Development of a Decision Support Aid System Connecting Climate Model Downscaling and DoD Infrastructure

Gabriele Villarini | University of Iowa

RC22-7335

Objective

The objectives of this project are to:

1) Assess the strengths and weaknesses of state-of-the-science downscaling approaches, with a focus on their applicability to Department of Defense (DoD) infrastructure needs;

2) Develop and evaluate novel hybrid approaches that combine statistical and dynamical downscaling to leverage their strengths and extract maximum value;

3) Quantify the role of different gridded historical datasets in contributing to the uncertainties associated with the different approaches; and

4) Develop interactive data visualizations that communicate the downscaled information and its quality in ways that support robust decision-making.

The project team will focus on three installations representative of diverse settings. The framework will be made ready for application in other projects and other installation sites as part of our broader support of ESTCP goals.

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Technology Description

The two main approaches to refine information from global climate models to a resolution suitable for impact assessments are statistical and dynamical downscaling. The project team will evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of state-of-the-science in downscaling and develop metrics to evaluate them through the lenses of infrastructure planning, mission, and design needs of the DoD. The project team will also develop two hybrid statistical-dynamical approaches that combine the ability of dynamical downscaling to capture impact-relevant dynamical processes at a high resolution with the computational savings of statistical downscaling. The project team will use the evaluation metrics to quantify the key added value of these two hybrid approaches relative to the use of statistical or dynamical approaches alone.

For all these approaches, the project team will provide the source of information and relevant codes. In terms of their evaluation, the computational requirements of each method will be considered and relate it to their ability to provide accurate information for DoD engineers and planners. These data elements will be synthesized in a decision support aid system consisting of interactive and customizable data visualizations. The design of the system will be consistent with best practices for risk communication and decision-making under uncertainty for climate change adaptation, and responsive to DoD planning and design needs. Technical documentation and user guides will enable DoD personnel to maintain and extend the useful life of the system as new datasets emerge and priorities change.

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Benefits

The decision support aid system promises many socio-economic benefits to DoD, its installations, and mission. By developing a better understanding of future warmer conditions, the results will lead to a better quantification of the heat stress that troops may be exposed to, supporting reduced injuries and fatalities. Planners will be able to better prepare for and mitigate other risks from extreme heat such as aircraft operations, asphalt damage, and excess power demand. Issues related to permafrost thawing are relevant to building and munition safety and infrastructure (e.g., roads, pipes), and could also impact training capabilities; hence, accounting for future temperature changes will be critical in future master plans. Moreover, increasing temperatures could increase the number of annual fire hazard days, during which live-fire activities are limited, affecting testing capabilities at some locations. Storm intensification represents a real threat to installations, making it highly relevant for their future operation, especially in locations of key strategic importance. The decision aid system will be adaptable to accommodate new datasets that come online or new emerging infrastructure planning and design needs. It will provide appropriate, authoritative, and usable information to DoD engineers and planners to incorporate future changes in climate in their master plans.

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Points of Contact

Principal Investigator

Dr. Gabriele Villarini

University of Iowa

Phone: 319-384-0596

Program Manager

Resource Conservation and Resiliency

SERDP and ESTCP

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