Oregon’s Climate Change Experiences and Adaptation Options

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The latest biennial report from Oregon Climate Change Research Institute – the fifth Oregon Climate Assessment shows climate change effects at present and future projections and how climate extremes and natural calamities widen the state’s economic and racial inequality. The report is legislatively mandated and cites many peer-reviewed studies.

Climate change effects identified in the report serve as a resource for adaptation and mitigation planning and implementation of Oregon’s 2021 Climate Change Adaptation Framework.

Oregon’s state of climate science.

The temperature will continue to rise an average of 5 F by 2050 and 8.2F by 2080. Precipitation will increase during winter and decrease during summer. There will be a slow accumulation of snow and early snow melts, and snow runoffs will begin and peak earlier in the year. Advances in science will make more accurate climate forecasts, which can help predict the likelihood of some extreme weather events.

Climate-related natural hazards

The following are the consequences and projections of climate change in the state according to the report:

  1. Extreme heat will happen more frequently and longer during the 21st century.
  2. Droughts. As summers become warmer and drier, more drought events, particularly snow droughts like 2014 and 2015, will increase.
  3. More wildfire events. The area burned in the state increase significantly from 1984 to 2018, and this trend will continue in the next 50 to 100 years.
  4. Flooding will become more frequent and severe due to increased precipitation and warmer atmosphere.
  5. Coastal hazards like sea-level rise, coastal storms, and erosion will increase, and the threat’s extent will depend on the state’s coastal adaption measures.  
  6. Rising ocean surface temperatures can decrease oxygen levels in the water and increase the toxicity of harmful algal bloom. And ocean acidification due to the drop of ocean Ph levels can affect shell formation and marine life and productivity.

Racial and economic disparities become more apparent when communities are exposed to natural hazards and calamities. Addressing the health and economic issues in conjunction with climate change can improve the state’s resilience and quality of life.

The report identifies the various sectors that will need climate adaptation action. These sectors consist of natural systems, built environment, public health, tribal cultural resources, and social systems.

However, the state has plenty of climate adaptation and mitigation options available to them. These adaptation measures include expanding and integrating solar and wind power in the power grid, electric vehicles, and green infrastructure for flood resilience.

To view the entire report, click the link below:

Source Citation:

Fifth Oregon Climate Assessment, Executive Summary (2021, January). Retrieved from https://oregonstate.app.box.com/s/3ce2qvmxy881vug4qu4wgb4ypijbv7m5

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