A Changing Climate in Sri Lanka: Shifts, Perceptions, and Potential Adaptive Actions
Jacobi, John Henry
Adaptation planners and water managers around the world are faced with the increasingly difficult challenge of allocating scarce water resources in a world of climate change and dynamic social pressures. Sri Lanka serves as a microcosm of these challenges and serves as the areas of study for this dissertation. To address the problem of how to distribute scare water resources, an interdisciplinary approach is needed. This dissertation examines the water landscape in Sri Lanka from both physical and social perspectives and integrates the two through the use of agent-based modeling. From the physical perspective, an easy-to-use drought monitoring tool is presented and shifts in spatial and temporal patterns of the Sri Lankan monsoons are examined. Analysis reveals that the timings of the monsoons have shifted over the past thirty years, with the spring monsoon starting later and the winter monsoon starting earlier. Next, Sri Lankan farmers’ perceptions of changes in the climate are compared against measured changes to reveal that perceptions of climate change do not always match the objective reality. Finally, agent-based modeling is used to evaluate the effect of a farmer’s decision model on the effectiveness of a seasonal forecasting program.