CLIMATE ADAPTATION

I want to punch climate change in the face. A blog about the interactions between the built environment, people, and nature.


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NASA and NOAA co-presentation on global temperatures in 2013. While these scientific organizations use differing techniques to measure climatic trends, both conclude that 2013 was among the hottest top 10 years on record. The presentation is available free, here.

Information is king in within the climate science community. Scientific information can help society cope with current climate variability, prevent deaths and disasters, and save communities a ton of money. The information can help limit the economic and social damages caused by climate-related disasters.

The best available climate science needs to be made readily available to people in agriculture, water, health, infrastructure, cities, and other sectors.

How?

A bunch of very smart climate scientists got together to make climate science information easily accessible. They formed a group*, called the Climate Services Partnership, and recently held a major conference. 

The presentations from this conference are now available online, and they are pretty amazing. You can download them, share with your colleagues, researchers, fellow students, etc.. Dive in (and bookmark) if you can!

The Law of Adaptation to Climate Change is a 900 page behemoth. It explores the weaknesses of environmental law’s ability to accommodate new climate adaptation policies, some of which can be considered aggressive land grabs by the state. For example, the question of whether or not a city can ‘take’ someone’s home via the constitutionally permitted eminent domain clause is explored in depth. The Law of Adaptation also covers a few interesting international law issues. For example, there’s discussion of how countries will manage the northwest passage once the Arctic becomes ice free. And there’s interesting reading on conservation of rare species in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). MPAs are essentially gigantic natural parks in the ocean, usually covering wide expanses of coral reefs and breeding grounds. Fishing and tourism are highly regulated in MPAs.

I reviewed the Law of Adaptation for the science journal Climate Policy. You can get a free copy of my review, here (free for the first 50 people!).

UPDATED with correct link. Sorry!

The first annual National Adaptation Forum was held in Denver this past April. Organizers expected around 150 attendees, but over 500 signed-up. They had to shut down the registration desk and turn people away (I had to beg to get in!). 

The speaker presentations are now online for you to download. Great information (and contacts if you’re job searching) covering a variety of adaptation topics - cities, ecosystems, adaptation law, conservation, animal protection, forests, sea level rise, Native American issues - tons of case studies, examples, and science of adaptation! The presentations are hosted by California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Climate Science Division - get them while they last. You can get PPTs by heavies Vicki Arroyo, Susanne Moser, Roger Pulwarty, Gwen Shaughnessy and many other climate adaptation specialists. Great stuff! 

 

Edited by Dr. Ian Davis and Gabrielle Iglesias, and reviewed by Dr. Ian Burton, it promotes the adoption of a risk management approach to climate-sensitive decision-making and serves as a reference to integrate disaster risk management with climate change adaptation.

The handbook is part of the Disaster Risk Management Practitioner’s Handbook Series, available for download at www.adpc.net

Free documentary: Salmon Confidential.

I signed up. It’s a call-in webinar. There will be discussions about the future of climate journalism, then Q&A with some experts:

On February 14, join a panel of writers and thinkers at 4 p.m. Eastern to discuss ways to rectify the situation. Kate Sheppard of Mother Jones, Orion columnist Bill McKibben, writer/activist Wen Stephenson, CBS News contributor and Nature Conservancy scientist M. Sanjayan, Nature founder Thomas Lovejoy, Journalism and Public Media Campaign Director Josh Stearns, Susie Cagle of Grist.org, and others will share concrete ideas for getting the public better coverage of climate issues.

Sign up: The Crisis in Climate Change Reporting.

This promises to be a good webinar. “Downscaling" is a fancy term for making climate science available in your community. Keeping it simple, most climate science is based on computer models that predict where impacts will occur, like flooding, droughts, and storms.

For example, these models show that the southwest U.S. will be come drier, and there will be water shortages. But the models cover huge areas, like thousands of miles. That doesn’t really help you or your town figure out what could happen.

So scientists came up with a solution to help better predict what will happen in smaller, geographical areas. Instead of modeling the entire state of Arizona, “downscaling” allows for predictions at a much smaller area, such as your county or city.

There are a lot of problems with these computer models - climate impacts are often more severe than the models show. But the general trend is they are reliable predictors of what will happen as the climate changes.

This particular webinar covers how scientists are using downscaled climate models to manage wildlife habitat on the coasts.

Why does this matter? It helps locals, businesses, and governments plan for the future. If there is going to be water shortages, for one example, then all three constituencies can (and should) work together to figure out how to make better use of their water infrastructure. It’s the same situation for coastal communities that face sea-level rise. Communities can use downscaled models to figure out the best places to move homes, protect habitat, stop development, restore wetlands, dredge deltas etc…

Downscaling is technical. Yet it’s one of the most important tools the public can use to make their communities more resilient to disasters and other environmental impacts. So push through the tech-jargon if you can. This webinar will give you an idea of how climate science is being used in the real world, and should spark neato thoughts on how you can use it to help your community.

Below are the details. If you sign up, hit me up and let me know what you think!

January 16th from 1:00-2:30pm ET
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Wildlife Federation hosts:
Downscaling Climate Change Models to Local Site Conditions: Effects of Sea-Level Rise and Extreme Events on Coastal Habitats and Their Wildlife.”
Dr. John Y. Takekawa (Research Wildlife Biologist, USGS Western Ecological Research Center) will provide an overview of the project. It examines the potential climate change effects on transitional coastal habitats with high-quality local habitat data, downscaled climate models, and projected storm effects. It also links habitat responses to wildlife using vulnerability assessments.
Register online here. If you cannot attend, a recording will be posted approximately1-2 weeks after the presentation at: http://training.fws.gov/CSP/Resources/climate_change/safeguarding_bc.html.

Another great climate webinar from NOAA today at 12pm EST. Sign up here.

Abstract:

Glaciers are one of Nature’s best thermometers, and perhaps its most sensitive and unambiguous indicator of climate change. This webinar will discuss the “inconvenient truth” of global climate change through an introduction to climate change, a brief look at how past climate changes have impacted Peruvian cultures, the latest evidence for the recent acceleration of the rate of glacier loss world-wide, and evidence that some glaciers like the Quelccaya ice cap (the world’s largest tropical ice cap) in the Andes of Peru are now smaller than they have been in over 6,000 years. This evidence will then be discussed in terms of our “inconvenient mind”.

Here we will look at some of our basic belief systems, as identified by behavior analysts, that relate to how humans respond to climate change issues. In addition, I will discuss what I see as our options and the greatest challenges of the 21st Century.

Register here.

The regulation of stratospheric water vapor is a classic problem in atmospheric sciences, with important implications for both climate and stratospheric ozone chemistry. We present here simulations of stratospheric water vapor using a Lagrangian forward-trajectory model of the stratosphere covering the period 1987-2011. Analysis of the model suggests that variations in stratospheric water vapor over the last few decades are controlled by three factors: decadal variations in the Brewer-Dobson circulation, the QBO, and volcanic eruptions. We also see evidence for increases in the amount of water vapor entering the stratosphere, and implications for the next century will be discussed.

Register, here. September 26, 2012, 15:30-16:30 Mountain Time Zone

What is climatology? How long a period is needed to establish it? What resolution is needed for SST analysis? Does it vary in space? Beyond the first moment, what are the statistics of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th moments of SST? What do they tell us? and take some time to illustrate the application of information theory.

Register, here. September 25, 2012, 12:00 - 13:00 Eastern Time Zone

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