WSU Computer Model Will Help Climate Change Predictions

Nov 7, 2012

Researchers at Washington State University are hoping to make some economic and social predictions about climate change.

They’re developing a computer model with the help of a $1.5 million grant.

The new computer model will predict how climate change will affect water use in the Columbia River Basin.

The model will consider how much water is available, its quality, and who needs it.

Cailin Huyck Orr is leading the team of researchers at Washington State University. She says the difference with this model is: water users will help fine-tune it.

Researchers will adjust the model depending on how people say they’ll use water in different scenarios. That could mean what type of crops farmers will plant, if there is less precipitation.

Huyck Orr: “What we’d really like to do is provide information that can help people plan ahead of the time when we need to be making those decisions. And hopefully reduce conflict.”

Huyck Orr says the model will also predict how public policies could impact the Columbia River Basin.

Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio