Bridging the Gap Between Climate Science and Water-resource Applications

Monday, 14 December 2015: 09:30
103 (Moscone South)
J R Arnold, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Climate Preparedness and Resilience Programs, Seattle, WA, United States
Since 2010, the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Climate Preparedness and Resilience Program has supported development of a coordinated system of products and tools to improve use of climate information in water-resource planning and management. The key products include: 1) a new understanding of the limitations of methods used to quantify impacts of climate change on water resources; 2) development and evaluation of national-domain climate downscaling and hydrologic simulation capabilities to provide information from climate model output relevant to the multiple scales of water resources decision-making with a spatially consistent assessment of the impacts of climate change on hydrologic conditions; and 3) development and evaluation of advanced streamflow forecasting methods. This will support USACE Districts and their stakeholders and partners with new data, new and newly evaluated model output, and specific tools in a framework to help with routine applications for managing water resources throughout the U.S., and to enhance considerations of climate preparedness and resilience in that work.

This presentation will summarize the collaborative development of some of those products; describe current and planned future USACE capabilities for incorporating advanced climate information at multiple scales of analysis and decision; discuss uses of climate information in water-resources planning and management; and outline key unanswered science questions being addressed to increase utility and use of information in short- and longer-term planning. Specifically, we will describe the current suite and planned trajectory of new products, moving from capability development through to testing in limited pilot domains, on to product applications throughout the U.S., and, ultimately, into actual implementation at the level of USACE Districts to address climate change issues. Two key foci of this talk will be: 1) where climatological and hydrologic science is currently inadequate to meet user needs – or is perhaps misapplied or wrongly scaled – and 2) where investments in science and its translation are necessary to create the information and products needed in water resources planning and management to ensure that USACE can continue to meet the challenges of managing water resources for the nation.