The Northeastern and Midwestern United States is generally considered a well-watered region, yet droughts have happened in the past due to large-scale changes in atmospheric circulation. As recently as the 1960s and 1980s, widespread drought was experienced in this Northeast region. It is predicted that drought conditions in the region will become more prevalent as climate change influences temperature and precipitation patterns throughout the region.
In collaboration with the Department of the Interior Climate Science Centers (CSCs) and their managing organization, the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center at the U.S. Geological Survey, Ecological Drought has emerged as a research focus area for the CSCs. In May, 2016, a group of 26 climate and ecological experts explored what ecological drought would look like in the northeastern United States. This was part of a series of meetings at each of the nation’s eight CSCs aimed at collating our existing knowledge of the ecological impacts, resistance, and recovery from drought. The eight CSCs provide a fantastic opportunity to compare the ecological effects of drought, related research activities, and management options at different regions, spatial scales, and biomes.
The Integration and Application Network facilitated the discussion and has produced a project summary, “Ecological Drought in the Northeast United States: Anticipating changes to iconic species, landscapes, and ecosystems.”