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Updated 25 May 2005

US National Assessment of
the Potential Consequences
of Climate Variability and Change
Region: Southwest



For additional information, see the Western Mega-Region

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Links to Material from the Southwest Assessment Group:

Related Articles from the National Assessment's Newsletter, Acclimations.

Also of Interest:

  • Climate Assessment for the Southwest.  Special issue of Climate Research.(Vol 21, no.3; 16 July 2002).  "Focusing on climate phenomena and the vulnerability of the southwest United States, CLIMAS (Climate Assessment Project for the Southwest) involves a continuing program drawing primarily from participatory research efforts. It summarizes and evaluates current knowledge and aims at contributing to a better understanding of regional dynamics and at supporting the work of decision makers."  Includes free access to abstracts.

The Workshop

The Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, in conjunction with the Latin American Area Center, the Institute for the Study of Planet Earth, and other units at the University of Arizona organized and hosted the Southwest-Colorado River Regional Workshop. The symposium included both public sessions and working sessions that attracted participants from academia, non-governmental organizations, American Indian tribal governments, farmers and ranchers, elected officials, business and industry, and other research programs. This event brought together important stakeholders to determine the state-of-knowledge, information and research needs, and possible policy strategies for the southwestern U.S. and the nation.

Issues for Analysis

The follow-up assessment considered a limited number of key sectors and issues that are critical in the Southwest region. The issues addressed include: Water, Health, Urbanization, Ranching, Mining, and Natural Ecosystems. It was particularly important to show the very central role of water on health and urban issues and upon most, if not all, social, economic, and environmental sectors. The Assessment focus addressed environmental and socio-economic impacts due to climate variability and change, and recognized that some of the current stresses in the region are complicating factors.

Strategy for the Assessment

Each member of the Regional Assessment Team was responsible for either (a) preparing a base set of data/information; (b) conducting a survey and analysis of potential consequences; or (c) conducting a crosscut analysis of sector assessments.  Examining the consequences of past climate variations, including extreme events, was at least as important as examining those under projected climate scenarios. Each regional assessment team member was responsible for coordination with other assessment teams/members. The Assessment document is available on the web, see the above link.

Principal Investigator William A. Sprigg, University of Arizona
Co-Principal Investigators Roger Bales, University of Arizona
Robert Merideth, University of Arizona
Barbara Morehouse, University of Arizona
Coordinating Federal Agencies U.S. Department of Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Agency Representative Woody Turner
Alex Tuyahov
Todd Hinkley, U.S. Geological Survey
Additional Involvement National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Key Sectors/Issues
  • Water
  • Health
  • Urbanization
  • Ranching
  • Mining
  • Dune Migration

Assessment Team

  • Roger Bales, University of Arizona
  • Janie Chermak, University of New Mexico
  • Todd Hinkley, USGS
  • Laura Huenneke, New Mexico State University
  • Linda Mearns, National Center for Atmospheric Research
  • David Minke, ASARCO, Inc.
  • Wilson Orr, Prescott College
  • Kelly Redmond, Desert Research Institute
  • William Sprigg, University of Arizona
  • James R. Young, Southern California Edison

Steering Committee

  • Jonathan Bernal, International Boundary and Water Commission
  • David Brookshire, University of New Mexico
  • Stephen P. Brown, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas
  • Prabhu Dayal, Tucson Electric Power Company
  • James Enote, Pueblo of Zuni
  • David C. Goodrich, USDA
  • Howard Hanson, Los Alamos National Lab
  • William Karsell, WAPA
  • Jan Matusak, Metro Water District of Southern California
  • Robert Merideth, Udall Center, University of Arizona
  • Kathleen Miller, NCAR
  • Stanley A. Morain, University of New Mexico

Key Collaborators

  • Norman L. Miller, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • Rachel Loehman, Indian Health Services, Sandia National Laboratories

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