The hydrologic cycle is one of the key mechanisms through which people feel the impacts of climate change–from modification to the timing and location of rainfall to seemingly paradoxical increases in the frequency of both droughts and flood. Water management also provides one of the most important opportunities for human adaption to climate change, for example in the promise of science to change the way our crops use water and in the way natural and built infrastructure is used to capture flood waters and make them available again during times of drought.
In this course, we will explore the science of climate change and its impacts on the hydrologic cycle as well as the role of water science and technology in climate change adaption. At the same time, we will consider lessons from past societies who failed to adapt to a changing water environment, how climate-induced change to hydrologic cycle impacts food security, and evidence of a relationship between changes in the water cycle and conflict within and between states. Learning takes place through reading, discussions, labs, and a field trip to the US Botanical Garden.