|Beautiful clouds on the flight down.|
Overall, a nice component of the project was that it did connect practitioners and scientists, and I was really happy to see a group of high school students in attendance from the local school because of a really intrepid teacher. In retrospect, I have also been amazed by the seeming united front that some of the state governments and the federal government presence showed at the conference. We have nothing like that here in Canada, and the variability of the federal, provincial, and municipal governments' approaches and progress on adaptation is apparent very quickly. In the research project that we took to the conference, for example, I recall one local decision-maker highlight that at a recent meeting (Fall 2015), one of the mayors of a municipality with a significant amount of coastline had leaned in to ask this person if they had been thinking about sea level rise for their municipality, implying that he never had. This decision-maker was shocked that this municipality's main man hadn't thought about this issue before!
|Loved this little sand spit in I saw somewhere in the Puget Sound area as we got |
near Seattle! It looks like a dinosaur to me!
In many ways, the logistics were fantastic: the size of the conference (no more than ~320 participants a day) made it fairly easy to find colleagues and speakers that really made me sit up straight and pay attention during their talks. And/or find people I recognized from the conference when I attended two or three years ago. On the note of colleagues, however: myself, Dr. Wolf, and Stephen Sobie, the Regional Climate Impacts Analyst at the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (UVic) were the only Canadians in attendance! I spoke with a few of the organizers about this, and realized that there was a very big opportunity to extend invitations to a much wider group of my Canadian peers and colleagues who would be interested in attending, and an invitation to help do so for the next conference. Take note: those of you interested in climate change, mitigation, and adaptation issues: they don't stop at the 49th Parallel, and look for the 2016 Northwest Climate Conference held in either Seattle, Washington.
|I took this as a friendly reminder that yes, my country (The North Pole) is not that far away. :)|
Unlike rain, snow extends the seasonality of moisture because of the length of time that snow can last into the year from when it first falls. Rain falls and needs to go somewhere, or be used at once. It has an immediate effect on local hydrologic cycles, while snow has a more prolonged effect. Snow takes longer to melt, and lasts into the spring and early summer, which has directly relationships to timing of peak and low stream flows, and the availability of water for cities, animals, and ecosystems. Snow is a central component of the water cycles in the northwestern states (and British Columbia, too!), and its worrisome that we are seeing snowpack decline, as Phil Mote and colleagues first presented in their 2005 paper "Declining mountain snowpack in western North America."
|My first real frost of the year! It came decorating these leaves with beautiful sparkles!|
We were encouraged to tweet (#nwclimate2015) about the conference and while we were there—which was a fantastic idea, and made me think of the positive attention that Canadian researcher Catherine Scott received around Halloween this past year, live-tweeting with grace and humour about the spider sex she was gathering data of in her lab—but to avoid major roaming fees on my cell, I'd left it at home. That made me brainstorm about how to make something like that more accessible for international attendees like me. Maybe guidelines ahead of time about tweeting abroad (using the wireless network) or having a cell-phone share or something like that from a general account for the conference? (My sincere apologies if I am revealing my lack of technological understanding here.) :) But I really appreciated the encouragement to extend the impact of the conference and interest in it through social media while I was there.
|Mudgy the Moose; Millie the Mouse is, unfortunately, not easy to see in the dark!|