Important New Committee Workshop On “Global Change and Extreme Hydrologic Events: Testing Conventional Wisdom”

There is finally movement by the National Academies to broaden out the assessment of the role of climate variability and change with respect to other significant risks from other environmental and social threats. This is seen in the Committee that has been assembled for

A Workshop on Global Change and Extreme Hydrologic Events: Testing Conventional Wisdom

The Workshop was held in January 2010 to discuss this broader perspective and the agenda can be read at Meeting Information.

Not all of the talks represent a broader view but others do. Some of the broader topics highlighted at this meeting were

A Process-Based “Bottom-Up” Approach for Addressing Changing Flood-Climate Relationships [Katie Hirschboeck University of Arizona]

The Ghost of Flooding Past, Present, and Future [Harry Lins U.S. Geological Survey]

Breaking the Hydro-Illogical Cycle: the Status of Drought Risk Management in the U.S. [by Mike Hayes National Center for Drought Mitigation]

The specific breakout sessions is where the broader view becomes particularly evident. The specific question posed that has this much-needed view is

To what degree do other factors beyond climatic forcings regulate the extreme nature of floods, specifically, land cover change including urbanization, the spread of impervious surfaces and loss of wetlands, and engineering works, which can both regulate (e.g., flood control dams) or amplify (e.g., stream channelization)?

Research into the above question is very much needed as we emphasized in our article

Pielke Sr., R., K. Beven, G. Brasseur, J. Calvert, M. Chahine, R. Dickerson, D. Entekhabi, E. Foufoula-Georgiou, H. Gupta, V. Gupta, W. Krajewski, E. Philip Krider, W. K.M. Lau, J. McDonnell,  W. Rossow,  J. Schaake, J. Smith, S. Sorooshian,  and E. Wood, 2009: Climate change: The need to consider human forcings besides greenhouse gases. Eos, Vol. 90, No. 45, 10 November 2009, 413. Copyright (2009) American Geophysical Union.

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