With its mountain-to-coast hydroclimate, strong influence of Pacific Ocean weather systems and climate patterns, and unique land use history with strong rural-to-urban gradients, the Puget Sound region is a natural laboratory for studying a number of complex processes in, and interactions among, different Earth and human systems. A 1-year scoping study was initiated by the Earth and Environmental Systems Modeling program of the Department of Energy’s Office of Science Biological and Environmental Research. It was intended to elucidate and highlight the rich opportunities Puget Sound offers to advance our understanding of and ability to simulate Earth system changes and human-Earth system interactions. A literature review, multiday community workshop, and external input were used to develop this scoping study report.
The report first summarizes scientific understanding and knowledge gaps associated with major regional systems, including atmosphere and climate, the land surface, coastal and marine processes, and human systems, as well as how these systems are changing over time. It then highlights some of the most notable extreme events in the region, including heat waves, atmospheric rivers, droughts, and wildfires. Finally, key research opportunities for Earth and environmental systems modeling in, above, and around Puget Sound are highlighted.