Climate Change Adaptation: Private Sector CCM Innovations to meet Stakeholder Needs

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Wednesday, 20 January 2010: 10:45 AM
B214 (GWCC)
John F. Henz, HDR Engineering, Inc., Denver, CO

Over the past five years growing concern has surfaced on the potential impacts of climate change on both the planning/design of storm water, water supply and eco-systems. Additional concerns have developed over the adaptation of existing infrastructure to climate change. Confusion exists because the basic engineering assumption of “static climatology” used in many early designs and planning has come under attack from the scientific community. Many climatologists have declared that static climatology is “dead”.

The “static climatology” premise was based on the assumption that the range of common climate parameters could be defined successfully by selecting a representative 30-year period of record. The range of natural variability of such common climatological parameters as temperature, precipitation, wind speed/direction and events such as severe weather, drought and floods were included in this assumption. However our knowledge of natural variability of climate parameters has expended significantly since the discussion about man-made or influenced climate changes began in the past decade.

This paper will present a discussion and perspective on the alternatives being considered for “best practice” within the engineering community to deal with potential climate change impacts on the planning, design and adaptation for different types of eco-system developments. Innovative solutions were developed for different approaches to climate change including use of WSR-88D Doopler radar data to define the spatial and temporal distributions of 2-yr to 500-yr design storms for flood plain delineation studies. GIS was adapted to interface with HMR storm maximization and elevation changes to develop an objective extreme precipitation analysis tool (EPAT) to supplant HMR-PMP for dam safety rehabilitation project. Hydro-climate indices and their physical cause-effect relationship to basin precipitation and runoff were used to enhance and change rule curves for reservoir operation. Finally, the ecological and water supply impacts and implications of different climate change scenarios are driving a deeper involvement of private meteorologists into the NEPA/CEQA EIS/EIR forensic environment.