Thrust Areas Ecosystem Water Institute Classification Level
Water, Land Use and Ecosystems Water and Climate Water and Society Water Resources Sustainability Springs Wetlands Watersheds Aquifers Lakes Coastal Zone  Water Institute Classification 1  Water Institute Classification 2  Water Institute Classification 3  Water Institute Classification 4
Thrust Area: Water and Climate

Climate variability and change have the potential to dramatically affect the amount and quality of fresh water available at any given time. In addition to extreme events such as floods, droughts and tropical storms, cyclical climate patterns known to affect water resources in the Southeastern United States include the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Multi-decadal Oscillation (MDO). Predicted impacts of global climate change including changing weather patterns; higher surface air temperatures; longer, more frequent droughts; shorter, higher intensity rainy seasons; and sea-level rise which will cause salt water intrusion into freshwater aquifers and habitat destruction. Uncertainty about climate variability and climate change may increase competition among water users requiring that critical decisions be made to allocate sufficient water for agricultural use and consumption by cities, for maintaining water reservoirs and ensuring in-stream flows for aquatic ecosystems, and for industrial and energy production and rec¬reational uses. The goal of this thrust area is to develop and improve predictive tools that allow us to simultaneously manage water resources for multiple uses under the certainties of climate variability, and the uncertainties of climate change. These tools include models that predict the hydrologic impacts of short-term (hourly to seasonal) climate variability and water management decisions, as well as long-term (years to decades) hydrologic impacts of the effects land and water planning decisions and climate change.

Water and Climate Projects