Regional models expect drier, stormier western United States

Authors

  • Colin Schultz


Abstract

As American southwestern states struggle against ongoing drought and the northwest braces for a projected shift from a snow- to a rain-dominated hydrological system, climate researchers strive to provide precipitation projections that are fine-grained enough to be of value to municipal water managers. Estimates derived from large general circulation models show that in a warming world, water availability in the western United States will be increasingly dictated by extreme events. However, such large models tend to lack necessary detail for the small-scale interactions and topographic influences that dominate daily changes in local precipitation. To convert the broad predictions of global models into practical predictions, Dominguez et al. use an ensemble of regional models, set to fit within the projections of general circulation models, to estimate future winter average and extreme precipitation for the western United States.

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