Each year, AGCI hosts several public talks featuring leading global change researchers and practitioners. Presented by participants in AGCI’s signature workshop series, these lectures cover the gamut of global change topics from biodiversity threats to urban heat resilience to the history and future of Earth’s climate trajectory. AGCI’s public lecture series honors Walter Orr Roberts (1915-1990), noted humanitarian, scientist, and founder of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).
Climate change, once a taboo topic, is now challenging the way water utilities plan for the future. Observed warming and climate model projections now call into question the stability of future water quantity and quality. As water utilities across the country but particularly in the West grapple with preparing for the large range of possible climate change impacts, many are searching for new planning techniques to help them better prepare for a different, more uncertain, future. Several promising new methods are being tested in water utilities planning. This presentation will discuss the need for climate adaptation, describe several promising approaches, and take a look at how different groups are addressing adaptation.
Our society's vulnerability to extreme weather events will be determined by changes in both the climate -- for example, more frequent and more severe heat waves, heavier precipitation events -- and in society -- for example, how much larger the world population will be and where it will live, how income will be distributed, what fraction of the population will live in urban rather than rural areas.
This talk presented projections of change to climate and population and highlighted how these trends interact to result in potential societal vulnerabilities. Focusing on the example of coastal flood risks, the speakers illustrated how future sea level rise may change the statistics of storm surges along US coasts. They showed how the geographic distribution of US population may change in the coming decades, affecting the numbers of people exposed to risks of flooding. Other examples of the interaction between expected demographic changes and expected changes in climate extremes were discussed, especially in relation to extreme heat events and population concentration.
At this lecture, Dr. Liverman shared perspectives from her time at the Rio+20 meeting as well as her work on planetary boundaries, environmental governance, and sustainable development