Developing Climate Change Training Capacity

Since 2012, CCAWWG agencies have been working with the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research COMET Program and NOAA-RISA Western Water Assessment to develop climate change training resources.

Development of these resources was motivated, in part, by the National Action Plan:  Priorities for Managing Freshwater Resources in a Changing Climate (2011), Recommendation 6 (Support Training and Outreach to Educate Water Resource Managers and Build Capacity), Action 21 (Establish a core training program on climate change science).  Two COMET Professional Development Series are being developed and pilot-delivered, as described below.

(2015-present) Professional Development Series for general Water Resource audiences:  Integrating Climate Change Adaptation into Water, Environmental, and Land Resources Management

This project builds on the technical series described below and is aimed at less-technical audiences who play integral roles in helping their water organizations implement climate change adaptation.  These audiences include staff responsible for implementation and developing policy, including project managers, resource specialists, and public affairs, as well as more senior program and staff managers.  This series is being developed to meet the needs of several general audience communities playing a role in water management, including long-term planning and environmental compliance, environmental adaptive management, infrastructure asset management, dam safety, and reservoir operations.  The series will feature a mix of course delivery formats, including online, self-paced, instructor-free web-courses and instructor-led residence or remote (virtual) courses.  Initial course releases are planned for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016.

(2012-present) Professional Development Series for Technical Water Resource Professionals:  “Assessing Natural Systems Impacts under Climate Change”

This series is designed to provide technical training to water resources professionals on how to incorporate climate change science and uncertainties into a variety of natural resource impacts assessments, including those related to surface water hydrology, crop irrigation requirements, water temperature, river and reservoir sedimentation, water quality, and land cover.

The series is tailored for water resource practitioners, planners, water resource engineers, technical specialists and others that need to conduct technical studies for assessing the impacts of climate change on water and water-related natural resources.  The series of PCUs or Professional Competency Units features courses with the common goal of orienting students on how to scope, review, conduct and document climate change impacts for the following resource areas:

  • PCU 1: Surface Water Hydrology
  • PCU 2: Crop Water Demand
  • PCU 3: Ecosystem Response
  • PCU 4: Landcover Response
  • PCU 5: Water Quality Impacts
  • PCU 6: Sedimentation and River Hydraulics
  • PCU 7: Assessing Coastal Resource Vulnerabilities & Impacts Under Climate-Forced Sea Level Rise (Added in FY15)

Courses and supporting materials completed to date include:

  1. Preparing Hydro-Climate Inputs for Climate Change Planning (PCU 1): (~ 5 Hours, online, self-directed (asynchronous), prerequisite course to PCUs 2-7) This course serves as a prerequisite for several of the instructor-led courses in the Assessing Climate Change Impacts on Natural Systems: Professional Development Series. The lessons instruct students in selecting the best available climate projection information, and developing “climate-adjusted weather” inputs to model climate change impacts upon water resource planning.
    Available to the public for free: Learn More

    Hydrologic Impacts Under Climate Change (HIUCC) (PCU 1): (3-day,
    online (real-time), instructor-led course) Provides students with hands-on instruction and experience simulating watershed (surface water) hydrologic impacts under climate change.  The next offering is scheduled for October 20-22, 2015.  See here for information.

  2. Crop Irrigation Requirements Under Climate Change (PCU 2): (3-day, residential, instructor-led course)  This course is similar to Hydrologic Impacts Under Climate Change, but focuses on modeling of crop-consumptive use and irrigation requirements rather than watershed hydrology.
  3. Overview of Watershed and Channel Sedimentation (PCU 6): (~30 min, online, self-directed (asynchronous), prerequisite course to instructor-led component of PCU 6)  Overview of climate change impacts on sedimentation.  Available to the public for free: Learn More
  4. Sedimentation & River Hydraulics Impacts Under Climate Change (PCU 6): (3-day, online (real-time), instructor-led course)  Instructs students on relating hydrologic impacts to changes in watershed sediment yield (erosion), sediment transport in stream networks, and sediment capture in lakes and reservoirs.
  5. Primary Influences on Water Temperature for Inland Streams (PCU 5 ): (~45 min, online, self-directed (asynchronous), prerequisite course to instructor-led component of PCU 5)  Covers water temperature change impacts on climate change planning.  Available to the public for free: Learn More
  6. Water Temperature Impacts Under Climate Change (PCU 5): (3-day, residential, instructor-led course)  This course instructs students on relating hydrologic impacts on water temperature evaluations in snowmelt-dominant reservoir basins of the western U.S. Students will evaluate water temperature changes in natural stream networks, reservoirs where cold water pools develop during snowmelt, and regulated rivers impacted by temperatures of upstream reservoirs.

Courses and supporting materials in development include:

  1. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is working to gather other CCAWWG partners to sponsor completion of the Landcover Response and Water Quality Impacts training opportunities and materials. A workshop is being developed with delivery targeted in FY 2016.
  2. Update content included in Ecosystem Response (PCU 3) and Sedimentation and River Hydraulics (PCU 6). Both of these PCUs have only been partially covered with the courses developed and planned.
  3. Develop instructional components for PCU7, “Assessing Coastal Resource Vulnerabilities & Impacts Under Climate-Forced Sea Level Rise,” with pilot-delivery targeted in FY 2016.