Water Resources


Climate Variability, Climate Change, and Western Water

Kathleen Miller presented her work on this subject at the First National Symposium on Climate Variability, Climate Change, and Water Resource Management in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in October 1997. She also prepared a paper for the symposium proceedings. The paper provided an analysis of the implications of climate variability and climate change for management of water resources in the western US. She provided an overview of the current climate of the west, along with a description of potential climate changes and sources of uncertainty. This paper provided a basis for placing the impacts of global climate change in the context of existing climatic variability. Policy implications were considered within the framework of the prior appropriation system of water law and existing federal and state laws and agency mandates.

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Handbook of Weather, Climate, and Water: Societal Impacts Volume

Michael Glantz continued to work with a multidisciplinary team headed by Thomas Potter (National Weather Service [Retired], Salt Lake City, Utah) to produce the Societal Impacts Volume as one of a set of reference books entitled Handbook of Weather, Climate, and Water and accompanying CD-ROM for McGraw-Hill. This is the first time a societal impacts volume appears in one of McGraw-Hill's science handbooks. The Handbook will serve as a major reference on the state of atmospheric and hydrologic sciences for the 21st century. The Societal Impacts Volume will be one of eight major sections. Glantz assembled 20 contributors who prepared chapters for the Societal Impacts Volume component of this compendium. Publication is anticipated in FY99.

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Water Resource Development Policy in the Senegal River Valley

Research performed by Postdoctoral Fellow John Magistro (ASP) has focused on the review and application of social science and biophysical literature on climate change, variability, and vulnerability to research on water resource development policy in the Senegal River Valley of Africa. A two-month field research initiative in Senegal on this topic, supported by ASP and ESIG, was initiated in September 1998 and will be completed in November 1998. A joint research initiative is also being developed to integrate global- and regional-scale climate change and hydrological models with socioeconomic analysis of climate-hydrology interactions in the Senegal River Valley in order to assess future water resource management policy in that region.

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US/Canada Transboundary Water Resources and Climate Change

Miller and Linda Mearns completed work on a project for NAFTA's Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) on the impacts of climate variability and possible climate change on transboundary freshwater resources in North America. The full project, which involved collaboration among researchers at NCAR, U Arizona, National Autonomous U of Mexico, and Environment Canada researchers at U British Columbia and U Waterloo provided the Commission with a comprehensive literature review and assessment of climate impacts and policy implications for a set of major transboundary rivers along the US/Canadian and US/Mexican borders.

Miller and Mearns wrote the overall introduction for the report and collaborated fully with the Canadian team on the survey of US/Canada border-region impacts, as well as on an extensive, focused assessment of impacts on the Columbia River system. The portions of the report contributed by this US/Canadian collaboration included a description of the current state of knowledge regarding the impacts of climate on streamflows, lake levels, water quality, and other salient characteristics of transboundary water resources along the US/Canadian border, along with assessments of the vulnerabilities of natural resource systems and water-dependent human activities to these climate impacts. The Columbia River Basin study focused on the potential implications of climate change for management of ongoing conflicts between hydropower production and other uses of the river, including protection of salmon populations. Work on this part of the project used the results of two regional climate model runs (control and doubled CO2) for the Pacific Northwest segment of the full domain, which included the western two-thirds of the US. Miller and Stewart Cohen (Environment Canada) are currently collaborating on an article for submission to a journal based on the Columbia River case study.

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Water Resources and Climate Change - Issues for the US Central Great Plains

Miller began work on a project in support of the US National Assessment which seeks to identify water resource sector vulnerabilities and policy issues relating to the potential effects of global climate change on the US Central Great Plains Region. Her preliminary work on this subject has focused on describing current water policy issues and ongoing interstate conflicts in this region and outlining the possible effects of a changing hydrologic regime on these issues. She presented this work at the Water Resource Sector Workshop of the US National Assessment, held in West Palm Beach, Florida, in September 1998. This work will continue throughout the term of the US National Assessment effort.

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