A Western Governer’s Association Meeting – “Drought, Water, and Climate: Using Today’s Information To Design Tomorrow’s Services”

I have been alerted to a meeting on climate in mid-September.  It is

Drought, Water, and Climate: Using today’s information to design tomorrow’s services. Washington DC September 14‐15, 2010 [registration is at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2VCLY2M]

The meeting is sponsored by the Western Governor’s Association with several Governer’s giving presentations.

The information on the meeting is listed below.  An examination of the Agenda shows that while a number of interesting talks will be presented by excellent climate scientists, it does not appear that a bottom-up resource-based perspective is being adopted by this community as recommended in

A Way Forward In Climate Science Based On A Bottom-Up Resourse-Based Perspective

With respect to water resources, the following are the questions they should be focusing on

1. What are the key environmental and social variables that influence water resources?
3.  What is the sensitivity of water resources to changes in each of these key variables? (this includes, but is not limited to, the sensitivity of water resources to climate variations and change on short (e.g. days); medium (e.g. seasons) and long (e.g. multi-decadal) time scales.
4. What changes (thresholds) in these key variables would have to occur to result in a negative (or positive) response to water resources?
5. What are the best estimates of the probabilities for these changes to occur? What tools are available to quantify the effect of these changes. Can these estimates be skillfully predicted?
6. What actions (adaptation/mitigation) can be undertaken in order to minimize or eliminate the negative consequences of these changes (or to optimize a positive response)?

7. What  are specific recommendations  for policymakers and other stakeholders?

The meeting information follows:

LOGISTICS:  This will be a two-day workshop at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C.  Space is limited so please register early.  Registration at:  http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2VCLY2M

 PURPOSE:  Over the last two years, the Western Governors’ Association and Western States Water Council have worked with a diverse group of federal, tribal, state, and local partners from the public and private sectors to solicit decision-makers’ priority needs for drought and water information. This meeting will focus particular attention on coordinating drought and related climate services and response among federal agencies and at federal, state, tribal, and non-governmental intersections in order to meet priority needs.   The goal is to develop a set of specific recommendations to improve drought information coordination, delivery, and response in a changing environment.   


  • The sectoral impacts of drought and climate change
  • The need for and urgency of drought and climate response
  • Existing and emerging drought and climate services and response programs
  • Delivering drought and climate services to end users
  • Investing in basic data and forecasts
  • Revisiting a national drought policy
  • Specific recommendations and activities to strengthen drought response and services

 AUDIENCE:  The audience for this workshop includes water, climate, and drought-related program managers, policy-makers, and budget analysts; strategic planners; federal-tribal-state-local partnership coordinators; water managers; drought & climate service-related researchers and academics; and interested NGO and private sector participants.

SPEAKERS:  Invited speakers include Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco, Representative Grace Napolitano, and state, federal, NGO, and academic drought and climate experts.

The talks and breakout sessions (as of the August 20th draft agenda) include

Keynote: Water and Climate in the West Governor Bill Ritter, Colorado (invited)

Water: The Nation’s Fundamental Climate Issue Anne Castle or John Tubbs, DOI Water and Science (invited)

Drought Policy and Planning – National and International Perspectives Don Willhite, School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska

Drought and Climate – State of the Science Richard Seager, Lamont‐Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University

WGA – Climate Adaptation and Drought Brian Turner, Office of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, California

National Integrated Drought Information System Roger Pulwarty, Director, NOAA/NIDIS

Regional Meetings – What we’ve learned to date. Tom Iseman, WGA & Tony Willardson, WSWC

Lunch Keynote: NOAA Climate Services Jane Lubchenco, NOAA Administrator

Drought Impacts and Preparedness – Panel I Veva Deheza – State of Colorado
Carol Couch – State of Georgia Rueben Solis – State of Texas Kirk Bemis – Zuni Tribe

Drought Impacts and Preparedness – Panel II Carol Collier – Delaware River Basin Commission Andrew Fahlund, American Rivers Tom Donnelly, National Water Resources Association (invited) Floyd Wicks, Former CEO, American States Water Company (invited)

Breakout Group – Drought Impacts, Preparedness, and Adaptation
What are the impacts of drought to different sectors, including socio‐economic impacts, and how do we track and report them? What are best practices for preparing for drought and climate change?

NIDIS: Regional Drought Early Warning Systems Jim Verdin, USGS/NIDIS Roger Pulwarty, NOAA/NIDIS

NIDIS: The U.S. Drought Portal Mike Brewer, NOAA/NIDIS Mark Svoboda, National Drought Mitigation Center/NIDIS

Breakout Group – Delivering Drought Information Services How do we ensure priority services are delivered on‐the‐ground? How do we know that drought and climate services are meeting user needs?

Federal Agencies: Coordinating Federal Climate Services for Drought and Water Loren Labovitch, CEQ, Moderator Panel Discussion: NOAA, USDOI, USDA, USFS, EPA, COE

Lunch Keynote: Drought and Climate in Congress – Representative Grace Napolitano (invited)

National Drought Policy and Climate Risk Management Don Willhite, University of Nebraska, Moderator Panel Discussion: NGA, Congressional Staff, OSTP

Breakout Groups: Next steps to ensure that priority services are delivered to on‐the‐ground users.

I will post a summary of the meeting if it becomes available. If so, we can then assess whether the Western Governors  accept a narrow top-down IPCC model driven perspective as contrasted with the more inclusive bottom-up water resource based viewpoint.

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