Informing Climate Adaptation: Climate Impacts on Glacial Systems and the Role of Information Brokering in Climate Services

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/347309
Title:
Informing Climate Adaptation: Climate Impacts on Glacial Systems and the Role of Information Brokering in Climate Services
Author:
Guido, Zack Scott
Issue Date:
2015
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
Recent climate changes show that the historical record is not an appropriate analog for future climate conditions. This understanding calls into question management decisions that assume climate stationarity and consequently the demand for climate information has increased in order to help frame climate risk more accurately. However, deficits in knowledge about climate impacts and weak connections between existing information and resource managers are two barriers to effective incorporation of climate information in resource management, development, risk management, and other climate-sensitive decisions. In research presented here, I showcase results that address knowledge gaps in the impact of climate on glacial resources in Bolivia, South America. I present a mixing model analysis using isotopic and anion tracers to estimate that glacial meltwater contributed about 50% of the water to streams and reservoirs in La Paz region of Bolivia during the 2011 wet and 2012 dry seasons. To assess how future warming may impact water supplies, I develop a temperature-driven empirical model to estimated changes in a future glacial area. Surface temperature changes were extracted from a multi-model ensemble of global climate models produced for the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) fifth assessment report and for two greenhouse gas emission scenarios. In both scenarios, declines in glacial area are substantial. For many small glaciers, temperatures at the toe of each glacier rise above the glacier's maximum elevation by 2050 suggesting that water resources will be substantially impacted with continued warming. While these results address a knowledge gap, the extent to which they inform resource management is unknown because the research was conducted without an explicit connection to resource management. Information produced in this fashion is generally acknowledged as being less immediately useful for decision-making because of access and comprehension barriers. These challenges may be mollified, however, with information management strategies. Therefore, I present results from an experiment to see if translating and contextualizing existing climate-related information - information produced similarly to the glacier results highlighted above - help facilitate its use. During a drought afflicted period in Arizona and New Mexico, a monthly synthesis of climate impacts information was disseminated to more than 1400 people. Survey responses from 117 people who consulted the information indicated that the majority of them made at least one drought-related decision and the information in the synthesis at least moderately influenced the majority of those decisions. In addition, more than 90% of the survey respondents indicated that the synthesis improved their understanding of climate and drought; it also helped the majority of them better prepare for drought. The results demonstrate that routine interpretation and synthesis of existing climate information can help enhance access to and understanding of climate information.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
Andes; climate adaptation; climate change; climatology; decision support; alpine glaciers; Natural Resources
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; Natural Resources
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Papuga, Shirley A.

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoen_USen
dc.titleInforming Climate Adaptation: Climate Impacts on Glacial Systems and the Role of Information Brokering in Climate Servicesen_US
dc.creatorGuido, Zack Scotten_US
dc.contributor.authorGuido, Zack Scotten_US
dc.date.issued2015-
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractRecent climate changes show that the historical record is not an appropriate analog for future climate conditions. This understanding calls into question management decisions that assume climate stationarity and consequently the demand for climate information has increased in order to help frame climate risk more accurately. However, deficits in knowledge about climate impacts and weak connections between existing information and resource managers are two barriers to effective incorporation of climate information in resource management, development, risk management, and other climate-sensitive decisions. In research presented here, I showcase results that address knowledge gaps in the impact of climate on glacial resources in Bolivia, South America. I present a mixing model analysis using isotopic and anion tracers to estimate that glacial meltwater contributed about 50% of the water to streams and reservoirs in La Paz region of Bolivia during the 2011 wet and 2012 dry seasons. To assess how future warming may impact water supplies, I develop a temperature-driven empirical model to estimated changes in a future glacial area. Surface temperature changes were extracted from a multi-model ensemble of global climate models produced for the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) fifth assessment report and for two greenhouse gas emission scenarios. In both scenarios, declines in glacial area are substantial. For many small glaciers, temperatures at the toe of each glacier rise above the glacier's maximum elevation by 2050 suggesting that water resources will be substantially impacted with continued warming. While these results address a knowledge gap, the extent to which they inform resource management is unknown because the research was conducted without an explicit connection to resource management. Information produced in this fashion is generally acknowledged as being less immediately useful for decision-making because of access and comprehension barriers. These challenges may be mollified, however, with information management strategies. Therefore, I present results from an experiment to see if translating and contextualizing existing climate-related information - information produced similarly to the glacier results highlighted above - help facilitate its use. During a drought afflicted period in Arizona and New Mexico, a monthly synthesis of climate impacts information was disseminated to more than 1400 people. Survey responses from 117 people who consulted the information indicated that the majority of them made at least one drought-related decision and the information in the synthesis at least moderately influenced the majority of those decisions. In addition, more than 90% of the survey respondents indicated that the synthesis improved their understanding of climate and drought; it also helped the majority of them better prepare for drought. The results demonstrate that routine interpretation and synthesis of existing climate information can help enhance access to and understanding of climate information.en_US
dc.typetexten
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen
dc.subjectAndesen_US
dc.subjectclimate adaptationen_US
dc.subjectclimate changeen_US
dc.subjectclimatologyen_US
dc.subjectdecision supporten_US
dc.subjectalpine glaciersen_US
dc.subjectNatural Resourcesen_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineNatural Resourcesen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorPapuga, Shirley A.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberPapuga, Shirley A.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberGarfin, Greggen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberRussell, Joellenen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberBuizer, Jamesen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberMcIntosh, Jenniferen_US
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