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Climate Change and Variability Program Approach

Hadley Cell

Atmospheric general circulation and
its global to regional features that
affect climate in the Western U.S.


Incorporating information on long-term climate change and short-term climate variability into Reclamation's water resource management infrastructure and operations is critical. Climate change involves a shift in the envelope of climatic variations, usually measured over a span of several decades. Climate variability involves fluctuations in weather and climatic conditions during the coming days to years. Improving our ability to forecast and use climate change and variability information would greatly enhance the ability of water managers and water users to plan their short-term operations and water delivery.

Climate Change and Variability (CCV) research is one of several priority areas in Reclamation's Science and Technology Program. Since 2011, the Science and Technology Program has provided 1.5 to 2 million dollars annually and leveraged resources from other agencies to support various projects designed to improve knowledge, methods, and tools in the area of CCV. Investing in CCV efforts includes:

Research roadmapping is a collaborative process conducted with other agencies. The Federal Climate Change and Water Working Group (CCAWWG) sponsors these roadmapping processes. CCAWWG was established in 2008 to provide engineering and scientific collaborations in support of water management under a changing climate. It is an effective working-level forum among Federal agencies that fosters communication, operational, and research partnerships around user needs across the water resources and science communities of practice.

Two CCAWWG-sponsored needs assessments currently frame Reclamation's CCV science investment priorities: