5C.5 Understanding the Role of Decadal Climate Prediction for Flood Risk and Water Resource Management

Tuesday, 14 January 2020: 11:45 AM
151A (Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)
James M. Done, NCAR, Boulder, CO; and T. Das, H. Lazrus, R. E. Morss, A. Munévar, E. Towler, and M. Tye

Flood risk and water resource management stand to benefit from increased understanding and predictive capacity for decadal climate. The UDECIDE (Understanding Decision Climate Interactions on Decadal Scales) project aims to understand the role of decadal climate information for flood risk and water resource management.

UDECIDE identified climate information needs and use through interviews with flood risk and water resource managers in Colorado and California. A number of vulnerabilities of current operational and planning decisions to decadal climate variability were identified. For example, extremes in the bivariate distribution of seasonal temperature and precipitation, such as extreme warm and wet, or extreme warm and dry seasons, challenge flood control and water supply. Water quality can be highly vulnerable to runoff over burn scars created by dry followed by wet winters. Finally, the entire California State water supply is highly exposed to multi-year multi-watershed drought. Yet decadal climate variability also brings opportunities, in driving temporary excursions beyond normal operational climate allowing managers to test new adaptive strategies.

Prototype presentations of decadal climate predictions were developed at the intersections of what is needed and what is skillful. These presentations were tested with the water managers in California and iterated upon to build understanding of the role of decadal climate prediction for decisions. This presentation will outline the emerging points of overlap between what managers want and what the current science can provide. Implications for water and flood risk management practice over the next decade will be discussed.

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