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Brenda Ekwurzel, Ph.D.
Director of Climate Science, Union of Concerned Scientists

Growing Demand for Geographic Information as the Climate Shifts

Geographic information that can better convey the different outcomes for agriculture, forest, or water resource sectors, under different rates of climate change, can improve and inform decisions that potentially reduce the costs and consequences for Arizona and the southwest region.  Trees that have survived droughts for over 800 years are crossing lethal thresholds in droughts that are hotter than before.  This is one example of how ecosystems are transforming rapidly after repeated severe events or after the most extreme events. The latest developments in understanding of the multiple factors influencing wildfire risks require enhanced and near-real time geographic information to provide reliable decision support. Elevations are shifting as water resources respond to extremes in precipitation variability. Reductions in Colorado River flow occurs with each higher degree temperature increase under what scientists call a hot drought.  The associated economic consequences would be substantial for the region.  However, economic risks can be decreased across multiple sectors with reduced carbon emissions and adaptation.

In this presentation, Dr. Ekwurzel will share information on how Arizona geospatial professionals can benefit from resources already available in the National Climate Assessment Vol I (The Climate Science Special Report) that addresses global change. Learn about how to access customized county-level maps of over 40 climate variables through Climate Explorer.  Practical tools can help plan for the future such as LOCA downscaled projections to see how future global climate scenarios are expected to influence your region.

About our Keynote

Dr. Ekwurzel is an expert on climate change. In her role at the UCS she not only ensures that all program analyses reflect robust and relevant climate science but also researches the influence of major carbon producers on rising global average temperatures at sea level.

Dr. Ekwurzel also has roots right here in Arizona! Prior to joining UCS, she was on the faculty at the University of Arizona with a joint appointment in the geosciences department and the department of hydrology and water resources. As a widely quoted expert on climate change, Dr. Ekwurzel has appeared on CNN, ABC News, CBS News, NPR, Good Morning America, the Fox News Channel, and The Colbert Report.

Join us this September in Prescott, Arizona, to meet Dr. Ekwurzel and learn more about her import work!