Welcome to the publications directory for the Climate Impacts Group and the Climate Dynamics Group. Please contact the web administrator for assistance with any of these publications.
Analysis techniques to incorporate climate change information into Seattle's long range water supply planning
Wiley, M.W. 2004. Analysis techniques to incorporate climate change information into Seattle's long range water supply planning. M.S.C.E. thesis, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle.
The preponderance of evidence in the scientific community supports the theory that global climate is changing. The effect of climate change on natural and
man-made systems remains less certain. Municipal water supplies, particularly those that rely on summer snow-melt to augment storage capacity, are at risk of significant changes from the historic streamflow regime to which they have become accustomed.
There are few standardized methods established for
assessing the impacts of climate change to municipal water supplies. Frederick and Gleick (1999) propose evaluating climate change impacts on water
resources using a three stage modeling approach: General Circulation Models (GCMs) to simulate global climate, basin scale hydrology models, and water
resource system simulation models. This research explores an application of the Frederick and Gleick method to the water supply system for the city of
Seattle, Washington. Specific attention is given to the techniques necessary for downscaling climate data from the global scale to the basin scale and to the
uncertainties associated with each step of the modeling sequence.
The greatest source of uncertainty in the modeling process arises from the wide range of future scenarios produced by GCMs. This uncertainty is addressed by incorporating multiple climate models at every stage of the process and using the range of values produced to generate an ensemble average that quantifies the most likely impact. The ensemble average is bracketed by an uncertainty envelope based on the range and spread of the individual GCM ensemble members.