Climate change and Nebraska water security

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You don't have to be convinced that climate change is taking place or that it's the fault of human beings to recognize that extreme weather and climat

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Climate change and Nebraska water security

  1. 1. DEALING WITH MOTHER NATURE'S ATTITUDE PROBLEM Brian Gongol DJ Gongol & Associates, Inc. March 17, 2015 Nebraska Rural Water Association Grand Island, Nebraska
  2. 2. Q1: Is the climate changing?
  3. 3. Q2: Are people are causing global warming?
  4. 4. Some climate change appears clear
  5. 5. Humans are probably 100% responsible for 50% of the observed changes
  6. 6. The other 50% may be out of our hands
  7. 7. BUT...it doesn't matter.  You don't have to believe in man-made climate change to do some smart planning for climate and weather uncertainty
  8. 8. What does uncertainty look like?
  9. 9. Mass-impact events can happen anytime
  10. 10. Far-out influences: Sunspots and solar flares
  11. 11. Even more far-out: Meteor strikes  It happened in Manson, Iowa  74 million years ago  Creating a crater 23 miles across  And in Russia  In 2014  Causing 1,000 injuries
  12. 12. Even more far-out: Meteor strikes 556 recorded events between 1994 and 2013
  13. 13. Threats of everything from heat waves to ice ages
  14. 14. What else could happen?
  15. 15. We used to worry about nuclear winter
  16. 16. Nuclear winter: Extinct? Volcanoes: Not.
  17. 17. The year without a summer (1816)  Miniature ice age (cyclical event)  Tambora volcano (freak event)  Together equals a year with no growing season
  18. 18. Icelandic volcano (2010) Remember how to say Eyjafjallajökull?
  19. 19. Domestic volcanoes  Yellowstone  Pacific Northwest  California  Hawaii
  20. 20. And there's always El Nino
  21. 21. We face non-greenhouse-gas risks all the time But for planning purposes, let's start with the risks for which we have readily-available tools
  22. 22. EPA forecasts for Nebraska  Wetter Dakotas  More frequent flooding  Deeper droughts  Lower soil moisture  Greater aquifer depletion
  23. 23. Maybe we haven't measured long enough
  24. 24. Local data only goes back about 150 years
  25. 25. Maybe measurements haven't been accurate
  26. 26. Maybe we're all wrong
  27. 27. Climate preparedness tools can overlap with terrorism preparedness
  28. 28. Any good preparation results in some waste
  29. 29. Remember the ozone layer?
  30. 30. Prepare! If you're not preparing for things that don't end up happening, you haven't prepared enough
  31. 31. How to accommodate uncertainty
  32. 32. Examine the full range of possible outcomes
  33. 33. Prepare for all extremes Consider both impact and probability
  34. 34. Too much precipitation?
  35. 35. Too little precipitation?
  36. 36. Wrong type of precipitation?
  37. 37. Too much heat?
  38. 38. Too little heat?
  39. 39. Heat or cold at the wrong times?
  40. 40. How do extremes affect major water uses?
  41. 41. Agriculture/irrigation
  42. 42. Power production
  43. 43. Reservoirs
  44. 44. Ethanol and biodiesel production
  45. 45. Industrial use
  46. 46. Residential use
  47. 47. Microclimate issues
  48. 48. "Global" warming is too much, too daunting
  49. 49. Think on a local scale
  50. 50. Is land use changing?
  51. 51. Do you have heat islands?
  52. 52. How much safety factor around cones of depression?
  53. 53. Where is the groundwater and where could it go?
  54. 54. Where is the surface water and where could it go?
  55. 55. Test some what-if scenarios
  56. 56. What if: More snowstorms?
  57. 57. What if: More ice storms?
  58. 58. What if: More intense spring storms?
  59. 59. What if: Summer drought is the new normal?
  60. 60. What if: Fall lasts later in the year?
  61. 61. Special considerations in Nebraska
  62. 62. Republican River allocations  More than $3 million spent on the legal fight  Kansas won $5.5 million award
  63. 63. Recent history  2006: 4th-driest May, 2nd-wettest December  2007: 3rd-driest November  2008: Heavy rainfall  2009: 3rd-wettest October  2010: Major summer flooding  2011: Record-breaking Missouri River flooding  2012: Driest year in Nebraska history  2013: October tornadoes (EF-4 in Wayne)  2014: Bitter extended winter, Pilger tornado cluster  2015: To be determined...
  64. 64. Platte River flooding during 2013 drought
  65. 65. Missouri River extremes, navigation, and ecosystem
  66. 66. Shifting wind patterns and the Sand Hills
  67. 67. Downpours on flat lands
  68. 68. Other special regional considerations
  69. 69. Drought magnifies nitrate runoff
  70. 70. Dry land means shifting pipes and settlement
  71. 71. Harsh winter cycles challenge pipes
  72. 72. Long droughts expose shallow wells
  73. 73. Extraordinary flooding overtakes wells
  74. 74. Factors to consider
  75. 75. How robust is your system?  The Chumbawamba effect
  76. 76. Have you considered all 81 possibilities?
  77. 77. Have you run any Monte Carlo simulations?
  78. 78. What about streaks of bad luck?
  79. 79. Have you considered "black swan" events?
  80. 80. Channel your inner Donald Rumsfeld  Consider known unknowns  Expect unknown unknowns
  81. 81. What tipping points would challenge your system?
  82. 82. Are you at the unstable top of a hill or the stable bottom of the valley?
  83. 83. Costs of preparedness
  84. 84. Borrowing will never be cheaper
  85. 85. Will DC distribute more or less funding?
  86. 86. Are you charging appropriate user fees?
  87. 87. Is there literally enough for a rainy day?
  88. 88. Or a droughty day?
  89. 89. Will taxes support your efforts?
  90. 90. Be broad about causes, specific on solutions  Don't let a political debate over climate change stifle planning for inevitable uncertain events
  91. 91. You can't single-handedly fix climate change
  92. 92. But you might...
  93. 93. Ensure well security against future droughts
  94. 94. Upgrade distribution to handle harsh winters
  95. 95. Anticipate strain on rivers and aquifers
  96. 96. Plan for worst-case nitrate runoff scenarios
  97. 97. Don't try everything at once There are enough scenarios and possibilities to take them one per week
  98. 98. With or without global warming... You don't have to believe in man-made climate change to make good use of the tools
  99. 99. EPA tools for climate change Or just Mother Nature's attitude problem
  100. 100. Adaptation Tools for Public Officials  http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/impacts- adaptation/adapt-tools.html  Lots of links all in one place
  101. 101. Adaptation Strategies Guide for Water Utilities  http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/watersecurity/climate/u pload/epa817k11003.pdf  Long, but sections are devoted to individual regions
  102. 102. Flood resilience guidebook  http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/watersecurity/emerplan/ upload/epa817b14006.pdf  Probably good for every utility with a nearby river
  103. 103. Map of expected climate change effects  http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/watersecurity/climate/sc enario.cfm  Interactive drill-down to your community
  104. 104. Vulnerability Self-Assessment Tool  http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/watersecurity/techtools/ vsat.cfm  "EPA strongly encourages water and wastewater utility owners and operators to use VSAT 6.0 to conduct or update an all-hazards risk assessment"
  105. 105. Questions?  Thank you for coming!  Brian Gongol  DJ Gongol & Associates  515-223-4144  brian@djgongol.com  Twitter: @briangongol  Twitter: @djgongol
  106. 106. References and credits  Human impact on climate change:  http://arstechnica.com/science/2013/09/ipcc-climate-change-report-is-out-its-warmer-and-were-responsible/  http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/uploads/WG1AR5_Headlines.pdf  Tambora volcano:  http://www.erh.noaa.gov/car/Newsletter/htm_format_articles/climate_corner/yearwithoutsummer_lf.htm  Ice Age/Chicago Tribune headline:  http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1979/01/14/page/4/article/were-slipping-into-an-ice-age/index.html  Asteroid map:  http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view.php?id=84763  Manson impact crater:  http://www.iihr.uiowa.edu/igs/meteorites-in-iowa/  Russian asteroid in 2014:  http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-23/asteroid-samples-analysed-after-earth-collision/5472798  Icelandic flag:  https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ic.html  El Nino map:  http://www.elnino.noaa.gov/  Republican River dispute:  http://www.kearneyhub.com/news/regional_news/m-spent-by-nebraska-in-republican-river-basin-fight/article_61a43903-0bb3-5f07-89c3-0ebebfa56b6e.html  http://www.omaha.com/news/nebraska/nebraska-considered-big-winner-in-river-dispute-with-kansas-despite/article_7dec6af2-bc3b-11e4-baa8-d705578bcee6.html  Solar flare image:  http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/sunearth/news/News062013-cme.html#.Um3mcPnksrU  Ozone hole image:  http://ozonewatch.gsfc.nasa.gov/Scripts/big_image.php?date=2006-09-24&hem=S  Federal funds rate graph:  http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/FEDFUNDS/  Earth from space:  http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view.php?id=57723  Wayne tornado in 2014:  http://www.crh.noaa.gov/oax/?n=surveyresultsfromwayne,netornado  Climate records:  http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/temp-and-precip/climatological-rankings/  Donald Rumsfeld:  https://www.dvidshub.net/image/33935/rumsfeld-visits-troops-farewell-visit#.VQERtI54o3U  Groundwater map:  http://groundwaterwatch.usgs.gov/StateMap.asp?sa=NE&sc=31  All other photos are copyright Brian Gongol
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