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Come Rain or Shine

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Come Rain or Shine

USDA Southwest Climate Hub & DOI Southwest Climate Adaptation Science Center

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Collaborative product of the USDA Southwest Climate Hub and the DOI Southwest Climate Adaptation Science Center. We highlight stories to share the most recent advances in climate science, weather and climate adaptation, and innovative practices to support resilient landscapes and communities. We believe that sharing forward thinking and creative climate science and adaptation will strengthen our collective ability to respond to even the most challenging impacts of climate change in one of th ...
 
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In this episode, Drs. Sheri Spiegal, Shelemia Nyamuryekung'e, and Matt McIntosh roll up their sleeves and dig into answering some of the questions that producers have asked the team about the precision ranching technologies currently under research as part of the Sustainable Southwest Beef Project. If you’re just tuning in for the first time and wo…
 
2020 and the first half of 2021 were brutal drought years for the Southwest U.S. continuing a much longer term regional drought. But this monsoon season brought welcome rain to many places in the region, with flowing washes and bright green vegetation. Many are asking, is the drought over? Surely if there is water in our usually dry washes, we must…
 
This month we take a closer look at desalination of brackish groundwater and/or seawater as a potential solution to augment water supply in the arid southwest. We are joined by Dr. Sam Fernald, Director of the New Mexico State University Water Resources Research Institute, and Dr. Pei Xu researcher and professor in the Department of Civil Engineeri…
 
In this episode we continue our conversation around the topic of extreme heat. We visit with three experts in urban planning to discuss how we can mitigate public health impacts of extreme heat through improved urban planning and green infrastructure. Dr. Ladd Keith, a researcher at the University of Arizona, Dr. Dave Hondula, a researcher at Arizo…
 
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Extreme heat kills on average more than 600 people in the U.S. each year. Over the course of just a few weeks this summer (2021), three different heat waves baked the western U.S., breaking numerous heat records and killing hundreds. In this episode, as part of our educational outreach to …
 
Taking action to manage drought and adapt to changing conditions can sometimes have unintended impacts on the adaptive capacity of others in the same social and ecological system. Jen Henderson, an assistant professor of geography at Texas Tech University, shares about two instances where social learning took place after actors experienced unantici…
 
CoCoRaHS is an acronym for the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network. CoCoRaHS is a unique, non-profit, community-based network of volunteers of all ages and backgrounds working together to measure and map precipitation (rain, hail and snow), with the unique ability to capture fine-scale variability in local precipitation. CoCoRaHs is…
 
In this continuation of our special series on drought, we interview two water and climate scientists to learn what streamflow forecasts are predicting for the upcoming summer, and to learn more about an emerging area of research, termed snow drought. Dr. Adrian Harpold is a hydrologist with the University of Nevada, Reno, and is also a SW CASC fund…
 
In this mid-month bonus episode we interview Dr. Dannele Peck, Director of the USDA Northern Plains Climate Hub, about a rangeland/grassland forage productivity forecasting tool called Grass-Cast. Grass-Cast uses well-known relationships between historical weather and grassland production to provide estimates of annual forage production, beginning …
 
Drought impacts more than our physical world - the psychological impacts of drought are also very real. Crop damage or failure, running out of forage for livestock, the loss of culturally important natural resources, and many other drought-related effects can lead to stress, anxiety, and a deep sense of loss. Sometimes it’s hard to know who to talk…
 
As of March 1st 2020, 85% of Arizona and 82% of New Mexico were in extreme to exceptional drought--the most severe drought categories used by the U.S. Drought Monitor--and other states in the Southwest were fairing similarly. Rangelands and other arid ecosystems that are able to withstand exceptionally high temperatures may not seem as vulnerable t…
 
Do you drink wine? Do you know how many varieties of wine there are in the world? What’s enology? What makes a vintage unique? Join us as we sit down with three scientists who specialize in viticulture and the cultivation of wine-grapes to hear about all of this and more. Dr. Kerri Steenwerth, with USDA-ARS in California, Dr. Andy Walker, from UC D…
 
Is climate change already impacting viticulture (the cultivation of grapevines)? How might a changing climate affect wine production? Is today a better time to drink red wine in Germany? Does weather affect alcohol content? You might be surprised by the answers to some of these! In this second half of our two-episode feature on viticulture, we delv…
 
Dr. Andres Cibils reflects on the first year of the Sustainable Southwest Beef Project - what's been accomplished, what's in the works, and what's changing. Want to learn about the beef and what's being researched? Check out this podcast, and visit https://southwestbeef.org/. The Sustainable Southwest Beef Project is funded by USDA National Institu…
 
Drs. Dave Dubois, New Mexico State Climatologist, and Nick Webb, research scientist at the Jornada Experimental Range, discuss the nitty gritty of dust (pun intended). While it may seem dry (haha, okay we'll stop now), it's important to know about moving forward. What weather conditions produce dust? What kind of modeling and monitoring projects ar…
 
Urban expansion and mismanagement of the Santa Cruz River in southern Arizona had led to a dry river bed for much of the year. Using effluent (treated wastewater), the City of Tucson Water Department brought perennial flow back to a portion of the river, just South of downtown Tucson. The returned water recharges groundwater to the local aquifer, w…
 
How would you sum up the 2020 fire season in just one word? Tim Brown, Royce Fontenot, and Megan Friggens share their impressions of the current fire season and discuss their work with pre-fire preparedness, active fire management, and post-fire recovery. They close with sharing some additional thoughts on fire management and response. Want to hear…
 
There are times when community resilience needs to be financially supported for a vision of sustainability and resilience to become reality. This month we interviewed Fred Petok from USDA Rural Development about the business of financially supporting climate adaptation for communities, and how the programs he administers can support rural communiti…
 
From smartphones to remote-controlled home appliances, the “internet of things” is everywhere. In this episode, Dr. Tony Waterhouse, professor emeritus at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) discusses virtual fencing, animal location/movement sensors, and other cutting edge precision ranching technologies either in the making or currently being introdu…
 
The Sustainable Southwest Beef Project is a 5-year project funded by USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Agriculture and Food Research Initiative’s Sustainable Agricultural Systems (SAS) program, grant #2019-69012-29853. Here Drs. Sheri Speigal and Andres Cibils discuss the goals and objectives of the project, the collaborations and pa…
 
Atmospheric Rivers (ARs) are narrow streams of moisture in the atmosphere that transport water vapor from the tropics to other regions. In the U.S., they mostly impact the West Coast where they account for much of the region’s moisture. ARs can propagate as far inland as Utah, however, and have been identified as the primary source of hydrologic fl…
 
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