Diana Liverman

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Research projects


I am a co-PI on the following funded projects based at the University of Arizona:

IRAP: Integrating Climate Information and Decision Processes for Regional Climate Resilience PI James Buizer University of Arizona

The NOAA International Research Applications Program (IRAP) is a collaboration involving climate, sectoral, and social scientists at the Institute of the Environment at the University of Arizona and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University and regional and national partners in the Caribbean, Asia, and West Africa, which seeks to build resilience to impacts from climate variability and change, using strategies in the sectors of water resources, hazard risk management and coastal planning and management.

The three focus regions are extremely vulnerable to climate variability, particularly extreme events and stresses on food production, water resources, and coastal hazards. Their continued economic development is threatened by today’s climate, and those threats are likely to worsen with future climate change. The effective provision of climate services may help sustain hard-won development gains and engender climate-­‐resilient societies. The aim is to develop hydroclimate information at multiple timescales that can meet identified user needs.

Collaborative Research: EaSM2–Quantifying and Conveying the Risk of Prolonged Drought in Coming Decades: PI Jonathan Overpeck, University of Arizona

Drought is among the most ruinous of natural disasters and is expected to become increasingly prevalent in a warming world. In the future, natural hydroclimatic variability will be superimposed on continued human-driven changes to regional climate, with both long-term warming and regional drying likely to exacerbate droughts of the future. Among the greatest challenges of decadal prediction and climate change projection are the quantification of prolonged drought risk in vulnerable regions and the integration of knowledge about this risk into the decision-making processes of the many resource managers and other stakeholders who deal with drought.

This project focuses on a scale of drought variability – decadal to multidecadal – that is not well constrained by observations, nor well represented in models. The activity relies on the integrated use of satellite, instrumental, and paleoclimatic observations, along with climate models and analysis, to understand both the natural and human influences on drought, potential model biases, and the roles of land cover change (vegetation and dust), ocean temperatures, and other factors behind drought. The goal is to develop improved estimates of drought risk, as well as the improved partnerships between scientists and stakeholders that are required to reduce the vulnerability of society to drought. Key vulnerable regions will be identified, where natural variability and anthropogenic change combine to amplify the risk of prolonged, severe drought with large consequences: southwestern North America (US and Mexico), Australia, the Amazon, and West Africa/Sahel.

The strategy takes advantage of several unique observational, model and stakeholder resources: (1) an unprecedented number of simulations of the past millennium from a state-of-the-art Earth System Model (CESM; in addition to the CMIP5 archive); (2) an expanding set of published and emerging paleoclimate datasets from multiple proxies that reveal long observational histories of decadal-multidecadal hydroclimate variability; (3) a longstanding network of stakeholders and collaborators in the southwestern US, Mexico, and beyond with whom we can develop best practices in applying drought risk estimates to real-world problems across a broad social context; and (4) a long history of working on drought variability and stakeholder-driven.

Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice: Climate Justice network. PI Diana Liverman

This project sets out to build climate justice collaborations and expertise at the University of Arizona and beyond.  Activities include participating on panels and events at COP21, organizing events on UA and the SDGs, surveying women who are IPCC authors to identify barriers to their participation and voice.

CONACYT-UA  NAFTA and the environment: A retrospective PI Diana Liverman with Fiona Gladstone (UA) and Roberto Sanchez (COLEF)

This project examines the environmental impacts and perceptions of NAFTA more than 20 years after it came into force by looking at environmental trends and interviewing experts and activists about their evaluation.


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