The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Modeling stakeholder-defined climate risk on the Upper Great Lakes

TitleModeling stakeholder-defined climate risk on the Upper Great Lakes
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsMoody P, Brown C
JournalWater Resources Research
Date Published10/2012

Climate change is believed to pose potential risks to the stakeholders of the Great Lakes due to changes in lake levels. This paper presents a model of stakeholder-defined risk as a function of climate change. It describes the development of a statistical model that links water resources system performance and climate changes developed for the Great Lakes of North America. The function is used in a process that links bottom-up water system vulnerability assessment to top-down climate change information. Vulnerabilities are defined based on input from stakeholders and resource experts and are used to determine system performance thresholds. These thresholds are used to measure performance over a wide range of climate changes mined from a large (55,590 year) stochastic data set. The performance and climate conditions are used to create a climate response function, a statistical model to predict lake performance based on climate statistics. This function facilitates exploration and analysis of performance over a wide range of climate conditions. It can also be used to estimate risk associated with change in climate mean and variability resulting from climate change. Problematic changes in climate can be identified and the probability of those conditions estimated using climate projections or other sources of climate information. The function can also be used to evaluate the robustness of a regulation plan and to compare performance of alternate plans. This paper demonstrates the utility of the climate response function as applied within the context of the International Upper Great Lakes Study.