions,” says Southeast CASC USGS Director Ryan Boyles. This is reflected in the iterative process by which the researchers continuously sought input from and conducted usability studies on forestry professionals who would use the tool. 

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