by Judith Curry
Next week, I will be in Boulder attending a workshop on the topic of understanding and predicting conditions associated with either too much or too little water.
The Workshop is sponsored by an Interagency Committees with representatives from NOAA, DOD, USGS, DOI, NASA (apologies to non-US readers for this alphabet soup of government agencies.)
From the Workshop materials:
To discuss and develop recommendations to NOAA Leadership, including the NOAA Research Council, that will inform a subsequent “NOAA Science Conference” and the next NOAA 5-Year Research Plan on the topic of: “Understanding and predicting conditions associated with either too much or too little water”
To fulfill this purpose the Water Cycle Science Challenge Workshop will:
- encompass the current state of understanding;
- identify gaps that can be addressed over the next 5-years;
- identify NOAA’s role in filling those gaps in concert with external partners and other institutions over the next 5-years;
- outline the expected benefits of filling the gaps.
The Workshop will also:
- consider implications for relevant observing systems
- characterize uncertainties associated with water cycle science information
- discuss how best to communicate water cycle science information and associated uncertainties accurately and effectively to policy makers, the media, and the public at large.
Primary Technical Topics
1. What are the “forcings” needed for NOAA hydrologic prediction services of the future, and for external partners? “Forcings” here refers to those inputs needed to drive explicit stream flow prediction models typically forecasting out hours to days or weeks, e.g., precipitation, soil moisture, snow pack, evapotranspiration, base flow.
2. What methods and basis are best for estimating extreme meteorological and hydrological event possibilities, deterministically or probabilistically, in a changing climate?
3. How to jointly utilize the longer-term climate variability from observed records, paleoclimate, and projected climate information when portraying drought and surplus possibilities in planning?
4. What will NOAA’s future hydrologic models consist of and how to develop them under the Integrated Water Resources Science and Services (IWRSS) interagency framework?
5. What scientific inputs are needed on water cycle extremes, normals, predictability, climate trends and uncertainty information for policy makers dealing with major infrastructure planning, typically for decades into the future (e.g., water supply and flood control) and/or endangered species (e.g., salmon)?
6. How to make better use of existing and future weather & seasonal/annual climate predictions related to the water cycle?
Breakout Session topics:
- Next generation hydrologic modeling
- Hydrometeorological forcings for hydrologic models
- Physical processes underlying the water cycle
- Climate dimensions
Highlighted Crosscutting topics:
- User needs
- Extreme events (drought, flood)
- Ecosystem health
In addition to the Interagency Committee, about 50 people were invited from the broad community of experts related to water cycle science. I’ve been asked to make a 15 minute presentation re the Climate Dimensions topic.
My draft presentation is [noaa water climate], in ppt (downloads the file) with some explanatory comments for slides that aren’t self explanatory. I would appreciate any comments. Some “heretical” perspectives, but I hope that they will stimulate discussion and thought.
Here is some of the text from my ppt with my main conclusions. Note, I make a critical distinction between deterministic and probabilistic predictions on timescales of days to seasons, versus scenarios on long time scales.
Creative construction of future scenarios
CMIP century scale simulations are designed for assessing sensitivity to greenhouse gases using emissions scenarios
They are not fit for the purpose of inferring decadal scale or regional climate variability, or assessing variations associated with natural forcing and internal variability. Downscaling does not help.
We need a much broader range of scenarios for regions (historical data, simple models, statistical models, paleoclimate analyses, etc).
Permit creatively constructed scenarios as long as they can’t be falsified as incompatible with background knowledge
Regional approach to scenario development
Climate dynamics analysis of historical black swan events
• Improved ocean obs for model initialization
• Subseasonal and seasonal predictions:
– hybrid statistical/dynamical predictions
– improved treatment of Arctic sea ice (wintertime snowfall)
– regional climate dynamics/diagnostics
– ensemble interpretation to identify potential black swans
• Decadal and century timescales:
– Broader range of CMIP scenarios to explore possible impacts of natural forcing changes (e.g. solar, volcanoes)
– Better understanding of historical/paleo regional climate dynamics and black swans
– Creative, regional approach to scenario development, including population and land use changes