Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Joint WMO-SECC Conference, Orlando, Florida

I'm just back from a fascinating joint conference in sunny Florida.

This was a joint meeting between the US South East Climate Consortium (SECC is a group of universities and parties interested in helping agriculture adapt to climate change), and a World Meterological Organisation Implementation/Coordination Team (WMO ICT). The WMO ICT is focused on how climate change and variability could impact natural disasters in agriculture, fisheries and forestry.

SECC is a great model of working with the industry to provide quality scientific advice and information -see for example their AgroClimate webpage

There were some excellent keynote talks and posters covering climate science capabilities, key impacts findings, and outreach and decision support. There was also a fascinating visit to the Citrus Research and Education Centre. Citrus growers in Florida face a different water quality challenge to many farmers in the UK - the soils are >90% sand and as a result, nitrogen is almost completely supplied by fertiliser. This means that protecting groundwater from leaching is a key priority.

Proceedings will be published as a USDA special report in the near future.




Citrus research and education centre

Friday, 14 November 2008

How good are global river flow predictions?

We recently highlighted findings on changes in future river flows predicted in a General Circulation Model (GCM). A key aspect of any predictions of future climate impacts is the skill and confidence with which they can be applied.

Recent work has investigated how river flow predictions in the Met Office Hadley Centre Global Environmental Model (HadGEM1) compare to flow gauge measurements around the world. These generally showed surprisingly good skill, given the limitations of coarse resolution and the driving GCM climate, rather than observed climate.

There is more work to be done to understand the detail - such as whether errors result from the river flow model itself, or mostly from the hydrology supplied to the model.

In addition to uncertainties in predicting observed changes, there are a number of sources of uncertainty in climate predictions which need to be addressed. With a better understanding of these uncertainties, it should be possible to develop nearer term predictions of impacts relevant to water and agriculture.