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McKelvey School of Engineering

2021 Kappe Lecturer - David A. Dzombak

Friday, October 22 | 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Virtual Event

Virtual Event
ZOOM Meeting ID: 928 8270 0139
Passcode: Fall2021

David A. Dzomback, Professor & Department Head
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Carnegie Mellon University

Climate Change Adaptation and Environmental Engineering: Evolving Practices and New Tools

Abstract: The climate is changing globally and across the U.S., with different types and extent of change in different regions. Observed changes include sustained deviation from long-term trends in atmospheric temperatures, water temperatures, precipitation amounts, drought duration, storm frequency, wind velocities, snow melt timing, flood frequency and characteristics, permafrost melting, and other phenomena. These changes are affecting civil and environmental infrastructure and leading to demand for modification of infrastructure designs and operations. New approaches are needed in infrastructure design and operation guidelines, codes, and procedures to account for changing climate conditions.

New tools are coming into use in infrastructure engineering for projection of changing climate conditions, especially downscaled global climate model (GCM) products. Depending on the type of engineering application and purpose of required future climate information, various climate model projections are being applied and utilized, with different temporal and spatial resolution, type of downscaled GCM products employed, and post-processing methods for calibration of the results to regional and local scale.

This talk will examine the need and challenge of climate change projection in particular locations, the scale at which infrastructure engineering projects take place. Evolving practices and tools will be presented, and demonstrated through some environmental engineering applications. The use of climate projection results from several different GCMs and downscaled products and from an ensemble of multiple GCMs will be explored in the context of the applications. The importance and utility of historical long-term observations for particular locations will also be examined. Opportunities to access, learn about, and exploit these new tools for environmental engineering will be discussed.

Bio: David Dzombak is the Hamerschlag University Professor and Head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. The emphasis of his research and teaching is on water quality engineering, water resource sustainability, and energy-environment issues. At Carnegie Mellon, he also has served as Associate Dean for Graduate and Faculty Affairs for the College of Engineering (2006-2010), and as Director of the Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research (2007-2013).

Dzombak has conducted research in aquatic chemistry; fate and transport of chemicals in water, soil, and sediment; water and wastewater treatment; in situ and ex situ soil and sediment treatment; industrial waste management; abandoned mine drainage remediation; climate change adaptation for infrastructure; water resource sustainability; energy and environment; and other topics. He has published numerous articles in engineering and science journals, and three books.

His professional service activity has included the National Academies Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability (2013-present); the National Academies Roundtable on Unconventional Hydrocarbon Development (2015-2019); the National Academies Water Science and Technology Board (2014-2019); the EPA Science Advisory Board (2002-2016); the DoD Strategic Environmental Research and Development Science Advisory Board (2013-2016); Associate Editor of Environmental Science & Technology (2005-2012); Editorial Board of Water Environment Research (1993-1998) and Ground Water (1991-1993); Chair, Board of Directors, AEESP Foundation (2012-2014); Board of Directors of the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (1996-1999); chair of committees for the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists, American Society of Civil Engineers, and Water Environment Federation; advisory committees for Allegheny County, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and numerous universities and organizations.


Event Type

Lectures & Presentations


McKelvey School of Engineering


Science & Technology



Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering
Event Contact

Daniel Giammar

Speaker Information

David A. Dzomback, Phd
Professor & Department Head
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Carnegie Mellon University

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