On This Page
- Utility of Climate Forecasts to Resource Managers
- Water Resource Management Vulnerability to Climate Variability
- Assessing the Ability to Cope with Predictable Climate Variations in Water Resource Management
- The Role of Western Water Law and Policy in Adapting to Climate Impacts
- Adaptive Social Policy Impacts on Behavior and Probability of Policy Success
In its research on the relationship between climate, climate impacts, and institutions managing Pacific Northwest (PNW) resources, the Climate Impacts Group (CIG) has:
Evaluated Utility of Climate Forecasts for PNW Natural Resource Managers
- Simply providing accurate climate information is not sufficient to ensure its use in planning and decision making by natural resource managers. Climate information must be translated into location- and resource-specific impacts for managers to make use of it (Huppert et al., in review). As a result of this finding, CIG provides a variety of climate-based resource forecasts to the regional community.
- Despite the high potential utility of climate forecasts for hydropower operations, flood control, freshwater fisheries, irrigated agriculture, municipal and industrial water supply, water quality and watershed management, and river navigation, the actual utilization rate of climate forecasts by natural resource managers as of 1997 was quite low (Callahan 1997; Callahan et al. 1999). A follow-up survey of resource managers was conducted in 2003 is currently being evaluated.
Evaluated the Vulnerability of Regional Water Resources Management to Climate Variability
- CIG research shows that the PNW's vulnerability to changes in precipitation is greatest at the extremes, i.e., droughts and floods, but adaptive capacity to these extremes is not equal. Adaptive capacity depends largely on high levels of institutional integration, as demonstrated by the centralization of authority under the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for flood control management. By contrast, the high level of institutional fragmentation that exists for droughts severely inhibits effective response capacity to drought on a regional basis. Adaptive capacity, therefore, is highest for floods and lowest for droughts, especially multi-year droughts. (Callahan 1997; Callahan et al. 1999; Miles et al. 2000)
Assessed the Ability of Regional Water Resources Management Systems to Cope with Predictable Climate Variations
- While drought occurrence in Washington’s Yakima Valley is strongly tied to warm Pacific Decadal Oscillation conditions, water management in the Yakima basin has not yet accounted for the cyclical nature of drought probability. This limitation, combined with recent trends in irrigation and other agricultural practices, has significantly increased the Valley’s vulnerability to drought over the past thirty years. (Gray 1999; Hamlet et al., in review)
Examined the Role of Western Water Law and Policy in Regional Adaptability to Climate Fluctuations
- Disputes over water allocation in the Klamath and Columbia basins result from a combination of past public policy and failure to specify resource property rights to an extent that would support a market in the resource. Durable, robust solutions are more likely to involve better rights specification than fundamental public policy re-alignment (Slaughter, in review).
Examined How the Structure of Adaptive Social Policy Impacts Behavior and a Policy's Probability of Success
- If national targets (instead of a global tax) are to be the basis of greenhouse gas emissions reduction policy (e.g., the Kyoto Protocol), both political and economic efficiency could be enhanced by basing such targets on emissions per unit of production rather than absolute historic emissions. (Slaughter, in review)