Integrated modeling to address the impacts of climate change and human decision making in the Rio Grande/Bravo basin

Authors: Sophie Plassin*, University of Oklahoma, Kellie B. Vaché, Oregon State University, Stephanie Paladino, University of Oklahoma, Kyndra Hanson, University of Oklahoma, Jack R. Friedman, University of Oklahoma, Jennifer Koch, University of Oklahoma
Topics: Spatial Analysis & Modeling, Water Resources and Hydrology, Arid Regions
Keywords: Agent-Based Model, Coupled Human-Natural System, Climate change, Human decision-making, Rio Grande/Bravo basin
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Balcony K, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Improving the understanding and representation of social processes in the modeling of Coupled Human-Natural Systems is important to better capture the interplay between social and ecological dynamics. However, modeling management of a common pool resource such as water in a changing climate poses certain challenges, among others, how to incorporate local perceptions and adaptations of a diversity of actors. The purpose of this study is to build a spatially explicit Agent-Based Model that represents water resources and human interactions through an interdisciplinary collaboration, and assesses the effects of climate change and alternative management strategies over a long time period. We developed the model for the Rio Grande/Bravo basin, a transboundary, water-scarce basin, shared by the U.S. and Mexico. We used the spatio-temporal and integrated modeling framework ENVISION, composed of a hydrologic model, a land-use model and a multi-agent modeling sub-system. The construction of the different sub-models relies on the integration of theories and empirical data from different disciplines (anthropology, geography and hydrology). The model simulates distinct water and land management strategies reflecting the diversity of human perceptions and local management practices identified from qualitative interviews with stakeholders. The simulation results help to understand how water and land management strategies may mitigate the impacts of climate change on water resources in the Rio Grande/Bravo basin. The findings emphasize the benefits of coupling biophysical and empirical agent-based models to represent complex, coupled human natural systems and to assess the outcomes of a diversity of management decisions.

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