Student survey on Visualization for Water Planning Decision Support

Stephanie Deitrick, PhD student in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning at ASU and past DCDC Graduate Research Assistant, is currently recruiting people to answer questions on the influence of visual representation on decision-making. The survey will take 20-30 minutes to complete.

The results of the research may be published, but your name will not be used. Participants in this survey will have the opportunity to be entered into a drawing for Amazon gift cards ranging from $50-$80 each.

If you would like to help Stephanie with her research, please link to the visualization water planning survey and complete the questionnaire. Thank you from Stephanie for your assistance.

DCDC-Intel-CH2M Hill Collaboration

By Skip Derra at ASU News

CH2M HILL’s WaterMatch, a grassroots, goodwill initiative that promotes the reuse of municipal effluent for industrial and agricultural use, is expanding through collaborations with companies and universities around the world. Arizona State University and Intel are among the targets for this expansion in the U.S.

CH2M HILL, a program management, construction management and design firm located in Denver, developed WaterMatch as a free website that uses social networking and geospatial mapping to connect water generators with water users. “We are expanding WaterMatch and the grassroots water reuse revolution to promote progress through partnerships and projects on the ground,” said Jan Dell, vice president at CH2M HILL. “We invite companies, municipalities and universities to join us in this effort.”

CH2M HILL launched WaterMatch in 2011. Recognizing the importance of water reuse and the low rates of implementation around the world, corporations and universities are partnering with WaterMatch to promote reuse and sustainable water management through a variety of actions. WaterMatch has more than 21,000 potential water reuse sources and is growing daily.

ASU and Intel are working with local municipalities in Arizona and the U.S. Southwest to populate the WaterMatch map and associated wastewater treatment plant profiles. They also are conducting research into the uses and benefits of WaterMatch.

“Sustainable water management is a key focus at Intel,” said Gary Niekerk, director of Corporate Citizenship at Intel. “We created the external collaboration with CH2M HILL‘s WaterMatch, ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability and ASU’s Decision Center for a Desert City to increase water sustainability in our local community.” Niekerk added that Intel believes that technology can play an important role in addressing the world’s sustainability challenges.

The university program will leverage what is learned from successful pilot projects at Arizona State University and the University of California-San Diego.

“Our students are eager to engage on the critical issue of water sustainability in Arizona and work on a grassroots project,” said John Sabo, director of Research Development at ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability. “It’s great to see the program our students helped to pilot expand globally.”

Also helping to populate the map and grow the user base are SGS, a global inspection, testing, verification and certification company in Poland; British Water in the United Kingdom; and ConocoPhillips, working in Indonesia.

To tap into the energy and creativity of students, and offer them real-world learning experiences that support local community and economic development, WaterMatch is collaborating on a global WaterMatch Makers university program with Net Impact, a global nonprofit that supports a new generation of leaders who work for a more sustainable world.

US-Mexico Border Water and Environmental Sustainability Training Program – Final Presentations

On August 24, 2012, ten ASU students working on an NSF-funded summer research, cultural and educational experience called the US-Mexico Border Water and Environmental Sustainability Training (UMB-WEST) program will give their final presentations on their experience.

Participating students from the School of Earth and Space Exploration, School of Sustainability, School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, and the School of Life Sciences include: Dustin Pearce, Mariela Castaneda, Rudd Moe (WaterMatch/DCDC Sustainability Ambassador), Jill Brumand, Sarah Cronk, Jiachuan Yang, Kelsii Dana, Tiantian Xiang, Adam Schreiner-McGraw and Huntington Keith.

During the presentation, students will describe their research visits and field work in Sonora, Mexico, focused on water resources management and sustainability. This is a great way to find out about the program for folks interested in participating in summer 2013 or 2014.

Join us on August 24 at 10 am in ISTB4, Room 240. More information is available at: Hydrology Wikie and the ASU Explorers Blog.

In the News

  • AGU in Arizona. Our very own, David Sampson, is in the member highlight of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). Enduring drought conditions in the Southwest and increasing water demands for future water supplies in Phoenix are worrisome for water managers. David works on a water management and planning model for Phoenix that simulates the current and projected water supply as influenced by population, climate change, and water availability. By allowing water managers to examine “what-if” scenarios they will be able to ensure long term availability for the growing Phoenix population.
  • Don’t Waste the Drought. We’re in the worst drought in the United States since the 1950s, and we’re wasting it. Via The New York Times.
  • Children draw their feelings about future of water. “The Science of Water Art: A Citizen Science Project” – a collaborative research project, featuring research by DCDC researcher Amber Wutich, brings together professionals, community members, college students and children to think about the role that water plays in each of our lives – will be on display Sept. 1-30 at ASU’s Deer Valley Rock Art Center.
  • ASU research on climate impacts of urbanization gains widespread attention. A recently published study by ASU researchers and colleagues at the National Center for Atmospheric Research has produced widespread interest in news media – from the Los Angeles Times to Terra Espana, the Spain internet outlet of a prominent Spanish-language media company. Via ASU News
  • $3M NSF award to launch alternative energy research, PhD program. A new effort at Arizona State University to educate and train students in renewable and solar energy is receiving backing by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Via ASU News
  • Evolution of ASU’s commitment to sustainability. A cool timeline from the Global Institute of Sustainability.
  • Nine Straight Days of 110 or More: That’s Hot, Even for Phoenix. Hot is a relative term for people used to the scorching summer weather in this city built on land better suited for cactus than lawns. But nine straight days of excessive heat seem to have stretched even the most elastic tolerance levels to their limits. Via The New York Times
  • Want to know more about your Phoenix water and sewer Customer Services? Watch this!
  • Global Water Sustainability Flows Through Natural And Human Challenges. Water’s fate in China mirrors problems across the world: fouled, pushed far from its natural origins, squandered and exploited. In this week’s Science magazine, Jianguo “Jack” Liu, director of Michigan State University’s Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, and doctoral student Wu Yang look at lessons learned in China and management strategies that hold solutions for China – and across the world. Via Science 360.

Children draw their feelings about future of water

By Judith Smith via ASU News featuring DCDC Researcher Amber Wutich, PhD.

“The Science of Water Art: A Citizen Science Project” will be on display at ASU’s Deer Valley Rock Art Center Sept. 1-30
“The Science of Water Art: A Citizen Science Project” – a collaborative research project that brings together professionals, community members, college students and children to think about the role that water plays in each of our lives – will be on display Sept. 1-30 at ASU’s Deer Valley Rock Art Center.

The project is part of a larger global ethnohydrology study that is starting its fifth year with a look at the role of water, climate change and health in several communities worldwide. The study is sponsored by ASU’s School of Human Evolution and Social Change (SHESC).

The art facet of this study allows for a look into how climate change and water insecurity are viewed by younger generations, and gives a voice to children so that they may share their outlooks on this vital resource.

This study used a sample of fourth-grade classrooms across Arizona in collecting more than 3,000 drawings of children’s perception of water today and in the future. The nine- to 11-year-olds were asked by their teachers to draw two pictures with the following prompts: 1) Please draw a picture showing water being used in your neighborhood; and 2) Please draw a picture showing how you imagine water will be used in your neighborhood 100 years from now.

The study was conceptualized in partnership with SRP and the Maricopa County Education Service Agency by Amber Wutich, associate professor in SHESC, and Alexandra Brewis Slade, professor in SHESC.

The exhibit is free with museum admission: $7 adults; $4 seniors, military and students; $3 children 6-12. Children 5 and younger are free.

Deer Valley Rock Art Center hours are 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. More information is available at or by calling 623-582-8007.

September 5 DCDC Water/Climate Briefing

Dynamics of Water in Urban Ecosystems

In our first Water/Climate Briefing for 2012-2013, DCDC sets the stage with a broad-based discussion of future topics related to this year’s theme: The dynamic role of water within urban ecosystems in relation to the management of cities and regions of Arizona. Our panelists will explore:

  • Effluent and Environmental Systems
  • Impact of Climate Change on Riparian Systems
  • Stormwater: Green Infrastructure Systems
  • Quantifying Water Use for Ecosystem Services
  • Water Use Within Public Features
  • The Impact of Environmental Stresses on Water Quality

We hope to provide opportunities for researchers, water resource managers, and the public to gain insight to the challenges of water within our urban places and ecosystems.


Dan Childers, Moderator and Professor, ASU School of Sustainability
Juliet Stromberg, Associate Professor, ASU School of Life Sciences
Aimée Conroy, Deputy Water Services Director, City of Phoenix
Sarah Porter, Executive Director, Audubon Arizona


Wednesday, September 5, 2012, 12:00–1:30 p.m.

Lunch will be served. Please RSVP to:


Decision Center for a Desert City, 21 East 6th Street, Suite 126B, Tempe Map

Study Finds More of Earth Is Hotter and Says Global Warming Is at Work

By Justin Gillis via The New York Times

The percentage of the earth’s land surface covered by extreme heat in the summer has soared in recent decades, from less than 1 percent in the years before 1980 to as much as 13 percent in recent years, according to a new scientific paper.

The change is so drastic, the paper says, that scientists can claim with near certainty that events like the Texas heat wave last year, the Russian heat wave of 2010 and the European heat wave of 2003 would not have happened without the planetary warming caused by the human release of greenhouse gases.

Those claims, which go beyond the established scientific consensus about the role of climate change in causing weather extremes, were advanced by James E. Hansen, a prominent NASA climate scientist, and two co-authors in a scientific paper published online on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“The main thing is just to look at the statistics and see that the change is too large to be natural,” Dr. Hansen said in an interview. The findings provoked an immediate split among his scientific colleagues, however.

Some experts said he had come up with a smart new way of understanding the magnitude of the heat extremes that people around the world are noticing. Others suggested that he had presented a weak statistical case for his boldest claims and that the rest of the paper contained little that had not been observed in the scientific literature for years.

The divide is characteristic of the strong reactions that Dr. Hansen has elicited playing dual roles in the debate over climate change and how to combat it. As the head of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies in Manhattan, he is one of NASA’s principal climate scientists and the primary custodian of its records of the earth’s temperature. Yet he has also become an activist who marches in protests to demand new government policies on energy and climate.

The latter role — he has been arrested four times at demonstrations, always while on leave from his government job — has made him a hero to the political left, and particularly to college students involved in climate activism. But it has discomfited some of his fellow researchers, who fear that his political activities may be sowing unnecessary doubts about his scientific findings and climate science in general.

Climate-change skeptics routinely accuse Dr. Hansen of manipulating the temperature record to make global warming seem more serious, although there is no proof that he has done so and the warming trend has repeatedly been confirmed by other researchers.

Scientists have long believed that the warming — roughly 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit over land in the past century, with most of that occurring since 1980 — was caused largely by the human release of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels. Such emissions have increased the likelihood of heat waves and some other types of weather extremes, like heavy rains and snowstorms, they say.

But researchers have struggled with the question of whether any particular heat wave or storm can be definitively linked to human-induced climate change.

In the new paper, titled “Perception of Climate Change,” Dr. Hansen and his co-authors compared the global climate of 1951 to 1980, before the bulk of global warming had occurred, with the climate of the years 1981 to 2011.

They computed how much of the earth’s land surface in each period was subjected in June, July and August to heat that would have been considered particularly extreme in the period from 1951 to 1980. In that era, they found, only 0.2 percent of the land surface was subjected to extreme summer heat. But from 2006 to 2011, extreme heat covered from 4 to 13 percent of the world, they found.

“It confirms people’s suspicions that things are happening” to the climate, Dr. Hansen said in the interview. “It’s just going to get worse.”

The findings led his team to assert that the big heat waves and droughts of recent years were a direct consequence of climate change. The authors did not offer formal proof of the sort favored by many climate scientists, instead presenting what amounted to a circumstantial case that the background warming was the only plausible cause of those individual heat extremes.

Dr. Hansen said the heat wave and drought afflicting the country this year were also a likely consequence of climate change.

Some experts said they found the arguments persuasive. Andrew J. Weaver, a climate scientist at the University of Victoria in British Columbia who reviewed the paper before publication, compared the warming of recent years to a measles outbreak popping up in different places. As with a measles epidemic, he said, it makes sense to suspect a common cause.

“You can actually start to see these patterns emerging whereby in any given year more and more of the globe is covered by anomalously warm events,” Dr. Weaver said.

But some other scientists described the Hansen paper as a muddle. Claudia Tebaldi, a scientist with an organization called Climate Central that seeks to make climate research accessible to the public, said she felt that the paper was on solid ground in asserting a greater overall likelihood of heat waves as a consequence of global warming, but that the finding was not new. The paper’s attribution of specific heat waves to climate change was not backed by persuasive evidence, she said.

Martin P. Hoerling, a researcher with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who studies the causes of weather extremes, said he shared Dr. Hansen’s general concern about global warming. But he has in the past criticized Dr. Hansen for, in his view, exaggerating the connection between global warming and specific weather extremes. In an interview, he said he felt that Dr. Hansen had done so again.

Dr. Hoerling has published research suggesting that the 2010 Russian heat wave was largely a consequence of natural climate variability, and a forthcoming study he carried out on the Texas drought of 2011 also says natural factors were the main cause.

Dr. Hoerling contended that Dr. Hansen’s new paper confuses drought, caused primarily by a lack of rainfall, with heat waves.

“This isn’t a serious science paper,” Dr. Hoerling said. “It’s mainly about perception, as indicated by the paper’s title. Perception is not a science.”

Read the entire article at The New York Times.