Poster Session & Social
4:40 PM - 6:30 PM Wed
POSTER PRESENTER #15
CO-AUTHORS: Andrew Gronewold, University of Michigan; Yifan Luo, University of Michigan
TITLE: Climate change and the Great Lakes Basin water management
ABSTRACT: The water balance equation describes how water storage changes in a delineated area based on changes in inputs (precipitation, runoff, inflow) and outputs (evaporation, outflow). The large lake statistical water balance model (L2SWBM) is a model that assimilates historical water balance data and executes millions of calculations to estimate what the “true” value of each water balance component must be that is both consistent with known data and with the water balance equation. To our knowledge, the L2SWBM is the most effective way to potentially reduce uncertainty across all components of the water balance. Currently, water balance estimates have up to 45% uncertainty in data points in the historical record. By reducing uncertainty, we gain more accurate predictions of future water balance values, including precipitation and evaporation, the two main processes that influence total water storage, measured as lake water levels. With better predictive certainty, we can prepare for the high and low water levels expected to reach extremes in the short-term. One key preparative action is to provide strong science for investments in coastal management to protect nearshore habitats and infrastructure. Particularly in the coastal Great Lakes, restoring riverine and coastal wetlands can insulate the nearshore areas from destructive storm waves and winds, and unusually high and low water levels. Restoration can also reduce combined-sewer overflows and stress on aging water infrastructure in addition to providing habitat for native birds, fish, mammals, and plants. This research was completed with funding from the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers as a supplement to a 5-year Cumulative Impact Assessment to be published in 2023.
BIO: Hannah Paulson is native of Manitowoc, Wisconsin, and has always had a passion for the Great Lakes. She went on to earn a Bachleor’s degree in Conservation Biology from UW-Madison and a Master’s degree in Environment and Sustainability from the University of Michigan. While pursuing her graduate studies, Hannah found an interest in water sciences and worked as a graduate teaching assistant in graduate-level hydrology.