Print this article and put it on the desk of the senior administrators in your water monitoring agency. The arguments made here that climate observation networks offer a magnified return on investment all hold true for water monitoring as well. “Climate change is but one example of the need to make decisions under deep uncertainty. Developing new approaches to decision making that go beyond traditional point and probabilistic predictions is the focus of a new scientific undertaking. Developing adaptation pathways that will be robust under many possible futures will in part require observing systems that are designed with these needs in mind.” “The economic value of such a system at ~ $10 trillion dollars to the world economy in today’s value (known as “net present value” in economics using a 3% discount rate). In the simplest sense, this is the economic value of moving climate scientific understanding forward 15 to 20 years by using better observations, analysis, and modeling capabilities. The studies further estimated that if the world tripled its current economic investments in climate research (observations, analysis, modeling) to achieve such an advanced observing system, the return on investment would be ~ $50 for every $1 invested by society.”

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