Modelling the impact of climate change on water systems and implications for decision-makers

Adebayo Adeloye, Najmur Rizwan Nawaz, Timothy J Bellerby

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

    8 Citations (Scopus)


    Each year, weather-related disasters cost the global economy tens of billions of dollars, and the damage appears to be increasing. Planners and decision-makers responsible for designing protection measures to guard against the threat of severe floods and droughts appear to be having a difficult time. With record-breaking events occurring more frequently, the planner is rightly concerned about the validity of existing design procedures. Planners across the world have started to incorporate climate change into the design process. However, the lack of consensus among the climate modeling community, especially in regard to future regional precipitation changes, which is so crucial to informed decision-making, is unhelpful to those whose responsibility is to develop and operate robust flood and drought protection facilities and infrastructures.

    Since the start of the new millennium, extreme climatic events with severity not witnessed in living memory have brought misery to millions across the world. The well-publicised summer 2010 floods in both China and Pakistan that affected over a hundred million people provide just one example of the scale of destruction brought about by climatic extremes. The current droughts ravaging the Horn of Africa and resulting in numerous deaths among displaced communities and their herds in Somalia and Kenya, and the attendant catastrophic crop failures provide a further example of the impacts of climate change and climate variability.

    Many planners now realize that the traditional approach to design protection measures, based on the assumption of stationarity, is no longer valid due to climate change. However, the uncertainty associated with climate change itself means that planners and decision-makers may have little confidence in the published guidance for incorporating climate change into the design process.

    Thus, although central to good long-term decision making are reliable climate change projections and decades of climate modeling research has meant that the decision-maker is not short of information to aid the planning process, there are still numerous challenges to be overcome before confidence can be had in the information. These challenges arise from the limits of predictability of climate; the complexity of climate modelling for impacts assessment; and the difficulties caused by climate change prediction uncertainties
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationClimate Change Modeling, Mitigation, and Adaptation
    EditorsRao Y Surampalli, Tian C Zhang, C. S. P. Ojha, B. R. Gujar, R. D. Tyagi, C. M. Kao
    PublisherAmerican Society of Civil Engineers
    Number of pages28
    ISBN (Print)9780784412718
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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