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Meeting Information

Project Title: Assessing the Impacts of Climate Change on Social and Political Stresses

PIN: DBASSE-CHDGC-11-01         

Major Unit:
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
Division on Earth and Life Studies

Sub Unit:
Board on Environmental Change and Society

Stern, Paul

Subject/Focus Area:
Behavioral and Social Sciences; Environment and Environmental Studies; International Issues; National Security and Defense

Assessing the Impacts of Climate Change on Social and Political Stresses
January 12, 2012 - January 13, 2012
Keck Center
500 5th Street, NW
Washington D.C. 20001

If you would like to attend the sessions of this meeting that are open
to the public or need more information please contact:

Contact Name: Alicia Jaramillo-Underwood
Phone: 2023341864


Committee on Assessing the Impact of Climate Change
on Political and Social Stresses

Board on Environmental Change and Society
National Research Council

Meeting #2 and Workshop
January 12–13, 2012
Keck Center, 500 Fifth Street NW Washington, DC
Room 109

Draft Agenda: Open Sessions

JANUARY 12, 2012

10:00 am Estimating changing probabilities of extreme events on a decadal time scale [TAB 3]

Opening comment: The place of this discussion in the context of the committee’s task, Robert Lempert

Topics: What methods can climate science use to estimate change in the probability of an extreme event of interest in the next decade? How good are the available dynamical, statistical, and other methods? What are their strengths and weaknesses, data requirements, etc.? How different are risk estimates depending on the methods used? Can estimates be improved by superimposing predictable climate variations (e.g., ENSO) on climate trends?

Speakers: Lisa Goddard, Columbia University, dynamical methods;
Richard L. Smith, Univ. of North Carolina, statistical methods

Open discussion

12:00 Working lunch

1:00 pm Estimating joint probabilities of climate-driven events

Topics: How can we estimate the joint probability of multiple extreme events driven by the same process (e.g., an accelerating hydrological cycle) clustering in time? How much different is this probability from what would be expected with statistically independent events?

Speaker: Daniel Cooley, Colorado State University


1:45 pm Ability to predict extreme climate events of possible security importance

Topics: We will focus on some illustrative examples of specific potential climatic events that might lead to increased risks to US national security. Specialists in particular areas of impact have identified some climate thresholds and places where, if the threshold is crossed, such risk-increasing events might plausibly occur. At the workshop, we will ask climate scientists about the ability of the science to estimate the probability of crossing the thresholds in the next decade. Each topic will be allocated 15-20 min for a presentation and 20-25 min for discussion).

a. Climate-driven crop loss:
Question 1: What is the likelihood that within the next decade, we will have 2 or more successive years where average land temperatures in the Northern hemisphere for June-August are more than 1 C above the 1960-2000 average?

Question 2: What is the likelihood that within the next decade, we will have 3 or more of the 7 major grain producing regions with significant drought (below the 25th percentile of historical values for 4 consecutive months) in the same year?

Speaker: David Easterling, National Climatic Data Center, NOAA, Asheville NC

2:30 pm Break

2:45 pm b. Conditions conducive to infections disease outbreaks:
Question: What is the likelihood that within the next decade, climate change will allow the spread of the vector for yellow fever and dengue into the highly populated Mexico City area?

Speakers: Mary Hayden, NCAR; Andrew Monaghan, NCAR (by phone)

c. Tropical cyclones:
Question: What is the likelihood that within the next decade, a tropical cyclone of Category 4 or 5 will make landfall in a location where more than a million people live at lower elevation than the projected storm surge?

Speaker: Gabriel Vecchi, NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory

d. Extreme precipitation:
Question: What is the likelihood that within the next decade, a heavy precipitation event will cause flooding sufficient to leave people homeless for 10 million person-weeks? (Focus of the discussion may be regional, likely in South Asia.)

Speaker: Upmanu Lall, Columbia University

5:00 pm Adjourn

JANUARY 13, 2012

8:00 am Breakfast available in meeting room

8:30 am Key concepts from the IPCC Special Report on Extreme Events (SREX) [TAB 4]

Topics: What are the main concepts developed or refined in this report that might be useful for our study? What, if anything, does SREX have to say about extreme events in the next decade or so? What does it have to say about how climate change and variability interact with each other and with other events or conditions to produce major stresses or harm?

Speaker: Kristie Ebi, IPCC Working Group II Technical Support Unit

9:45 am Stress monitoring activities in the intelligence community

Topic: What open source indicators and databases does the intelligence community now use to monitor political and social stresses that might be affected by climate change?

Speaker: TBD

10:45 am Break; end of open session

Closed Session Summary Posted After the Meeting

The following committee members were present at the closed sessions of the meeting:
Antonio Busalacchi
Otis Brown
David Easterling
Kristie Ebi
Thomas Fingar
Leon Fuerth
Sherri Goodman
Robin Leichenko
Robert Lempert
Marc Levy
Richard Smith
John Steinbruner

The following topics were discussed in the closed sessions:
What was learned in the workshop
Planning for second workshop, March 1-2, 2012
Issues to discuss and initial drafting assignments
Key locations for monitoring

The following materials (written documents) were made available to the committee in the closed sessions:

Date of posting of Closed Session Summary: January 18, 2012