Public Lecture

From Droughts to Floods & Back Again? Learning and Adapting in an Uncertain Climate

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
September 11, 2018

NOAA senior science advisor Roger Pulwarty reflects on how science and learning can help us adapt to an uncertain future in the semi-arid Intermountain West and beyond. In a humorous and entertaining manner, the lecture highlights innovative lessons from communities with which Dr. Pulwarty has worked and addresses barriers and opportunities for applying research to support communities in managing risk and developing new networks for sharing knowledge.

Chapters (navigate to in progress bar or lower-right corner of the video):
1. Beginning (00:19)
2. Water crisis ranked among top global issues (02:57)
3. AGCI’s role in exploring drought and AGCI’s cohort of researchers/collaborations (03:50)
4. Gilbert White and living with risk (05:20)
5. Changing climate conditions, disasters, and societal costs (06:55)
6. Damages from droughts are hard to quantify (09:10)
7. Importance of the rate of change, e.g. the Southwest has states with fastest population growth rates (10:52)
8. Settlement patterns and fire hazard in California, wildfire in the west, trends, extent, severity, and response (14:10)
9. Risk lessons learned, California drought case (18:20)
10. Spillway failure of Oroville Dam in 2017, compound risk of drought and flood (20:00)
11. Lake Powell input deficit (24:20)
12. Drought in the Four Corners region (25:45)
13. Four Corners sand dune movement, drought and vegetation loss/response (27:08)
14. San Francisco water infrastructure & non-potable water, role of leadership to counter political resistance to change, and how to accomplish that (28:49)
15. Assessing costs, U.S. GDP and water withdrawals, role of regulation, efficiency and innovation (32:14)
16. How mitigation reduces damages from natural hazards and saves lives and dollars (34:20)
17. Value of land use planning and design, communicating the value (35:04)
18. Drought, conflict, and fragile states (37:09)
19. Famine Early Warning system, role of Band-Aid for Ethiopia, avoiding conflict (37:52)
20. Tipping points, re-droughts, and other environmental issues (41:20)
21. Proactive strategies, 5 Paradoxes in reducing risk (43:10)
22. Planning to implementation, drivers of disaster risk, co-production, and sustainability framing (46:10)
23. Overconfidence in context of uncertainty, adaptation, and elements of what works (50:56)
24. Proximity in time to 450ppm carbon dioxide (53:50)
25. Roger’s mentors, needs moving forward, and working with practitioners (54:14)
26. End (55:42)