Get a CLEW!

Andrew Wolfsberg
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Cafe Scientifique New Mexico

Description

Andy Wolfsberg is a hydrologist that creates computer models of the interactions among climate, energy, water, and land (CLEW).  He spoke about  how the dependence of energy on water and water on energy is becoming increasingly important and challenging here in the west where energy needs continue to rise and water availability is decreasing. With changing climate, it will be warmer and drier causing greater need for energy to cool us and less water to do so. He presented clear strategies on how to get a CLEW at the local, national, and global levels that we c
an all participate in to make a difference.Teens were able to play with Andy’s water modeler to solve a very real problem in New Mexico and get a CLEW. With few rivers and lakes, New Mexico is very dry. A coal fired power plant in the northern part of the state depends on a river for its cooling towers. There are endangered trout that live in a lake upstream from the power plant, thus federal law requires that the water level in the lake not drop below a certain point.

With few rivers and lakes, New Mexico is very dry. A coal fired power plant in the northern part of the state depends on a river for its cooling towers. There are endangered trout that live in a lake upstream from the power plant, thus federal law requires that the water level in the lake not drop below a certain point. The river also provides irrigation for an Indian Reservation. They are allowed to draw down water before the power plant for agriculture. Finally, a governmental agreement dictates that New Mexico is required to allow a certain amount of water in the river to pass through to Arizona. Teens had to manipulate rainfall, draw downs by the different entities, and other variables to see how difficult it is during normal years to meet all these water requirements and nearly impossible in dry years.

 

Watch Andy Wolfsberg’s interview with a Teen Leader after his café.

Hands on Activity

Teens were able to play with Andy’s water modeler to solve a very real problem in New Mexico and get a CLEW.