Climate Change and its Impacts: Water in a Changing Climate
Climate change will have myriad impacts on human and natural systems around the globe. This Institute will discuss the scientific study of climate change and its impacts through a consideration of water. We will focus on changes in the amount and variability of precipitation that will occur globally in coming decades, and how these will combine with human population growth, income growth, and institutional change to affect the balance between supply of and demand for water. This Institute is founded on the premise that the necessary expertise to study these problems exists within physical scientists, social scientists and policymakers from the Global South. Our role at BIARI is as facilitators. We provide not training in tools like Geographic Information Systems or Climate Models, but instead training in pursuing interdisciplinary comparative research and facilitation to develop collaborations among participants. We therefore expect participants to apply with a current project that they can present as an example of their work, and with openness to starting new interdisciplinary collaborative projects.
Faculty from Brown and around the world will present cutting edge research and ideas for future research directions, but the Institute will balance these lectures presented by faculty experts with discussions of their work and the work of participants. We will organize discussions around how we can think in an interdisciplinary way, grounded in a specific cultural, political and economic reality, about future changes to the supply of and demand for water, and the consequences of the changing balance between supply and demand. We expect major themes to include regional changes to precipitation and the hydrologic cycle; institutional structures governing water; changes in human demography and health related to changing water supply and demand; current and potential agricultural land use and productivity; and feedbacks between clean energy policies and water supply. These will be explored through the presentation of case studies and detailed research on specific regions of the world. Case studies allow us to look past our own experiences to see how the changing nature of agriculture may be the largest phenomenon in one part of the world while increases in vector-borne diseases may be the largest in another and potable water scarcity may be the largest in a third. Participants are expected to complement the presentations of faculty with their own expertise, and are encouraged to use Brown's extensive library facilities to explore topics of interest before returning to their home institutions.
BIARI provides the future opportunity to apply for funding as networks of BIARI alumni. In addition, this Institute will provide a small seed grant of $5,000 at the end of the Institute to the team of participants presenting the best proposal for developing an interdisciplinary research activity.