Santa Clara University

SCU Engineering News

Maurer Invited to California’s Climate Adaptation Strategy Rollout

Prof. Ed Maurer (8th from right) with Gov. Schwarzenegger and other invited guests. Photo: Justin Short, Office of the Governor

Ed Maurer, associate professor of civil engineering, was an invited participant at Gov. Schwarzenegger’s rollout of California’s Climate Adaptation Strategy (CAS) final report, a first-of-its-kind comprehensive, multi-sector analysis that will enhance the state’s management of climate impacts from sea-level rise, increased temperatures, shifting precipitation, and extreme natural events.

According to the CAS Executive Summary, the report “summarizes the best known science on climate change impacts in the state to assess vulnerability and outlines possible solutions that can be implemented within and across state agencies to promote resiliency.” Data submitted by Maurer was used as a foundation for some of the analysis and displays produced in the CAS.

“Climate change is already happening and has been detected in ecosystems, fire regimes, and snowmelt,” said Maurer, whose research focuses on climate change impacts on water resources and how to deal with uncertainty in projecting potential impact. “The projections are pretty dire for many parts of California. The CAS maps out a comprehensive strategy for agencies to analyze what is at risk and how they can manage their resources in the face of unavoidable climate change.”

As part of the rollout in December, Google unveiled CalAdapt, a tool for resource managers to use to determine what changes might be in store for their own particular regions. “This is a tremendous tool for planning and decision making,” said Maurer. “It brings the information down to scale where planners need to make decisions.” Prof. Maurer plans to use the tool in his upper-level course, Geographical Information Systems, having students perform spatial data analysis in mapping as it relates to civil design.

Maurer, who also served as a member of the Climate Change Technical Advisory Group of the California Department of Water Resources, “felt fortunate to be there at the CAS rollout to see the commitment of the state, the educational infrastructure, and the corporations and non-profit organizations that were all there—all recognizing that this is a serious issue and taking concrete steps to try to address it.”