The Policy & Practice of Climate Change & Water

AGU Fall Meeting 2018

The American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting will take place from 10-14 December 2018 in Washington, D.C. This year's meeting marks the centennial celebration of AGU, with a number of special events, sessions, and activities planned for participants.

AGU's Fall Meeting will include a rigorous scientific program full of keynotes, workshops, town halls, and other presentations from hundreds of experts from across the globe. The 2018 program includes more than 26,000 abstracts and nearly 2,000 oral and poster sessions.

AGWA will be actively involved throughout the week — organizing and taking part a number of sessions and special events at the conference venue and throughout nearby D.C.

More details on the AGU Fall Meeting can be found on the event website at

Meeting Themes

  • Climate
  • Data & Emerging Technologies
  • Earth Processes
  • Extreme Events & Hazards
  • Natural Resources
  • Planetary Discovery
  • Science & Society
  • Soils

Highlighted Events

Water and climate change will feature heavily throughout the AGU Fall Meeting. Below are a number of events and sessions relevant to our members. Many of these include contributions from AGWA through organizational or speaking roles.

The main venue for the Fall Meeting is the Walter E Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. Unless otherwise noted, events will take place at the Convention Center. Times listed below are for Eastern Standard Time (GMT -5).

The full program for can be found at

Monday, 10 Dec.

Aligning the Technical Analysis to the Needs of a Decision Maker for Water Resources Planning Under Deeply Uncertain Futures

Water resources management decisions are based on economic, environmental, and social assessments that are directly linked to the reliability of system performance. Deep uncertainties such as those associated natural variability, climate change, human migration, governance and macroeconomic conditions represent existential threats to the performance of water resource systems and make sound decision making challenging, particularly in the context of these systems long operational lives. This session examines methods that explore the vulnerabilities of these systems and lead to the formulation of robust and/or flexible adaptation strategies. It explores tools and methods that link scientific information with decision making in a deeply uncertain world. It seeks to showcase experiences from the US and around the world on the tools to support decision makers make decisions to address the unknown unknowns.

When: Monday, 10 December; 8:00-10:00
Venue: Marriott Marquis; Marquis 3-4
Organizers: US Army Corps of Engineers, AGWA

Wednesday, 12 Dec.

Growing into Principled Climate Change Adaptation Professionals and Transforming the Adaptation Field

A climate change adaptation professional is anyone who considers information about future climate change in their research or practice. This includes earth and space scientists and colleagues from many other sectors. What shared values and objectives unite climate change adaptation professionals? What strategies and actions help ensure effective, equitable, ethical adaptation practice? What professional training do YOU need to confidently implement those strategies and actions? In this workshop you'll use American Society of Adaptation Professionals' Living Guide to the Principles of Climate Change Adaptation to assess your integration of adaptation principles into your research or practice and identify your professional development needs. You will hear from leaders in the field about their successes and challenges doing principled adaptation work and discover new professional development opportunities.

When: Wednesday, 12 December; 8:00-12:20
Venue: Grand Hyatt - Cabin John/Arlington
Organizers: American Society of Adaptation Professionals (ASAP)

Climate Risk Informed Decision Analysis (CRIDA) Launch Event

CRIDA is a newly published methodology for addressing deep uncertainties within water resources management planning and decision making. The CRIDA guidance manual was launched in late October 2018 as a co-publication between UNESCO and the International Center for Integrated Water Resources Management (ICIWaRM), a UNESCO center in the USA.

Deltares, AGWA, the Netherlands Environment and Infrastructure Ministry, the World Bank, and many others have led the development of CRIDA over the years. CRIDA has been implemented in more than a dozen countries, from small scale water utility projects to national water management policy and transboundary flood control issues.

During this event hosted by Millennium Challenge Corporation, participants will hear from CRIDA's authors as well as institutions and individuals with experience implementing CRIDA through real world case studies.

Space is limited at the venue. Registration is required for in-person attendance and encouraged remote participation. Click here to register.

When: Wednesday, 12 December; 14:00-15:00
Venue: 7th floor Public Conference Room C
Millennium Challenge Corporation; 1099 14th Street Northwest, Washington, DC
Organizers: AGWA, ICIWaRM

Science to Action: Addressing Gaps in Access to Climate Science for Decision-Making (Posters)

Are our climate science-based decision tools reaching people, and are they having an impact? Scientists are working with stakeholders to develop resources that support and inform decision-makers preparing for the impacts of climate change, and are increasingly doing a better job of ensuring their products are useful and usable. However, end users still routinely report that the decision support landscape is overcrowded and confusing. Communities also face capacity, funding and communication barriers that further inhibit their use of science-based resources. This session will explore attempts to bridge the divide between decision-makers and scientific information, and invite discussion of both successes and challenges in facilitating connections between them. We will explore critical questions like: who has access to our science-based decision tools, how useful are they, and how do we better evaluate them going forward? Experiences from any scientific field across the AGU community that have addressed similar questions are welcome.

When: Wednesday, 12 December; 13:40-18:00
Venue: Walter E Washington Convention Center - Hall A-C (Poster Hall)
Organizers: American Society of Adaptation Professionals (ASAP); US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP); American Geophysical Union (AGU)

Young Professionals Happy Hour

Together with the Wilson Center China Environment Forum, AGWA is organizing a short happy hour gathering to bring together young professionals interested or working in the water and climate adaptation fields. This is an open event and you do not need to be taking part in the AGU Fall Meeting to join in. Drinks will be at the guests' own expense.

When: Wednesday, 12 December; 18:00-19:00
Venue: Penn Social; 801 E St. NW, Washington, DC
Organizers: AGWA, Wilson Center China Environment Forum

Thursday, 13 Dec.

How Can Science Inform Water Policy? A Panel and Dialogue

Identifying the scientific questions, and sharing and communicating the scientific results that inform policy is challenging for many reasons. In the specific case of water policy, the complexity of the range of topics involved, their geographic diversity, range of scales, the potential impacts to people and the environment, and the vast number of involved parties in the public and private sectors makes reliable scientific information an important part of the policy- and decision-making landscape. This forum, presented by the AGU Water and Society Technical Committee and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Water Science and Technology Board, will provide a space for active dialogue among scientists and decision-makers. A moderator-led panel of experts will discuss top water science policy issues and barriers to incorporating science into policy.

Registration is required to attend. Click here to register.

When: Thursday, 13 December; 15:30-17:00
National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine - Keck Center
E Street Conference Room
500 Fifth St NW
Washington, DC 20001
Organizers: AGU and The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

Friday, 14 Dec.

Science to Action: How Hydrologists and Residents Can Work Together to Reduce the Impact of Flooding

Researchers estimate 41 million US citizens are at risk from flooding, and by 2050 more than 60 million may be vulnerable to devastating 1% annual floods. Flood disasters generated by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria in 2017 generated approximately $265 million in damages, 198 deaths, and over 70,000 people displaced. In the wake of these recent disasters, this session encourages critical reflection on how scientists and engineers engage with residents to communicate the science of flooding, including hydrologic, socio-economic, and ecological dimensions. Central to this engagement is developing a level of scientific literacy that allows residents to interact with local government and federal agencies to shape and act on flood mitigation polices and practices. Submissions that present strategies, tools, or case studies of collaborative projects in which scientists have worked with residents to advance local priorities, conduct risk evaluations, or identify sustainable solutions to historical and future flooding are encouraged.

When: Friday, 14 December; 08:00-10:00
Venue: Marriott Marquis - Marquis 3-4
Organizers: Monmouth University; AGU; USGS; Flood Forum USA

Geoscience Impact in a Complex World: Successful Collaboration with Social Scientists

Decision making, whether by government officials, business executives, or nonprofit administrators, is a complex human endeavor, operating on scales from local to global. The impact of geoscience information on decisions depends on both the relevance of the analysis to the problem at hand, and on understanding and integrating the complex societal and behavioral factors involved in decisions.

This session will explore successful and unsuccessful collaborations between geoscientists and social scientists, detailing efforts to ensure that relevant interdisciplinary information would be appropriately incorporated in decision-making processes. Each presentation focuses on a particular problem or class of problems, and the approaches used by researchers and organizations in addressing the issue. Speakers will describe the challenges and methods used to bridge the natural and social science disciplines, including lessons for increasing the impact of geosciences on decisions. The session will conclude with an extended discussion among the panelists, with audience participation.

When: Friday, 14 December; 10:20-12:20
Venue: Convention Ctr - 202A
Organizers: International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA); National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC)