Ph.D. Student Hydrology and Water Resources
The Southwestern United States has a greater vulnerability to climate change impacts on water security due to a reliance on snowmelt driven imported water. In one of the most expensive and detailed regional climate modeling efforts, enabled by the fastest supercomputer (Titan) in the United States, we take an integrative high-resolution ensemble modeling approach to examine near term climate change impacts on all major imported and local sources of water supply to California. While annual precipitation is projected to remain the same or slightly increase, rising temperatures result in a shift towards more rainfall, reduced cold season snowpack and earlier snowmelt. Associated with these hydrological changes are substantial increases in the frequency and the intensity of both drier conditions and flooding events. The 50-year extreme daily maximum precipitation and runoff events are 1.5–6 times more likely to occur depending on the water supply basin. Simultaneously, a clear deficit in total annual runoff over mountainous snow generating regions like the Sierra Nevada is projected. On one hand, the greater probability of drought decreases imported water supply availability. On the other hand, earlier snowmelt and significantly stronger winter precipitation events pose increased flood risk requiring water releases from control reservoirs, which may potentially decrease water availability outside of the wet season. Lack of timely local water resource expansion coupled with projected climate changes and population increases may leave the area in extended periods of shortages.
Early Registration (by October 21) is $75 for Members* and $100 for
Registration after October 21 is $100 for Members* and $125 for Non-Members*
Brianna Pagán graduated from California State University Long Beach with a B.S. in Environmental Science & Policy and completed her Master of Science in Engineering in Civil and Water Resources Engineering at Loyola Marymount University. As part of her research, Brianna studies potential climate change impacts on the hydrological cycle in the Western United States and works to provide practical solutions to potential adverse effects on water supply. She previously worked at the Long Beach Water Department in Conservation and Planning, aiding in reducing water consumption for commercial users and developing a water budget based rate structure. Brianna is currently working towards her Ph.D. in Hydrology and Water Resources at UCLA. She is also the Urban Water Use Efficiency Fellow for the recently started California Data Collaborative, an initiative that works to create a modern data infrastructure for water managers throughout the state.
Tom McCarthy works for the City of Anaheim as the Water Planning and Resources Manager in the Public Utilities Department. He also has professional experience working with private firms on water resources and management problems around the world. He is a State of California registered professional civil engineer, as well as a California registered professional geologist. Mr. McCarthy has a Bachelor of Science in Geological Sciences from the University of Oregon and a Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of California.