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JUNE 2013
Climate Change and Public Policy
Definition of Climate Change
Impacts of Extreme Events
Tools for Analysis
Policy at local, state, regional and federal
Climate Change
• Climate change/climate variability/global
warming/global cooling – you tell me which
phrase suits your conditions and agency interests
• Observations
– Frequency of large floods
• 1986/87, 1993, 1995, 2008, 2011, 2013
– Frequency and magnitude of drought
• 2007, 2012
– Fewer frontal systems, more major storms
• Hurricane Ike, number of rainfall events in excess of 5 inches
in 24 hours
Damage Assessments
• Costs of Public Response
– Katrina
– Floods of 1993, 2008, and 2011
– Drought of 2012
• NOAA: If we look at the list of US Billion dollar weather
events there is a very clear pattern visible even over the
last 30 years.
– The weather is the news, and these extreme weather events are
becoming more frequent. Want to connect the dots ?
– The U.S. has had 109 weather-related disasters over the past
31+ years in which overall damages/costs reached or exceeded
$1 billion. The total standardized losses for the 109 events
exceed $750 billion.
– The events are from the NOAA Satellite and Information Service
Sea Level Rise:
Floods Threaten Coastal U.S.
Published: Mar 16th, 2012
Our sea level rise analysis, complete with
interactive map, allows you to search by city,
state, or zip code to see maps, statistics,
factsheets, and more for areas below different
amounts of sea level rise and flooding.
Political Awareness of Extreme Events
May 15, 2013
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today said that the Water Resources
Development Act of 2013 that the U.S. Senate passed earlier today by a strong bipartisan vote of
83-14 invests in Illinois priorities and will make Illinois and the Midwest better prepared for
extreme weather events like droughts and floods.
“This legislation is important to the commerce that moves on the Mississippi River, the Illinois River
and other Illinois waterways; to those communities and towns throughout our state that rely on the
Army Corps of Engineers to protect them from flooding and other storm damage; and to the natural
resources that our rivers, streams and wetlands represent,” said Durbin.
• “I’m pleased that the bill addresses extreme weather. It’s clear that
extreme weather events are becoming more severe and more frequent.
Consider the last year: the two costliest natural disasters in the world
occurred in the United States – the Midwest drought and Hurricane
Sandy, costing $100 billion. We can’t ignore the reality that weather
events like these are the new normal.”
Trends in precipitation and streamflow in the eastern U.S.: Paradox or perception?
1.David Small1,
2.Shafiqul Islam2,
3.Richard M. Vogel2
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 33, Issue 3, February 2006
Many studies have reported that total precipitation is increasing across the United States with most of the increase resulting from a positive
trend in the upper tail of the daily precipitation distribution.
Other studies have found that low and moderate, but not high flows are also increasing across much of the United States. How can
precipitation, especially that produced by intense events, increase without a corresponding increase in high flows?
We analyzed trends in annual 7-day low, average and high flows along with seasonal precipitation that is averaged over individual basins. Our
statistically significant trends in both fall precipitation and 7-day low
flow are found in a large percentage of the basins in the upper Mississippi and
Great Lakes regions of the country.
findings suggest that
A large fraction of the trends in annual precipitation can be explained by an increase in fall precipitation. By estimating trends in
precipitation at the spatial scale of individual basins, we offer a simple explanation for the apparent paradox of lack of trends in high flows.
At the spatial scale of individual basins, precipitation is increasing during the fall but not during the spring, the season when high flows are
generally observed. The increase in fall precipitation appears to result in an increase in the low flows while the lack of trends in
precipitation in spring explains the lack of widespread trends in the high flows.
Contemporary Changes of the Hydrological Cycle over the Contiguous United States:
Trends Derived from In Situ Observations
Pavel Ya Groisman, Richard W. Knight, Thomas R. Karl, David R. Easterling, Bomin Sun,
and Jay H. Lawrimore National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, North Carolina
Over the contiguous United States, precipitation, temperature,
streamflow, and heavy and very heavy precipitation have
increased during the twentieth century. In the east, high
streamflow has increased as well.
Soil wetness (as described by the Keetch–Byram Drought index) has
increased over the northern and eastern regions of the United States, but in
the southwestern quadrant of the country soil dryness has increased, making
the region more susceptible to forest fires.
In addition to these changes during the past 50 yr, increases in evaporation,
near-surface humidity, total cloud cover, and low stratiform and cumulonimbus
clouds have been observed.
Snow cover has diminished earlier in the year in the west, and a decrease in
near-surface wind speed has also occurred in many areas. Much of the
increase in heavy and very heavy precipitation has occurred during the past
three decades.
Mapping and attribution of change in streamflow in the coterminous United States
N. Y. Krakauer and I. Fung
University of California at Berkeley, USA
Received: 12 February 2008 – Published in Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss.: 19 March
5 Conclusions
We developed maps of annual streamflow anomalies over the coterminous United States using
streamflow records selected to reflect minimum direct impacts from human land disturbance and water
diversion. We find that streamflow increased around 1970 in concert with an increase in precipitation,
but has not increased since then. Our analysis supports net drying in some regions, and no change in
others, as a result of greenhouse warming, with tentative evidence for the opposing effects of warming
and CO2 increase. Depending on how this interplay between temperature and direct CO2 effect of
greenhouse gas emissions evolves, there is a high risk of reduced water supplies and increased plant
water stress with continued warming in coming decades.
Acknowledgements. NYK thanks the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA) for a Climate and Global Change Postdoctoral Fellowship. IF acknowledges
support from NOAA Office of Global Programs, Award NA05OAR4311167, and NSF, Award 0628678. We
thank Marc Bierkens, Laurens Bouwer, Attilio Castellarin, and Shilong Piao for reviewing this paper
during the Discussion stage; Alanood Alkhaled, Anna Michalak and Kim Mueller for geostatistics help;
Boris Fain, Jim Hunt, Tom Pagano, and Alexander Stine for proofreading and useful suggestions; and
Graham Farquhar, Chandra Pathak, Michael Roderick and Ramesh Teegavarapu for comments at a
conference presentation of an earlier version of this work.
Edited by: B. van den Hurk
Response to Extreme Events
• Federal agencies addressing climate change
• Research regarding climate change
• Policies are being revised to include climate
• NFIP Reform Act was approved in response to
growing financial strain due to extreme events
2. Policies are still changing in regard to
climate extremes
1. Flood of 2011
2. Flood of 2013
3. Drought of 2012
Flood of 2011
• Unprecedented rainfall
– Total rainfall
– Aerial Distribution
• Historic flood stages and Record Discharges
– Ohio, Wabash, Interior tributaries
• Operations for extreme events is rare
– Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway
– Ohio River Basin Reservoir release coordination
Extreme Weather Map 2011
– 2011: Thousands of Weather Records
Broken in the US, Costs Climbing – and
Climate Change a Factor
– Climate change increases the risk of record-breaking
extreme weather events that threaten communities
across the country. In 2011, there were 3,251 monthly
weather records broken by extreme events that
struck communities in the US.
Inflow at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers (Image credit: Army
Corps of Engineers)
Floods of 2013
• From the end of drought in February to floods of
April, 2013
• Flooding along Mississippi, Illinois, Wabash Rivers
and other interior streams
• Record flood peaks along Illinois River and
• Floods the result of persistent rainfall creating
saturated ground, followed by 4 to 7 inch storm
• Additional event in late May and early June led to
recurring high water
Drought of 2012
• Extreme national drought conditions
• Illinois – drought progressed from southern
Illinois to northern Illinois
• Agricultural impacts were great
• Rural water supplies were stressed
• Aflotoxins reduced the value of corn crop
• Mississippi River navigation problems in late
fall and early winter
2012: The Hottest U.S. Year on Record
Published: Dec 13th, 2012
Climate Central did the math, and the numbers
don't lie: 2012 will be the hottest U.S. year
ever recorded, pushing 1998 into second
place, followed by 2006, 1934 and 1999.
Mississippi River Navigation Issues
• Infrastructure rehabilitation/ reconstruction
• Low water issues during drought
– Rock pinnacles
– Dependence on all water sources
• Great Lakes
• Missouri River System
• Upper Mississippi River
– National Plan for Navigation System Operation
Planning Approaches To
Address Extremes
• Flood Risk Management
– Watershed Plans
• Retain waters on-site with wetlands, rain gardens and
• Relocation/buyouts/floodplain restoration
– Planning and Design Tools
• Drought Management
– Planning for future droughts
– Reallocation of water to meet limited supplies
Watershed Planning
• A catch-word that gains favor, lapses into
obscurity, then regains favor again
• Federal/state/local partnerships
– Narrow agency missions not covering all watershed
– Each agency has their own administrative and policy
– Principles and Guidelines have not required uniformity
among federal agencies
• States and other partners are not jurisdictionally
structured by watersheds
Risk and Uncertainty
• FEMA is pursuing Risk Map to help define a
wider range of risks
• Corps incorporates Risk and Uncertainty in
study analyses to apply factors that account
for the potential to experience greater risk
• Precipitation estimation methods differ
– Technical Paper 40
– Bulletin 70 in Illinois
– Weather Service Bulletin 14
Precipitation Estimating
U. S. Weather Bureau Technical Paper 40
ISWS Bulletin 13
Bulletin 71 - (MCC Research Report 92-03)
– Midwestern Climate Center Climate Analysis Center
– National Weather Service National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Illinois State Water Survey 1992
NOAA Atlas 14
– Precipitation-Frequency Atlas of the United States
Volume 2 Version 3.0: Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland,
Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West
Geoffrey M. Bonnin, Deborah Martin, Bingzhang Lin, Tye
– Parzybok, Michael Yekta, David Riley
Spring, Maryland, 2004, revised 2006
• More risk and uncertainty
• Greater awareness of the watershed connectivity
between issues and across jurisdictions
• Congressional approach to problem solving will
• Population Growth
• Public Infrastructure Needs Must Be Addressed
• Federal/state/local/non traditional funding
Thank You
Arlan R. Juhl, P.E.
Director, Office of Water Resources
Illinois Department of Natural Resources
One Natural Resources Way
Springfield, Illinois 62702
[email protected]