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Count for all projects in 2012

Impact and Adaptation Studies 160
Regional Climate Analysis and Modeling 88
GHG Emissions Reduction 83
GHG Inventory Methods 61
others 89
481

This site represents only a subset of projects. Please see agency publications for official budget figures.

The State of California has been supporting regional climate change research for more than a decade. These studies have complemented research at the national level and have been designed to inform climate policy deliberations and actions in California. This Research Catalog provides basic information about past and ongoing climate change related studies that state agencies have conducted or commissioned since the early 2000s. The purpose of this catalog is to document California’s research efforts and to facilitate the exchange of information.

To find out more about these projects, please click here to obtain contact information for representatives from different state agencies.

Search results for 2012 Research Projects

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  1. Characterizing Uncertain Sea Level Rise Projections to Support Investment Decisions
    Lead Agency: CEC
    Principal Investigator(s): Rober Lempert, Ryan L. Sriver, Klaus Keller (RAND)
    Year finished: 2012
    Published/Product: http://energy.ca.gov/publications/displayOneReport.php?pubNum=CEC-500-2012-056
    Notes
    Many institutions worldwide are considering how to include expectations about future sea level rise into their investment decisions regarding large capital infrastructures. This paper examines how to characterize deeply uncertain climate change projections to support such decision by examining a question facing the Port of Los Angeles: how to address the potential for presumably low probability but large impact levels of extreme sea level rise in its investment plans? Such extreme events—for instance, increased storm frequency and/or a rapid increase in the rate of sea level rise—can affect investments in infrastructure but have proved difficult to consider in such decisions because of the deep uncertainty surrounding them. This study uses a robust decision making (RDM) analysis to address two questions: (1) under what future conditions would a Port of Los Angeles decision to harden its facilities against extreme sea level rise at the next upgrade pass a cost-benefit test, and (2) does current science and other available information suggest such conditions are sufficiently likely to justify such an investment? A decision to harden at the next upgrade would merit serious consideration for only one of the four Port facilities considered and hardening costs would have to be 5 to 250 times smaller than current estimates to warrant consideration for the other three facilities. This study also compares and contrasts a robust decision making analysis with a full probabilistic analysis. These two analysis frameworks result in similar investment recommendations but provide different information to decision makers and envision different types of engagement with stakeholders. In particular, the full probabilistic analysis begins by aggregating the best scientific information into a single set of joint probability distributions, while the robust decision making analysis identifies scenarios where a decision to invest in near-term response to extreme sea level rise passes a cost-benefit test, and then assembles scientific information of differing levels of confidence to help decision makers judge whether or not these scenarios are sufficiently likely to justify making such investments.


  2. City of Santa Barbara Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Study
    Lead Agency: CEC
    Principal Investigator(s): Gary Griggs, Nicole Russell (University of California, Santa Cruz)
    Year finished: 2012
    Published/Product: http://energy.ca.gov/publications/displayOneReport.php?pubNum=CEC-500-2012-039
    Notes
    Cliff and bluff erosion, flooding of low‐lying areas, and damage to shoreline infrastructure and development will continue to affect California’s coastal communities in the decades ahead. Depending upon the rate of future sea‐level rise, changes in wave energy, and coastal storm intensity and frequency, these hazards will be likely become more severe, with increasing risks to coastal communities. This study assesses the vulnerability of the City of Santa Barbara to future sea‐level rise and related coastal hazards (by 2050 and 2100) based upon past events, shoreline topography, and exposure to sea‐level rise and wave attack. It also evaluates the likely impacts of coastal hazards to specific areas of the City, analyzes their risks and the City’s ability to respond, and recommends potential adaptation responses. By 2050, the risk of wave damage to shoreline development and infrastructure in Santa Barbara will be high. Options are limited and adaptive capacity will be moderate, with retreat being the most viable longterm option. By 2100, the risk will become very high. By 2050, flooding and inundation of lowlying coastal areas will present a moderate risk to the City by 2050, which will have a moderate capacity for adaptation. If the high sea levels projected by the State occur, this risk will become very high, and adaptive capacity will become low by 2100. Cliff erosion has been taking place for decades, and as this process continues or increases, additional public and private property in the Mesa area will be threatened. The risk of increased cliff erosion will be moderate by 2050 and very high by 2100. Because armoring is ineffective here and retreat necessitates the relocation of structures, adaptive capacity will be low. Inundation of beaches presents a low threat to the City by 2050 but a high threat by 2100. The City faces a dilemma: protect oceanfront development and infrastructure or remove barriers and let beaches migrate inland. By 2100 structures will have to be moved if beaches are to be maintained.


  3. Climate Analysis, Monitoring and Modeling: Phase IV
    Lead Agency: CEC
    Principal Investigator(s): Dan Cayan (Scripps Institution of Oceanography - UC San Diego)
    Year finished: 2012, Budget: $1,100,000
    Published/Product: 500-09-025
    Notes
    Continuation of core research activities at Scripps Institution of Oceanography


  4. Climate Change Adaptations for Local Water Management in the San Francisco Bay Area
    Lead Agency: CEC
    Principal Investigator(s): William S. Sicke, Jay R. Lund, And Josué Medellín ‐ Azuara (University of California, Davis)
    Year finished: 2012
    Published/Product: http://energy.ca.gov/publications/displayOneReport.php?pubNum=CEC-500-2012-036
    Notes
    Climate change will affect both sea level and the temporal and spatial distribution of runoff in California. These climate change impacts will affect the reliability of water supplies and operations of California’s water supply system. To meet future urban water demands in the San Francisco Bay Area, local water managers can adapt by changing water supply portfolios and operations. An engineering economic model, CALVIN, which optimizes water supply operations and allocations for the State of California, was used to explore the effects on water supply of a severely warm dry climate and substantial sea level rise, and to identify economically promising long-term adaptations for San Francisco Bay Area water systems. This reconnaissance level modeling suggests that even under fairly severe forms of climate change, Bay Area urban water demands can be largely met, but at a cost. Costs are from purchasing water from agricultural users (with agricultural opportunity costs), more expensive water supply alternatives such as water recycling and desalination, and some increases in water scarcity (costs of water use reduction). The modeling also demonstrates the importance of water transfer and intertie infrastructure to facilitate flexible water management among Bay Area water agencies. The intertie capacity developed by Bay Area agencies for emergencies, such as earthquakes, becomes even more valuable for responding to severe changes in climate.


  5. Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Scenarios for California Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessment
    Lead Agency: CEC
    Principal Investigator(s): Cayan, Dan (Scripps Institution of Oceanography)
    Year finished: 2012
    Notes
    This white paper provides an evaluation of physical elements of climate change and sea level rise that are contained in the California Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessment. The analyses use six global climate models, each run under the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on Emissions Scenarios B1 and A2 scenarios. From the global climate models and associated downscaled output, these scenarios contain a range of warming, continued interannual and decadal variation of precipitation with incremental changes by the middle and end of twenty ‐ first century, substantial loss of mountain snow pack, and a range of sea level rise along the California coast. 500-09-038


  6. Climate Change and The Agricultural Sector in The San Francisco Bay Area: Changes in viticulture and rangeland forage production due to altered temperature and precipitation patterns
    Lead Agency: CEC
    Principal Investigator(s): Rebecca Chaplin‐Kramer (University of California, Berkeley)
    Year finished: 2012
    Published/Product: http://energy.ca.gov/publications/displayOneReport.php?pubNum=CEC-500-2012-033
    Notes
    Climate change has the potential to alter the San Francisco Bay Area’s agricultural production, a $2 billion industry. Two of the top sectors, wine and ranching, are examined in this paper. Downscaled models suggest that forage production in Bay Area rangelands may be enhanced by future conditions in most years, at least in terms of peak standing crop. However, the timing of production is as important as its peak, and altered precipitation patterns could mean delayed germination and earlier senescence, resulting in shorter growing seasons. An increase in the frequency of extremely dry years also increases the uncertainty of forage availability. Similarly, wine grape yields are projected to increase throughout much of the Bay Area, but wine grape quality may decline substantially under future climate conditions, as the crop ripens earlier during hotter months. The implications for these shifts in wine grape and forage production are that the aspects of Bay Area agriculture most sensitive to climate change are not yields, but subtler nuances of production such as quality and timing. Adaptive measures will need to be taken to maintain the economic viability of these enterprises.


  7. Climate Change and Water Supply Security: Reconfiguring Groundwater Management to Reduce Drought Vulnerability
    Lead Agency: CEC
    Principal Investigator(s): Langridge, Ruth, Andrew Fisher, Andrew Racz, Bruce Daniels, Kirsten Rudestam, And Blake Hihara. (University of California, Santa Cruz)
    Year finished: 2012
    Published/Product: http://energy.ca.gov/publications/displayOneReport.php?pubNum=CEC-500-2012-017
    Notes
    Periodic droughts, projected to become more frequent and severe with climate change, present a significant planning challenge for California’ s water agencies. This research examined approaches to reducing drought vulnerability, focusing on five water agencies on California’s north and central coast that rely on local and regional sources of water. Curtailing water use is the principal response to drought. In contrast, this project highlights an important but underutilized proactive adaptation to improve water supply security during drought: the development of locally based groundwater drought reserves. While this approach represents an obvious solution in principle, it is uncommon to find it in practice, and this research provides insight into (1) motivating factors, (2) legal barriers and opportunities, (3) tools, and (4) policy options to support increased drought resilience and the development of drought reserves. 500-09-038


  8. Climate Change Effects on the High ‐ Elevation Hydropower System with Consideration of Warming Impacts on Electricity Demand and Pricing
    Lead Agency: CEC
    Principal Investigator(s): Guegan M., K. Madani, And C. B. Uvo (Lund University and University of California, Riverside)
    Year finished: 2012
    Published/Product: http://energy.ca.gov/publications/displayOneReport.php?pubNum=CEC-500-2012-020
    Notes
    While only about 30 percent of California’s usable water storage capacity lies at higher elevations, high ‐ elevation hydropower units generate, on average, 74 percent of California’s in ‐ state hydroelectricity. In general, high ‐ elevation plants have small man ‐ made reservoirs and rely mainly on snowpack. Their low built ‐ in storage capacity is a concern with regard to climate warming. Snowmelt is expected to shift to earlier in the year, and the sy stem may not be able to store sufficient water for release in high ‐ demand periods. Previous studies have explored the climate warming effects on California’s high ‐ elevation hydropower system by focusing on the supply side (explo ring the effects of hydrological changes on generation and revenues) but they have ignored the warming effects on hydropower demand and pricing. This study extends the previous work by simultaneous consideration of climate change effects on high elevation hydropower supply and demand in California.500-09-038


  9. Climate Change Impacts on California Vegetation: Physiology, Life History, and Ecosystem Change
    Lead Agency: CEC
    Principal Investigator(s): Cornwell, William K., Stephanie Stuart, Aaron Ramirez, Christopher R. Dolanc, James H. Thorne, And David D. Ackerly (University of California, Berkeley)
    Year finished: 2012
    Published/Product: http://energy.ca.gov/publications/displayOneReport.php?pubNum=CEC-500-2012-023
    Notes
    Dominant plant species mediate many ecosystem services, including carbon storage, soil retention, and water cycling. One of the uncertainties with climate change effects on terrestrial ecosystems is understanding where transitions in dominant vegetation, often termed state change, will occur. The complex nature of state change requires multiple lines of evidence. Here, we present four lines of inquiry into climate change effects on dominant vegetation, focusing on the likelihood and nature of climate change–driven state change. This study combined physiological measurements, geographic models, historical documented cases of state change, and statewide plot sampling networks together with interpolated climate grids. Together these approaches suggest that the vulnerability to state change will be driven by the proximity of climatic conditions to biological thresholds for dominant species. 500-09-038


  10. Climate Change Impacts, Vulnerabilities, and Adaptation in the San Francisco Bay Area: A Synthesis of PIER Program Reports and Other Relevant Research
    Lead Agency: CEC
    Principal Investigator(s): Julia A. Ekstrom, Susanne C. Moser (University of California, Berkeley, Susanne Moser Research & Consulting and Stanford University)
    Year finished: 2012
    Published/Product: http://energy.ca.gov/publications/displayOneReport.php?pubNum=CEC-500-2012-071
    Notes
    This paper synthesizes San Francisco Bay Area-focused findings from research conducted in 2010–2012 as part of the state’s Vulnerability and Adaptation study sponsored by the California Energy Commission’s Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) Program. Historical observations of changes already evident are summarized, as well as projections of future changes in climate based on modeling studies using various plausible scenarios of how emissions of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere may change. Studies synthesized here show how these climate changes increase risks to society and natural ecosystems in a number of ways. Sectors for which impacts, vulnerabilities, and adaptation options are presented include water, agriculture, energy supply and demand, transportation, ecosystems, public health, wildfire, and coastal resources. Results show that depending on the vulnerability of human and natural communities, and their abilities to respond to these growing risks through adaptive changes, the San Francisco Bay Area could experience either significant impacts or maintain its resilience in the face of a rapidly changing environment.


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