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Why the past matters - how tree rings and environmental history help us make better decisions about water, energy and the future
 

Why the past matters - how tree rings and environmental history help us make better decisions about water, energy and the future

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    Why the past matters - how tree rings and environmental history help us make better decisions about water, energy and the future Why the past matters - how tree rings and environmental history help us make better decisions about water, energy and the future Presentation Transcript

    • WHY THE PAST MATTERS how tree rings and environmental history help us make better decisions about water, climate and the future
    • managing RESOURCES managing RISKS
    • Observation
    • “ The hills look like sawdust, really, that colour. I've never seen it where the grass didn't turn green in the spring before.” JERRY MURPHY Elnora, Alberta source: Globe and Mail, 1 July 2009
    • what’s the worst that can happen?
    • Colorado River Photograph: Al_HikesAZ
    • Colorado River Compact 1922
    • Average river flow, 1906 to 1922 18 MAF
    • allocated to 7 basin states 15 MAF Average river flow, 1906 to 1922 18 MAF
    • allocated to Mexico 1½ MAF allocated to 7 basin states 15 MAF Average river flow, 1906 to 1922 18 MAF
    • Water transfers in the American southwest Courtesy Glen MacDonald
    • Observed discharge, Colorado River Compact allocation (16.5 MAF)
    • Average river flow, 1906 to 2005 15 MAF
    • Average river flow, 1906 to 2005 15 MAF
    • Climate history of North America Younger Demise of Laurentide Dryas Ice Sheet 20 16 12 8 4 0 THOUSANDS OF YEARS AGO Final Drainage of Lake Agassiz LAST GLACIAL MODERN MAXIMUM OBSERVATIONS
    • CLIMATE PROXIES ice cores tree rings lake sediments speleothems corals
    • (It was like this when we found it)
    • Plains droughts Red River floods Decadal variability
    • D R O U G H T FROM TREE RINGS “...and the falling raindrops ripple out into every tree ring.” ROGER DEAKIN
    • Tree-ring display at elementary school Photograph:Tom Swetnam
    • earlywood latewood cessation of growth Photograph: Kevin Anchukaitis
    • Colorado River Photograph: Al_HikesAZ
    • “rethink old assumptions” CHARLIE ESTER SALT RIVER PROJECT
    • Photo: NASA’s Earth Observatory
    • Renewable water resources, by country Brazil Russia Canada USA China India Columbia Peru Zaire 0 2,000 4,000 6,000 Source: Shiklomanov and Rodda, 2003 km3/y
    • Cadillac, Saskatchewan, 1934 North Battleford, Saskatchewan, 1930 Photographs: National Archives of Canada
    • “ Drought severity over the Northern Plains during 1932 – 1939 was likely triggered ” instead by random atmospheric variability. Hoerling et al., Geophysical Research Le ers, 2009
    • Martin-Philippe Girardin Canadian Forest Service Greg Pederson United States Geological Survey Glen MacDonald David Sauchyn Emma Watson UCLA University of Regina Environment Canada Erik Nielsen Jacques Tardif Manitoba Geological Survey University of Winnipeg
    • Prairie tree-ring network St. George et al., 2009
    • Red Deer Calgary
    • North Saskatchewan River
    • Whirlpool Point Alberta
    • Prairie tree-ring network St. George et al., 2009
    • 755 m 3/s 847 m 3/s 809 m 3/s 770 m 3/s 823 m 3/s 787 m 3/s 901 m 3/s 3
    • MEGADROUGHT intensity at least equivalent to modern multiyear droughts duration longer than the several years to decade thereof Seager et al., Journal of Climate, 2008
    • 58 oN 56 oN 1718 - 1722 54 oN 52 oN 50 oN 48 oN oW 90 114 oW o o oW 96 108 W 102 W Ringwidth anomaly −2 -2 −1 0 0 1 2 +2 (deviations) Source: St. George et al., 2009
    • 1842 to 1876 Above average Below average Source: St. George et al., 2009
    • g e o l o g i c a l STRESS TESTS for hydrological systems
    • INDUSTRY PARTNER Manitoba Hydro
    • “ This must be voodoo.” Anonymous water manager
    • St. George et al., accepted,The Holocene
    • TRACKING EXTR EM E FLOODS “Winnipeg had a close call.” INTERNATIONAL JOINT COMMISSION
    • AP Photo/U.S. Coast Guard, Lt. Brendan Evans
    • Winnipeg population: 680,000 River diversion Main channel Photograph: Greg Brooks
    • have floods ever been worse?
    • Red River Manitoba Photograph: Greg Brooks
    • collecting subfossil oaks 66 Photograph: Erik Nielsen
    • 67 St.. George and Nielsen,The Holocene, 2003
    • “ The forts now stand like a castle of romance in the midst of an ocean of deep contending currents, the water extending for at least a mile behind them, and they are thereby only approachable by boats and canoes.” Francis Heron Hudson Bay Company, 1826 St.. George and Rannie, Canadian Water Resources Journal, 2003
    • Flood damaged Normal growth 69 Photograph: Suzana Radivojevic
    • 350 years of Red River floods St. George and Nielsen,The Holocene, 2003
    • Winnipeg floodway expansion 71
    • D E C A D A L CLIMATE VARIABILITY
    • ‘Drought’ people get. ‘Decadal-scale climate variability’ gets me that glazed eye look. JOHN FLECK Albuquerque Journal
    • Pacific Decadal Oscillation index 3 2 1 0 -1 -2 -3 1900 1920 1940 1960 1980 2000
    • LOW frequency
    • “ Decadal prediction, a new eld of study, focuses on time- evolving regional climate conditions over the next 10–30 yr, which is a time period of interest to infrastructure planners, water resource managers, and others. e decadal time scale offers a critical bridge for informing adaptation strategies as climate varies and changes. ” Meehl et al., BAMS, 2009 Photograph: Kman999
    • Decadal ‘hotspots’ in winter precipitation 0% 10% 20% 30% variance
    • Decadal variability synchronizes rainfall, streamflow and hazards in northern California Ault and St. George, Journal of Climate, in press
    • Levee break, Sacramento River Photograph: California Department of Water Resources
    • High D2M power in the ENSO-PDO ‘null’ Ault and St. George, Journal of Climate, in press
    • tree-ring records Photograph: Neil Pederson
    • L E S S O N S F R O M THE PAST “Study the past to divine the future.” CONFUCIUS
    • managing RESOURCES managing RISKS
    • WHY THE PAST MATTERS how tree rings and environmental history help us make better decisions about water, climate and the future