Developing Climate Change Training Capacity

CCAWWG agencies are working with the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research COMET Program and NOAA-RISA Western Water Assessment to develop a new COMET Professional Development Series, “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.

Development of this professional development series 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).

The series is tailored for water resource practioners, 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 features courses with the common goal of orienting students on how to scope, review, conduct and document climate change impacts for the given resource areas.  Collaborators are currently focused on:

 

  • developing and delivering pilot course offerings to a mix of Federal and non-Federal students.
  • evaluating and designing a business model to make course maintenance and delivery self-sustaining

 

Pilot Course Development and Offerings

Pilot course offerings are being collaboratively developed by instructional designers at COMET and subject matter experts from CCAWWG agencies, NOAA RISAs, and other partner organizations.  During development, several modes of course delivery are considered before a selection is made (online self-paced, remote instructor-led, and residence).  Following pilot delivery of the courses, feedback from participating students is evaluated to identify effective course delivery and to inform requirements for a sustainable business model supporting future delivery and maintenance of the course.

Delivered and planned course pilots include:

 

  • Preparing Hydro-climate Inputs for Climate Change in Water Resource Planning,” (online self-paced, released October 2012) This course instructs students on how to complete tasks of preparing climate-adjusted weather inputs that generally apply to many types of natural systems impacts models (e.g., hydrology, crop irrigation requirements, water temperature, etc.).  The piloted online course remains freely available to any interested student at the COMET MetEd website.
  • “Hydrologic Impacts Under Climate Change,” (residence, instructor-led, delivered January 2013) This course builds from the “Preparing Hydro-climate Inputs…” online module, and provides students hands-on instruction and experience with simulating watershed (surface water) hydrologic impacts under climate change, summarizing results, and practicing communication of those results.  Course information may be viewed here after freely setting up a user account on the COMET MetEd website.
  • “Crop Irrigation Requirement Impacts Under Climate Change,” (residence, instructor-led, delivered March 2013) 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.  Course information may be viewed here after freely setting up a user account on the COMET MetEd website.
  • “Hydrologic Impacts Under Climate Change,” (virtual, instructor-led, delivered January 2014) This course is similar to the 2013 residence offering, but was adapted for the remote-student (virtual) format, featured web-served instructional tools, and was delivered to nearly three times as many students.  Course information may be viewed here after freely setting up a user account on the COMET MetEd website.
  • Water Temperature Impacts Under Climate Change,” (residence, instructor-led, scheduled for August 2014) This course will build from hydrologic impacts under climate change, and instruct students on how to relate climate and hydrologic impacts to water temperature evaluations in snowmelt-dominant reservoir basins of the western U.S.  The course will consider water temperature evaluations in three settings:  natural stream networks with insignificant impairment by human activities, reservoirs where cold water pools develop during snowmelt, and regulated rivers affected by the water temperature of upstream reservoirs.  Student recruitment will begin Spring 2014 (capacity 27, free, students are responsible for their own travel and other expenses).
  • (PLANNED) “Hydrologic Impacts Under Climate Change,” (virtual, instructor-led, delivered January 2015)  This will be a repeat of the virtual course offered in 2014.
  • (PLANNED) “Sedimentation Impacts Under Climate Change,” (residence, instructor-led, scheduled for Winter/Spring 2015) This course will build from hydrologic impacts under climate change, and instruct students on how to relate climate and hydrologic impacts to changes in watershed sediment yield (erosion), sediment transport in stream networks, and sediment capture in lakes and reservoirs.  Student recruitment will begin Summer/Fall 2014 (capacity 27, free, students are responsible for their own travel and other expenses).

 

On planned courses, interested students may contact Levi Brekke ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ), Jeff Arnold ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) or Matt Kelsch of UCAR COMET ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ). Potential future course subjects may include water quality and land cover impacts under climate change.

Business Model Development

As of early 2014, COMET is in the midst of evaluating business model considerations and options that may support sustained delivery of courses in the future.  More content will provided here once it is available.

Questions and Comments?

We welcome any comments or questions you may have regarding this pilot professional development series. Please e-mail your comments or questions to Matt Kelsch ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) at COMET, or to Levi Brekke at the Bureau of Reclamation ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ).

 

Page last updated on April 1, 2014