Water is a fragile resource that needs to be protected for the well-being of the citizens of the state. As the climate changes in response to anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases, drought frequencies and characteristics are also expected to change globally and in Europe. However, the picture at the catchment scale is much less clear, partly because of Global Climate Model (GCM) uncertainties (see Figure 1) and also because of the difficulty of downscaling GCM results to a scale relevant to water management decisions. To help ensure resilient water resources in an uncertain future Dr. Murphy and his research team, together with Irish Water, will be working to identify the types of catchments most sensitive to climate change from a water resources/drought perspective. Rather than conventional top-down analysis which can result in wide ranges of uncertainty and paralysis in policy making, the project will be developing robust approaches to decision making under uncertainty and will be collating the information required to inform climate smart planning and policy. The research is funded by the Commission for Energy Regulation’s Innovation Fund and the project will run for two years.
Figure 1 Projected ranges of change in Irish summer rainfall and temperature by mid-century (relative to present) under a middle of the road greenhouse gas emissions scenario (RCP4.5), as simulated by the latest Global Climate Models (GCMs) (CMIP5). Dr. Murphy and his team will be developing methods for decision making under uncertainty for adapting water resource management.