Impacts of Climate Change

In order to quantify the potential impacts of climate change, a representative set of indicators is defined to illustrate the changes in food production and ecosystem health over time, as proxies for the goals of food and environmental security. Preserving food security is represented by changes in two indicators:

• agricultural production; and

• variation in annual agricultural production.

Note that for the purposes of this chapter, agricultural production is assumed to be a linear function of the crop water requirements. Therefore, unmet agricultural demands act as a measure of changes in agricultural production. Variation in annual agricultural production is defined as the standard deviation of the unmet agricultural demands over the time period of interest.

Environmental security is related to impacts on the natural ecosystems as well as impacts on human health and well being. It is represented by changes in the following four indicators:

• salmon population;

• wetland area, including area of rice flooded in the winter season;

• availability of water for domestic purposes; and

• aquifer storage.

Salmon population provides a measure of the overall instream aquatic health. We use as a proxy for changes in salmon population the change in frequency of unmet instream flow requirements designed to support salmon habitat. Wetland area is a measure of the riparian habitat; a unique ecosystem important for many wildlife species as well as providing water purification. Water for domestic consumption has direct bearing on human health and well-being. Finally aquifer storage gives an indication of the overall sustainability of the system.

Changes in the above indicators are examined against implementation of various adaptation strategies, including a 'business as usual' strategy, described below.

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