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Climate Change and Energy in California


April 7th, 2008 2:30 – 5 p.m.


Hearing Room A California Energy Commission 1516 9th St. Sacramento, CA

You are cordially invited to an informal seminar hosted by the California Energy Commission’s Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) climate change research subprogram on the effects of climate change on energy consumption and production in California. A primary focus of the PIER climate change research subprogram is to determine future challenges to supplying California’s growing energy demands. The PIER climate change program is funding projects consistent with this need through collaborations with universities, national labs, and other federal and state agencies. This seminar will describe the research activities of PIER-funded researchers from U.C. Davis, U.C. Berkeley, U.C. San Diego, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Gary Freeman from Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) will also discuss the likely impacts of climate change for both hydro operations and generation production for the PG&E units. The topics will range from describing future climate change scenarios in California, to the potential effects of these scenarios to energy demand and hydropower supply. This seminar is open to the public and will provide California citizens and decision makers with current information on emerging improvements in climate and hydrologic modeling that will help protect the state’s electricity resources.

2:30 – 2:40 p.m.

Introductions Kelly Birkinshaw or Guido Franco, California Energy Commission, PIER

2:40 – 3 p.m.

Climate Change Scenarios for California Dan Cayan - Division, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego


Early symptoms of greenhouse warming have been noticed in western North America, but so far the warming has been quite modest and mostly confined to winter and spring. However, the latest generation of global climate model (GCM) projections, used in the recent IPCC Fourth Assessment, indicate that considerably more warming could be in store and will likely envelope all seasons, particularly in summer. While the GCM’s are calculated on coarse grid cells which are too large to reveal the level of detail needed for California’s complex terrain, a set of downscaling techniques can be used to

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