Regional Hydrologic Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate An Integrated Assessment of the Susquehanna River BasinEPA Grant Number: R824807
Title: Regional Hydrologic Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate An Integrated Assessment of the Susquehanna River Basin
Investigators: Yarnal, Brent
Current Investigators: Yarnal, Brent , Crane, Robert , Fisher, Ann , Lynch, James
Institution: Pennsylvania State University
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: November 1, 1995 through October 1, 1998
Project Amount: $460,000
RFA: Regional Hydrologic Vulnerability to Global Climate Change (1995) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Global Climate Change , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , Water , Climate Change
The purpose of this project is to determine the answer to two questions: How vulnerable is society to hydrologic changes induced by climatic variability and change? What adaptations can reduce this vulnerability? An integrated assessment, linking a series of physical and social science research tasks, is used to answer these questions. Unlike most integrated assessments, however, this one integrates over just one geographic entity, the Susquehanna River basin (SRB), and addresses only certain socioeconomic activities that are sensitive to variations in water quantity. The proposed research emphasizes vulnerability of individuals and water-supply authorities to drought and flood.
The study consists of several activities, including: analyzing observed climate and hydrology data; establishing climate-hydrology relationships in observed and modeled climates; modeling hydrologic responses to climatic variation and change; conducting primary and secondary social science data collection to establish relationships between hydrology and socioeconomic activity, vulnerability to hydrologic change, and adaptation to climate; and developing model-based future climate scenarios to determine potential vulnerabilities and adaptations.
The research has both scientific and practical benefits. For pure science, the research promotes better understanding of: (1) the connections between climate change and society, and (2) the social roots of vulnerability and adaptation to global environmental change. For applied science, the research seeks to identify ways that decision-makers can help society adapt to climatic variation and change, especially at local and regional scales. Emphasis will be given to using real climatic variations and hydrologic responses to establish how individuals and organizations are likely to respond to climate, at least in the relatively near future. At the same time, the assessment uses a model-scenario approach to create a world outside of present experience.