The buildup of greenhouse gases (GHG) that affect the earth’s climate are increasing at rates not previously anticipated. New environmental policies must address a range of issues including GHG emission targets, policies to price carbon, the implementation of new technologies to reduce emissions, and strategies to adapt to climate change. Quantitative information, based on the likelihood and consequences of climate change, is required to guide the development of these policies. Tetra Tech Research & Development Group efforts have focused on providing sound scientific approaches and practical solutions to address the potential effects of climate change and mitigation measures.
Climate change can stress natural ecosystems and human infrastructure, through gradual changes in temperature and precipitation patterns over decadal time scales, and through increased occurrence of extreme events such as floods, hurricanes, and droughts. We have performed a variety of climate change impact assessments, where the work is focused on understanding the scale of impacts based on future climate model projections, as well as helping devise adaptation strategies to manage these impacts. These studies build on published climate model projections of temperature and precipitation, integrated with different models for representing watershed hydrology and water quality.
Mitigation actions are recognized as an important feature in the effort to reduce the risks of climate change. A key question is how climate mitigation policy can be aligned with sustainable development policies. Tetra Tech has developed a set of simulation models and analytical tools to assess the environmental effects of the transition to alternative fuel sources that are less carbon intensive. Tetra Tech developed and applied methodologies to evaluate potential human health risks from the pipelines and associated facilities designed to capture carbon from existing coal-fired power plants, and new IGCC or oxy-fuel plants and the wells for geologic carbon sequestration or EOR operations.