National Aeronautics and Space Administration

National Climate Assessment

NASA National Climate Assessment (NCA) Activities

NASA Indicators Solicitation Proposals

Development and Testing of Potential Indicators for the National Climate Assessment

Lead PI and Center: Paul Houser, George Mason University
Title: Water Cycle Intensification Indicator (WCI)

The most significant climate change impacts are shifts in the distribution of precipitation and evaporation, and the exacerbation of extreme hydrologic events. Therefore, we propose to develop and test potentially spatially- and temporally-scalable Water Cycle intensification Indicators (WCI) using NASA observations and model reanalyses in support of the National Climate Assessment (NCA). The WCI will summarize how climate changes result in stronger or more extreme water cycling over the nation. The final composite WCIwill be a monthly, vertically integrated gridded composite of primary water cycle trends and extremes, integrated and weighted through water balance concepts. The WCI will provide baselines and future projections to compare options about how society can best address water issues, and will provide the water sector with sources and perspectives of data not otherwise available. By providing a key set of indicators on the water cycle consequences of climate change of direct relevance to a broad set of stakeholders, and actively increasing the pool of assessment-capable scientists by involving a recently graduated postdoctoral fellow, the proposal is directly relevant to the NASA-ROSES A.47 solicitation.

Integral to this effort will be participation in NASA's Indicator System Team (IST), which will help to coordinate and align the WCI with the NCA national indicator strategic vision, and to identify complementary resources and alternate products. To this end, the PI (Houser) proposes to help coordinate this team by submitting an application for IST Leader. By closely coordinating with and participating with the NCA indicator efforts, and conducting regular IST communications, the IST leader will provide management and direction to help align IST with the NCA indicator vision. The PI's long association and leadership of NASA, intergovernmental, and related climate programs give him a unique ability to serve in this role and enable value-added coordination that will optimize NASA's contribution to the NCA indicator effort.