Environmental and Societal Impacts Group

Education and Outreach


Climate Change Surprises Reprint (Second Edition)

Glantz received funding from the Department of Energy (via Argonne National Laboratory) to collaborate with David Streets of Argonne on a project originally designed to define a taxonomy of global climate change "surprises." The earth's climate is, in many ways, an unpredictable physical system. Abrupt as well as slow-onset "surprises" often cause major disruptions to society in terms of loss of capital, natural resources, and human life. The results of this project are available to those researchers involved in integrated assessment model development activities related to climate change, as well as to those interested in the policy aspects of the climate change issue. The project was finalized in FY98. Due to the demand for the project's final report, additional funds were obtained from the Department of Energy in order to reprint it in FY99 for more widespread distribution. More specifically, it was reprinted for distribution at the Fourth Session of the UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP4) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2-13 November 1998.

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

Michael Glantz continued to work with a multidisciplinary team of editors 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 from several disciplines who prepared chapters for the Societal Impacts Volume component of this compendium. Publication was delayed to FY00.

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Climate Affairs Program Development

Climate AffairsGlantz received funding from NSF in FY98 to begin a new activity called "the Climate Affairs Module Project." The goal of this activity is to identify the level of interest in colleges and universities, as well as other educational training centers, and to assist them in development of a climate affairs course concentration (following the example of marine affairs). Glantz developed a group of advisors on email, and during FY99 traveled to several colleges and universities to give lectures on the activity. In collaboration with Tom Windham (SOARS), he traveled to New Orleans to meet with college presidents of three HBCUs (Historic Black Colleges and Universities) to discuss interest in the climate affairs project. Glantz also negotiated with NOAA's Office of Global Programs to receive additional funding during FY00 to further develop the notion of climate affairs. Glantz is also negotiating with the UN University to develop a multi-year proposal for a climate affairs activity that will serve as a capacity-building activity for developing countries as well.

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Extreme Weather Sourcebook

SourcebookThe Extreme Weather Sourcebook was created by Pielke, with assistance from Enosh, Gutierrez (ESIG visitor), and Mercer (ESIG visitor), to provide quick access to data on the cost of damages from hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes in the United States and its territories. The Sourcebook reports decades of information in constant 1997 dollars, simplifying comparisons among extreme-weather impacts and states or regions. The Sourcebook ranks states and territories in order of economic losses from hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, and all three events combined. Links take the reader to graphs with more detailed information on cost per year for each state and hazard. The data for hurricane impacts covers 1925-1995 (based on a study by Pielke and Landsea (NOAA's National Hurricane Center); for tornadoes 1960-1996 (based on data published by the US Army Corps of Engineers). The Sourcebook was partially funded by the US Weather Research Program.

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Hurricane Camille Special Report

Hurricane CamilleThis report, written and compiled by Pielke, Simonpietri, and Oxelson, takes advantage of the thirtieth anniversary of Hurricane Camille's landfall to raise awareness about the hurricane hazard facing the United States today. This report reviews the Camille experience with an eye to lessons learned and lessons lost from that event. The subtext of this report is that many of the lessons of Camille have been relearned in subsequent hurricane impacts with Hurricanes Agnes, Frederic, Alicia, Hugo, Andrew, Opal, and so forth. For the most part, society acknowledges its need to improve response to hurricanes. The greatest challenge society faces is to turn that knowledge into practical action. Another storm like Camille might open a window of opportunity to improve the nation's hurricane policies, but it would be far better if, instead of waiting for that future storm, we learned the lessons that history has already provided.

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Currents of Change: Revision Update and Foreign Editions

book coverGlantz's book on El Niño (Currents of Change: El Niño's Impact on Climate and Society, Cambridge University Press, 1996) has been translated into Spanish, Japanese, and two Chinese dialects during FY99. Interest in El Niño remains very high, and Glantz has been udating and revising Currents of Change to account for new issues that have a risen as a result of the 1997-98 El Niño of the Century. The manuscript has been rewritten and expanded by 50 percent. Publication of the second edition is anticipated in FY00.

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Geophysical Statistics Project

GSPKatz serves as co-principal investigator, along with Joseph Tribbia (NCAR/CGD) and Douglas Nychka (NCAR/GSP) on a five-year grant (renewal started in FY 1999) from the NSF Division of Mathematical Sciences for a Geophysical Statistics Program at NCAR. Nychka serves as the Project Leader of GSP. The FY 1999 accomplishments of GSP are included under the section for the Climate and Global Dynamics Division. Activities to which Katz contributed include the successful funding of the renewal proposal.

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La Niña Publication

book coverIn July 1998, A La Niña Summit was held at NCAR by ESIG, with support from the UN University. A long summit report was produced, as was a much shorter Executive Summary. The UN University requested that Glantz produce a "primer on La Niña" for publication by the UNU Press in FY00. Glantz has been writing and editing this volume, based on the Summit report, with additional information about the most recent La Niña event.

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The ENSO Signal

ENSO SignalIn FY99, NOAA provided support to ESIG (Glantz and Stewart) to produce an El Niño newsletter called The ENSO Signal. Planning for the Signal began in FY99, and the first issue is to be published in early FY00. This newsletter was previously published by NOAA's Office of Global Programs as a result of the November 1995 International Forum on Forecasting El Niño. The newsletter will provide news items and identify publications considered to be ENSO warm- or cold-event related.

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Human Dimensions Forum

During FY99, ESIG sponsored a series of multidisciplinary lectures on a range of topics relating to the interactions between the atmosphere and society. Visitors sponsored in FY99 and their topics were: Steve Rayner (Battelle, Inc., Washington, DC), "Social Science and Climate Policy," 8 October 1998; Tom Downing (Environmental Change Unit, Oxford, UK), "Approaches to Climate Change Impact Assessment: Addressing Risk and Climatic Hazards," 4 August 1999; Harold Brooks (National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, OK), "The 3 May 1999 Oklahoma City Tornado: Societal Impacts," 9 August 1999; and Antonio Nobre (Institute for the Study of Amazon, Manaus, Brazil), "The Future of Amazonian Rainforests," 30 September 1999.

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Societal Aspects of Weather Web Site

Societal Aspects of WeatherThe Societal Aspects of Weather Web site has been developed over the past several years by Pielke, with assistance in 1999 from Enosh, Oxelson, and Klein, in order to facilitate, encourage, and support the formation of a researcher-user partnership and community of people involved in studying the societal aspects of weather. It serves as a central clearinghouse for on-line resources on this topic, and provides some of the tools needed for increased interaction between researchers and users of weather information. It is expected that the primary users of the group will be researchers in weather and societal aspects of weather, producers of weather information and/or forecasts, and other users of weather information. For the site to succeed, users must themselves take part in its development, content, and future by requesting items, recommending additions, and developing resources. During FY99, Oxelson redesigned the Web site and several new sections were added. The Weather and Climate Forecast Use and Value Bibliography, compiled by Pielke, is a major new resource for published, peer-reviewed articles on the use and value of weather and climate forecasts. This area is a subset of the broader area of forecasting in the earth sciences, which one can learn more about on the Prediction in the Earth Sciences Web site.

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Network Newsletter

Network NewsletterNow in its fifteenth year, this international, multidisciplinary newsletter has witnessed continued growth in its mailing list (now over 3,500 recipients, limited only by the cost of postage). Stewart and Glantz have continued to work on networking research centers, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), universities, institutes, government agencies, and individuals dealing with climate-related impact assessments by producing the quarterly, climate-related impacts Network Newsletter. Approximately 60 percent of the recipients are in North America, and 40 percent are international. The Network Newsletter has been produced quarterly since 1985 in its paper edition. The main page of the on-line newsletter receives thousands of "hits" each quarter. By producing and disseminating the Network Newsletter, ESIG has been assisting UNEP in carrying out one of its networking responsibilities, as called for by the UNEP Governing Council, and supported by UNEP's Scientific Advisory Committee for the World Climate Impacts and Response Strategies Program (WCIRP). The newsletter was put on line in FY96. UNEP budgetary problems have ended their direct support for the Newsletter. New sources of funding are being identified by Glantz for its continuation.

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WeatherZine

WeatherZineThe WeatherZine electronic newsletter has been developed by Pielke as a bimonthly, on-line and email distribution newsletter for the Societal Aspects of Weather Web Site. It contains a summary of recent additions to the site (and links to relevant sections), along with editorials, news, events, and announcements of interest to the community. As of FY99, more than 700 people have subscribed, and many others are reached via the Web and through news groups.

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Forecast Value Web Site

A web site that categorizes recent case studies of the value of weather and climate forecasts is maintained and updated by Katz. Originally developed by Shelly Knight (intern, Univ. of Colorado; now NCAR/RAP), its scope is limited to prescriptive studies that obtain quantitative estimates of forecast value. (Web site: www.esig.ucar.edu/HP_rick/esig.html).

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Clim-Econ Discussion List

The Economics of Climate Variability and Global Change list (Clim-Econ) is a moderated electronic discussion group, created and managed by Kathleen Miller, which serves to facilitate interdisciplinary discussion on the economic aspects of climate variability and change. The initial subscribers included the participants in the Institute on the Economics of the Climate Resource held at NCAR in June 1995. The list currently has 481 subscribers from around the world, including individuals with a variety of academic backgrounds and professional affiliations.

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Table of Contents | Enhancing Resilience of Natural Resources | Protection of Life & Property
Fundamental Research | Education & Outreach | FY99 Scientific Highlights
FY99 Publications | FY99 Educational Activities | FY99 Community Service
FY99 Staff, Visitors & Collaborators | Environmental & Societal Impacts Group
ESIG 1999 Annual Scientific Report Home Page | NCAR 1999 Annual Scientific Report Home Page

FY99 Scientific Highlights Education and Outreach Fundamental Research Protection of Life and Property Enhancing Resilience of Natural Resources Table of Contents Environmental and Societal Impacts Group FY99 Staff, Visitors and Collaborators FY99 Community Service FY99 Educational Activities FY99 Publications NCAR Annual Scientific Report NCAR Annual Scientific Report NCAR Annual Scientific Report