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ASP Summer Colloquium on Uncertainty in Climate Change Research: An Integrated Approach Impacts and Uncertainty Hayley J. Fowler, Newcastle University,

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Presentation on theme: "ASP Summer Colloquium on Uncertainty in Climate Change Research: An Integrated Approach Impacts and Uncertainty Hayley J. Fowler, Newcastle University,"— Presentation transcript:

1 ASP Summer Colloquium on Uncertainty in Climate Change Research: An Integrated Approach Impacts and Uncertainty Hayley J. Fowler, Newcastle University, UK NCAR, Boulder, CO July 21 - August 6, 2014

2 Who am I? Geographer – Cambridge University Water Resource Systems Engineering and Civil Engineering (MSc/PhD) Professor of Climate Change Impacts Climate change impacts on water resources→ downscaling for extremes →impacts modelling needed interdisciplinary approach Interested in practical applications and solutions to societal issues/problems related to climate change and particularly extremes Climber, biker, lover of mountains, mum to two small boys, Evan and Calum

3 Tocllaraju (6032m) 10:30am 3rd Aug 2006 That was then…

4 This is now… Eskdale, Lake District Easter Monday, 2014

5 US Drought Monitor

6 Downstream effects on Agriculture Economy Human Health Mitigation

7 What do we know? WGII AR5 Figure SPM.2

8 What about the future? Schwalm et al, 2012, Nature Geoscience

9 9 IPCC AR4, WGII, Table 20.8 Global Mean Annual Temperature Change Relative to What can we expect? 1ºC2ºC3ºC4ºC

10 The Uncertainty Cascade or Pyramid IPCC AR4 WG (modified after Jones, 2000, and "cascading pyramid of uncertainties" in Schneider, 1983) Decision-Making (Assessment of needs, decision entry points, institutional constraints, politics etc.) Wilby and Dessai (2010)

11 Decision-Making (Assessment of needs, decision entry points, institutional constraints, politics etc.) Mitigation Adaptation Toward Decision-making as a Central Focus

12 Climate Change Adaptation Requires clear understanding of the underlying science and methods of assessing impacts - through entire chain from climate scientists to engineers to decision-makers Requires appreciation of both the physical mechanisms as well as the human influence on those strategies (e.g. population rise, land use changes, economics, etc.) and the decision making process itself

13 Impact Studies Impact studies enable us to produce information for adaptation planning and decision making Climate models produce huge amounts of data but identifying robust and reliable information is a non-trivial task Numerous methodologies for assessing the potential impacts of climate change in various areas have been developed and reported

14 Climatic Change Volume 3, Number 4 (1981), , DOI: /BF Climatic impact assessment in the CO 2 context — An editorial H. Stephen Schneider “One of the principal developing areas of interdisciplinary research is climate impact assessment in general and its CO 2 context in particular” Multidisciplinary research is needed: “research strategy and topics through which…social science disciplines might help define potential responses to the CO 2 problem”

15 History of impact studies Started early 1980s Concentration on agricultural and hydrological impacts, then ecological Focus has gradually shifted to include additional impacts: human health, energy, infrastructure systems – and timescales and spatial scales have become shorter and smaller

16 Uncertainties in impact studies Multi-model and perturbed-physics ensembles and probabilistic projections (pdfs) Starting to see assessments of uncertainties in impacts models – first steps ISI-MIP and AGMIP – Still ad-hoc – structures of models dissimilar, indeed many impacts models not truly physically based (conceptual models) – most of the uncertainties addressed in impact studies come from climate modelling still

17 Goderniaux et al Water Resources Research, 47, W12516,

18 My goals for the workshop To help to educate the next generation in interdisciplinary thinking and integrated approaches to climate change uncertainty To explore some of the big questions in climate change uncertainty – sparking new ideas Helping to move towards climate resilient futures


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