The Challenge of Drought on a Changing Planet

The Sierra Club’s Climate Adaptation and Restoration GrassRoots Network Team invites you to join in our ongoing webinar series.

Communities throughout the United States are facing great challenges with a changing climate. One of the most crucial challenges is that of drought — whether it’s periodic drought, deep water stress, or fundamental climate zone shifts.  For this series of webinar sessions, we invite you to join us as we explore challenges, policies and programs that help us prepare for our changing planet.

Pre-Register Here
Session One, December 5, 2020, Noon Pacific Time

12:00 pm.  Overview of the Challenge of Drought in our Changing World, featuring Dr. Upmanu Lall, Columbia University, lead author for the Water chapter, National Climate Assessment.
What do we know about the outlook for drought in the United States as our climate changes of]ver the next decades? How can we look through the uncertainties, both in the driving emissions scenarios and also the range of possible impacts, to identify policies and programs that can help us prepare?  Can we simply use our experience of recent centuries, or must we anticipate millennial-scale disruption?  What can we do to make our responses more effective?

Dr. Upmanu Lall is the Director of the Columbia Water Center at Columbia University. He has broad interests in hydrology, climate dynamics, water resource systems analysis, risk management and sustainability. He is motivated by challenging questions at the intersection of these fields, especially where they have relevance to societal outcomes or to the advancement of science towards innovative application. Dr. Lall served as the Lead Chapter Author for the Water chapter of the Fourth National Climate Assessment, published in 2018.

1:00 pm.  From Extremes to Ex-Streams: Ecological Drought Adaptation in a Changing Climate,  Featuring Rachel Gregg, Senior Scientist, EcoAdapt.  Climate change will increase the risk of ecological drought, driving ecosystems beyond thresholds of vulnerability, with projected changes likely to result in cascading impacts on species, habitats, and ecosystem services, such as tree mortality, increased wildfires, and altered water and nutrient cycling processes. These impacts will exacerbate current resource management challenges such as conflicts over water resources, land use and degradation, invasive species, maintaining agricultural yields, and managing wildfires. This presentation will share how managers, scientists, and other practitioners are addressing ecological drought on the ground.

Rachel M. Gregg, Eco-Adapt, Senior ScientistRachel brings expertise in survey design and analysis, identifying and evaluating climate adaptation actions, synthesizing complex technical information, developing guidance to support decision-making and management in a changing climate, and communicating climate impacts and response strategies to diverse audiences. She created and manages EcoAdapt’s State of Adaptation program, and serves as Content Editor for the Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange (CAKE). Rachel has served as a reviewer for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Assessments and contributing author to the National Climate Assessment. She earned her undergraduate degree from Smith College in Government and Marine Science, and a Master’s in interdisciplinary marine science and policy from the University of Washington.