Science Helps Build Climate Security
June 1, 2012 by Francesco Femia & Caitlin Werrell
Preparing for climate change security challenges is often about managing uncertainty and risk. Scientific advancements in measuring and monitoring climate and environmental change can help decrease uncertainty and minimize those risks. With this in mind there were several interesting stories this week on new advancements in the area:
- Climate Supercomputer Provides Super Important Information: The Washington Post featured a story on a supercomputer located in Wyoming, called Yellowstone, that will help researchers map climate change down to the local level. The article states that “Yellowstone will help researchers calculate climate change on a regional, rather than continental, scale. With a better grasp of how warming may affect local water resources, endangered species and extreme winds, local and state governments will be able to plan more effectively.” This is a big deal for climate researchers who will now be able to generate climate projections on the seven-square-mile scale down from the more typical 60-square-mile scale. This level of detail could also assist in building climate security, through, for example, providing more information on transboundary resources, predicting how an extreme weather event will impact a location, and helping to build resilience in the areas before the events occur. Read more about the supercomputer here.
- Mapping Groundwater Resources in Africa – Charting a Secure Future: The New Security Beat featured a post titled: “Full Extent of Africa’s Groundwater Resources Visualized for the First Time.” The post details the work of a team of researchers who mapped all of Africa’s groundwater resources. This was a particularly important project as groundwater is a major source of both drinking water and water for irrigation in Africa, and is closely linked to health and food security. A recent NIC report on Global Water Security also showed how water insecurity and climate change may increase instability in the region over the next several decades. We’ve also written about the importance of understanding the groundwater resources in Libya, and neighboring countries, as a component to building sustainable governance. Read more about the study here.
- Climate Risk and Water Security Center for the Americas: The University of Arizona and a partner university in Chile have launched a new center of excellence called, AQUASEC. According to co-director Christopher A. Scott, the Center “aims to synthesize and generate knowledge on water, climate, energy, environment and adaptation in arid and semi-arid regions of the Americas.” The center also intends to strengthen the policy-science dialogue to improve climate adaptation. The regional aspect of the project and the focus on improving the links between policy and science will be an important step towards preparing for a more climate and water secure future in the Americas. Read more about the center here.