CSTPR Noontime Seminar
Finding new ground for advancing hydro-climatic information use among small mountain water systems
This talk will be available via live webcast. To view the live webcast please go to Adobe Connect and login as a guest.
Significant effort has been put into advancing the use and usability of information products to support adaptation to drought and climate variability, particularly for the water supply sector. This effort is warranted, as risks associated with drought and water scarcity are increasing across the western United States with population growth, changes to the volume and timing of snowpack runoff, and increased competition for different types of water uses. In an effort to improve usable science efforts, researchers to date have placed an emphasis on understanding various determinants that shape water managers’ readiness to take up information, especially factors related to the information products themselves (intrinsic factors) and to managers’ decision contexts and institutional constraints (contextual factors). This talk will present results from a recent study examining information use preferences and practices specifically among managers of small-scale water systems in the Upper Colorado River Basin, with an eye toward identifying new opportunities to effectively scale information usability and uptake among all water managers—from small and large systems alike—in a resource-constrained world. Our finding suggest that boundary organizations and other usable science efforts would benefit from capitalizing on the shared social identity and communities of practice that bind water managers together. Strategic engagement with larger, well-respected water systems as early adopters may serve as a useful alternative strategy to penetrate a new market of users (small-scale systems). Ultimately, we find a general sentiment among managers that the utility of additional or improved information has limits, suggesting a need for shifting away from improving forecasts to supporting managers to better cope with uncertainty. Ideas for future research will be discussed.
Biography: Rebecca Page is a Master's student in the Environmental Studies program at CU Boulder. Her academic research spans both theoretical and applied questions of when, why, and how communities and decision-makers adapt to climate variability and change. She is a graduate research student within the CU-Boulder's Western Water Assessment, where she studies drought risk decision-making and vulnerability perception among water managers in the Upper Colorado River Basin. She is also an affiliate with the boutique consulting firm Adaptation International, where she provides research support on vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning projects for communities across the US. Rebecca's interest in climate adaptation and resilience stems from her experiences living and working in some of the most vulnerable places in the world -- including coastal and delta mega-cities such as Shanghai, Guangzhou, Mumbai, and Dhaka. Prior to pursuing graduate studies, she worked in the international development sector on a range of applied research and capacity building initiatives related to urban sustainability and climate change. From 2010-2011 she was a Fulbright Research Fellow in China, where she researched public participation in water quality monitoring. Rebecca received her B.A. in Environmental Studies and East Asian Studies from Oberlin College.
Atmospheric Chemistry Program Seminar
Chemistry on Mars: The Search for Habitable Environments with Curiosity
Planetary Environments Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
"Following on decades of exploration of Mars, our knowledge of our neighboring planet has advanced well beyond observations of canals to the comprehensive characterization of surface topology and regional mineralogy. There are clear lines of evidence for past liquid water and a complex climate history. Yet some of the fundamental questions remain: Was there ever life on Mars? Could there have been life on Mars? The Curiosity rover carries the most advanced analytical laboratory sent to another planet, and over the past four and half years the mission has performed a detailed in situ investigation of Gale Crater. The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite in particular has quantified geochemical indicators that demonstrate the environment could have supported life, and has achieved detection of the first organic molecules on Mars. Atmospheric measurements by SAM have identified signatures of planetary change over billions of years and monitored modern activity. This presentation will recount the most important findings on the chemistry of Mars to date, and will discuss the implications for our understanding of whether the red planet was ever habitable."