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Assessing Water Resources Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change Impacts in the Pacific Northwest Region of North America : Volume 7, Issue 4 (08/07/2010)

By Hamlet, A. F.

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Book Id: WPLBN0004012587
Format Type: PDF Article :
File Size: Pages 35
Reproduction Date: 2015

Title: Assessing Water Resources Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change Impacts in the Pacific Northwest Region of North America : Volume 7, Issue 4 (08/07/2010)  
Author: Hamlet, A. F.
Volume: Vol. 7, Issue 4
Language: English
Subject: Science, Hydrology, Earth
Collections: Periodicals: Journal and Magazine Collection (Contemporary), Copernicus GmbH
Historic
Publication Date:
2010
Publisher: Copernicus Gmbh, Göttingen, Germany
Member Page: Copernicus Publications

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Hamlet, A. F. (2010). Assessing Water Resources Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change Impacts in the Pacific Northwest Region of North America : Volume 7, Issue 4 (08/07/2010). Retrieved from http://hawaiilibrary.net/


Description
Description: Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Washington, USA. Climate change impacts in Pacific Northwest Region of North America (PNW) are projected to include increasing temperatures and changes in the seasonality of precipitation (increasing precipitation in winter, decreasing precipitation in summer). Changes in precipitation are also spatially varying, with the northwestern parts of the region generally experiencing greater increases in cool season precipitation than the southeastern parts. These changes in climate are projected to cause loss of snowpack and associated streamflow timing shifts which will increase cool season (October–March) flows and decrease warm season (April–September) flows and water availability. Hydrologic extremes such as the 100 year flood and extreme low flows are also expected to change, although these impacts are not spatially homogeneous and vary with mid-winter temperatures and other factors. These changes have important implications for natural ecosystems affected by water, and for human systems.

The PNW is endowed with extensive water resources infrastructure and well-established and well-funded management agencies responsible for ensuring that water resources objectives (such as water supply, water quality, flood control, hydropower production, environmental services, etc.) are met. Likewise, access to observed hydrological, meteorological, and climatic data and forecasts is in general exceptionally good in the United States and Canada, and access to these products and services is often supported by federally funded programs that ensure that these resources are available to water resources practitioners, policy makers, and the general public.

Access to these extensive resources support the argument that at a technical level the PNW has high capacity to deal with the potential impacts of natural climate variability on water resources. To the extent that climate change will manifest itself as moderate changes in variability or extremes, we argue that existing water resources infrastructure and institutional arrangements provide a solid foundation for coping with climate change impacts, and that the mandates of existing water resources policy and water resources management institutions are at least consistent with the fundamental objectives of climate change adaptation. A deeper inquiry into the underlying nature of PNW water resources systems, however, reveals significant and persistent obstacles to climate change adaptation, which will need to be overcome if effective use of the region's extensive water resources management capacity can be brought to bear on this problem. Primary obstacles include assumptions of stationarity as the fundamental basis of water resources system design, entrenched use of historic records as the sole basis for planning, problems related to the relatively short time scale of planning, lack of familiarity with climate science and models, downscaling procedures, and hydrologic models, limited access to climate change scenarios and hydrologic products for specific water systems, and rigid water allocation and water resources operating rules that effectively block adaptive response. Institutional barriers include systematic loss of technical capacity in many water resources agencies following the dam building era, jurisdictional fragmentation affecting response to drought, disconnections between water policy and practice, and entrenched bureaucratic resistance to change in many water management agencies. These factors, combined with a federal agenda to block climate change policy in the US during the Bush administration has (with some exceptions) led to institutional gridlock in the PNW over the last decade or so despite a growing awareness of climate change as a significant threat to water management. In the last several years


Summary
Assessing water resources adaptive capacity to climate change impacts in the Pacific Northwest Region of North America

Excerpt
Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), NPD, US Bureau of Reclamation (USBR), PNR: The Columbia River system: The Inside Storym Report DOE/BP-1689, published by the USACE, USBR and BPA, 1994.; Cohen, S. J., Miller, K., Hamlet, A., and Avis, W.: Climate Change and Resource Management in the Columbia River Basin, Water International, 25(2), 253–272, 2000.; Cohen, S., de Loe, R., Hamlet, A. F., Herrington, R., Mortsch, L., and Shrubsole, D.: Chapter 15 – Integrated and Cumulative Threats to Water Availability, in: Threats to Fresh Water Availability in Canada, Environment Canada, http://www.nwri.ca/threats2full/intro-e.html, 2003.; Cohen, S., Neilsen, D., Smith, S., Neale, T., Taylor, B., Barton, M., Merritt, W., Alila, Y., Shepherd, P., McNeill, R., Tansey, J., Carmichael, J., and Langsdale, S.: Learning with local help: Expanding the dialogue on climate change and water management in the Okanagan Region, British Columbia, Canada, Clim. Change, 75, 331–358, 2006.; Elsner, M. M., Cuo, L., Voisin, N., Deems, J. S., Hamlet, A. F., Vano, J. A., Mickelson, K. E. B., Lee, S. Y., and Lettenmaier, D. P.: Implications of 21st century climate change for the hydrology of Washington State, Clim. Change, in press, 2010.; Gamble, J. L., Furlow, J., Snover, A. K., Hamlet, A. F., Morehouse, B. J., Hartmann, H., and Pagano, T.: Assessing the Impact of Climate Variability and Change on Regional Water Resources: The Implications for Stakeholders, in: Water: Science, Policy, and Management, edited by: Lawford, R., Fort, D., Hartmann, H., and Eden, S., AGU Press Monograph, 2002.; Gray, K. N.: The impacts of drought on Yakima Valley irrigated agriculture and Seattle municipal and industrial water supply, M.M.A. thesis, School of Marine Affairs, University of Washington, Seattle, 1999.; Hamlet, A. F. and Lettenmaier, D. P.: Effects of Climate Change on Hydrology and Water Resources in the Columbia River Basin, J. Am. Water Resour. Assoc., 35(6), 1597–1623, 1999.; Hamlet, A. F.: The Role of Transboundary Agreements in the Columbia River Basin: An Integrated Assessment in the Context of Historic Development, Climate, and Evolving Water Policy, Climate and Water: Transboundary Challenges in the Americas, edited by: Diaz, H. and Morehouse, B., Kluwer Press, Dordrecht/Boston/London, 2003.; Hamlet, A. F. and Lettenmaier, D. P.: Effects of 20th Century Warming and Climate Variability on Flood Risk in the Western U.S., Water Resour. Res., 43, W06427, doi:10.1029/2006WR005099, 2007.; Labadie, J. W.: Optimal Operation of Multireservoir Systems: State-of-the-Art Review, J. Water Resour. Planning and Management, 130(2), 93–111, 2004.; Lee, S-Y., Hamlet, A. F., Fitzgerald, C. J., and Burges, S. J.: Optimized Flood Control in the Columbia River Basin for a Global Warming Scenario, J. Water Resour. Planning and Management, 135(6) 440–450, doi:10.1061/(ASCE)0733-9496(2009)135:6(440), 2009.; Lee, S. Y., Hamlet, A. F., Fitzgerald, C. J., and Burges, S. J.: Daily Time Step Refinement of Optimized Flood Control Rule Curves for a Global Warming Scenario, J. ASCE J. Water Resources Planning and Management, in review, 2010.; Lund, J. R. and Ferreira, I.: Operating Rule Optimization for Missouri River Reservoir System, J. Water Resour. Planning and Management, 122(4), 287–295, 1996.; Mantua, N., Tohver, I. M., and Hamlet, A. F.: Impacts of climate change on key aspects of freshwater salmon habitat in Washington State, Clim. Change, in press, 2010.; Medellin-Azuara, J., Harou, J. J., Olivares, M. A., Madani, K., Lund, J. R., Howitt, R. E., Tanaka, S. K., Jenkins, M. W., and Zhu, T.: Adaptability and adaptations of California's water supply system to dry climate warming, Clim. Change, 87, S75–S90, 2008.; Miles, E. L., Snover, A. K., Hamlet, A. F., Callahan, B., and Fluharty, D.: Pacific Northwest regional assessment: The impacts of climate variability and climate change on

 

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