Robert S. WebbClimate Analysis BranchNOAA ESRL Physical Sciences Division Plus: lots of co-conspirators from across NOAA and a number of federal and state agencies Infusing climate change information into biological opinions and assessments(Outline: What, Why, How, …..)
What - Best Available Science - 1 “(b) BASIS FOR DETERMINATIONS.—(1)(A) The Secretary shall make determinations required by subsection (a)(1) solely on the basis of the best scientific and commercial data available …”[ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT OF 1973 – Section 4] “to assure that the national fishery conservation and management program utilizes, and is based upon, the best scientific information available”(101-627, 104-297) Conservation and management measures shall be based upon the best scientific information available. (98-623) [MAGNUSON-STEVENS FISHERY CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT ACT Public Law 94-265, as amended through October 11, 1996]
What - Best Available Science - 2 The Secretary, on the basis of the ‘best scientific evidence available’ and in consultation with the Marine Mammal Commission, …... (Marine Mammal Protection Act, sec. 1371) CEQ NEPA Standard, demand information of ''high quality'' and professional integrity. 40 CFR 1500.1, 1502.24.
Why - US District Court Rulings NRDC v. Kempthorne addressed 2004 OCAP, finding,“the absence of any discussion in the BiOp of how to deal with any climate change is a failure to analyze a potentially important aspect of the problem.” PCFFA et al. vs. Guiterriez revisited the 2004 OCAP : “readily available scientific data existed regarding the potential effects of global climate change on the hydrology of the Project area river systems” The BiOp does not discuss this global climate change data or mention that NMFS, at a minimum, considered this data. Plaintiff’s motion for summary adjudication is GRANTED as to the climate change claim issue based on NMFS’s total failure to address, adequately explain, and analyze the effects of global climate change on the species.
Scientific uncertainties and disagreements are not an excuse to ignore the impact of climate change in ESA and NEPA determinations Use best available?
IPCC AR4 Projections of Climate Change Best estimate for high scenario (A1FI) is 4.0°C (likely range is 2.4°C to 6.4°C). What is the best available climate changescience: which emission scenario, climate model, ensemble member, critical climate orenvironmental variable, downscaling method, and what about CMIP5/AR5 Court rulings pushing the climate community comfort zone?
Use of Best Available Climate Change Science in Determinations • How climate change fits- a factor that can push a species from not-threatened to threatened, or endangered • Not sufficient to simply include climate change information in analyses but need to consider impacts end-to-end • Uncertainty must be resolve in favor of the species - if there is a risk, cannot place the risk on the species • Critical habitat designations: unoccupied habitat may become essential, range contraction/expansion but also ecosystem shifts, not current habitat suitable for habitat or corridor management, recovery plans may need additional measures to offset impacts of climate change • Some levels of certainty: warming, changes in variability, wetter wet, drier dry, sea ice retreat, ocean acidification, ..
Incorporating climate change and uncertainties into biological opinions/assessments (probabilistic/statistical) USBR Brekke et al.(2009) 10 and 90 percentile values
Incorporating climate change and uncertainties into resource management (scenario planning) • National Park Service Climate Change Response Program is pursuing scenario planning as a tool for decision-making under uncertainty (Welling et al., April, 2011) • Framework to identify actions most effective across a range of potential futures or promote desired outcomes. • Scenarios are developed through the identification of critical uncertainties and driving forces • Incorporation of alternative perspectives into conservation planning • Improved capacity for adaptive management to promote resource sustainability
Incorporating climate change and uncertainties into resource management (adaptive management) • DOI established the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program in 1996 (Pulwarty and Melis, 2001) • “Promotes flexible decision making that can be adjusted in the face of uncertainties as outcomes from management actions and other events become better understood” (National Research Council, 2004). • Decisions are made sequentially over time and allows adjustments to be made as more information is known. • Useful in dealing with the additional uncertainty introduced by potential climate change. • Iterative process: (1) assess the problem, (2) design, (3) implement, (4) monitor, (5) evaluate, and (6) adjust
Incorporating climate change and uncertainties into resource management (environmental threshold) • California Central Valley Flood Protection Plan developing a Climate Change Threshold Analysis Work Plan (Climate Change Threshold Approach Work Group – CCTAWG) • Bottom-up approach reflects a focus on the underlying adaptive capacity of the system in question • Place-based and deals with specific resources of interest • Start with existing knowledge of the system and identified critical system vulnerabilities • Apply evaluation tools to identify changes in climate most threatening to the long-term management goals • GCM outputs and/or downscaled data used to assess the likelihood of such system-critical vulnerabilities
Incorporating climate change and uncertainties into resource management (environmental threshold) Threshold Analysis Approach An analytical framework to identify vulnerability thresholds that may be exceeded in the next 50 years given the expected, although uncertain effects of climate change, warranting changes in investment strategy and priority for improving regional and/or systemwide flood management in the Central Valley. (CCTAWG) Dessai & Hulme (2003) • Critical System Environmental Thresholds Assessed • Avoid significant consequences: infrastructure failure, channel capacity exceeded, loss of habitat, extinction, … • Assess probability of exceedance and revisit with a better next generation of “best available science”
Global Climate ModelingInsights from the science • The average across all models (“multi-model average”) simulates current climatological averages better than any individual model, but the multi-model average will understate potential changes in extremes. • The range of global-mean climate projections as assessed by the IPCC has not appreciably narrowed although confidence has increased • The smaller the spatial scale, the greater the uncertainty -- more confidence in projections over large areas • There is no “best model”, “best downscaling technique”, or “best approach for incorporating climate projections”(no one likes to admit being second best”)
Global Climate ModelingMore insights from the science • The relationship between model performance and reliability of projections on global and regional scales is not well understood • On a regional scale, culling models based on performance in simulating current climate does not necessarily yield more robust result • Model performance for many critical environmental variables or thresholds is unknown or unexplored • Environmental threshold hybrid approach anticipates ‘best available science’ will get better. • Nice discussion by Mote et al. (2011). “Guidelines for Constructing Climate Scenarios”, EOS, AGU, August.