An Integrated Evaluation of the Simulated Hydroclimate System of the Continental US

A varied and growing group of users now require accurate climate projections, particularly high-resolution projections and projections incorporating meteorological and hydrologic extremes, for all manner of impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability assessments. There has recently been explosive growth in the number of regional climate datasets to address these needs, with varied accuracy in different metrics and incomplete validation.  However, with little guidance on how to choose among them, a usability gap continues to exist between their production and their use in addressing outstanding questions in climate science. Decision makers often have difficulty using these datasets as well, and have loudly called for "actionable science" and "co-production" of science: The core idea being that stakeholders and scientists should be engaged in a two-way exchange about each others' needs and capabilities.  These circumstances have arisen largely because no standardized procedure exists for validating regional climate datasets. The primary objective of this proposal is the development of a comprehensive regional hydroclimate data assessment capability focused on feature-specific metrics and stakeholder-relevant outcomes.  The secondary objective of this proposal is to leverage this assessment capability to improve our ability to predict these outcomes, by identifying the process-level drivers of outcome biases and evaluating the most appropriate and efficient ways to couple climate models, hydrologic models, and models of human impacts.

The key components of this proposal are as follows: (1) continuous outreach and engagement to ensure a focus on stakeholder needs, (2) development and accumulation of metrics associated with processes, features, and outcomes, (3) a software suite capable of directly evaluating the quality of regional climate and hydrological datasets, (4) production of high-quality regional climate and hydrological data that can be used for broader applications, including future projections, (5) model optimization and sensitivity experiments so as to maximize their capability to credibly compute hydroclimate metrics, (6) an assessment of uncertainty linking process-based representations, model coupling, and resolution to stakeholder-relevant outcomes and (7) sensitivity experiments to characterize the magnitude and scale of irrigation influences on the climate system.

This proposal incorporates broad coverage of the continental US (CONUS), along with four diverse case studies that include the Sacramento-San Joaquin watersheds, Colorado River headwaters, Susquehanna River and the Kissimmee River, where water management systems are complex and highly influenced by climatic variability at fine spatial and temporal scales.  A rich diversity of meteorological, hydrologic and anthropogenic features will be considered, including atmospheric rivers, mesoscale convective complexes, sea breeze, coastal storms, the North American monsoon, streamflow, flooding and water demand.  Focusing on the CONUS, and (to varying degrees) its diverse climatological regions, allows for a sufficiently compact region of study to support regional modeling at high spatial resolution.

Project Term: 
2016 to 2019

Publications:

A Trans-Disciplinary Review of Deep Learning Research and its Relevance for Water Resources Scientists
Accelerated Increase in the Arctic Tropospheric Warming Events Surpassing Stratospheric Warming Events During Winter
An Explanation for the Sensitivity of the Mean State of the Community Atmosphere Model to Horizontal Resolution on Aquaplanets
An Idealized Test of the Response of the Community Atmosphere Model to Near-Grid-Scale Forcing Across Hydrostatic Resolutions
Anthropogenic Warming Impacts on Today's Sierra Nevada Snowpack and Flood Risk
Assessing Mountains as Natural Reservoirs with a Multi-Metric Framework
California From Drought to Deluge
California's Drought of the Future: A Midcentury Recreation of the Exceptional Conditions of 2012-2017
Climate of the Weakly-Forced Yet High-Impact Convective Storms Throughout the Ohio River Valley and Mid-Atlantic United States
Contiguous US Summer Maximum Temperature and Heat Stress Trends in CRU and NOAA Climate Division Data Plus Comparisons to Reanalyses
Exploring a Variable-Resolution Approach for Simulating Regional Climate in the Rocky Mountain Region Using the VR-CESM
Future Projections of the Large-Scale Meteorology Associated with California Heat Waves in CMIP5 Models
Physical Understanding of the Tropical Cyclone Wind-Pressure Relationship
Physical Understanding of the Tropical Cyclone Wind-Pressure Relationship
Quantitative Attribution of Climate Effects on Hurricane Harvey’s Extreme Rainfall in Texas
Sensitivity of Mountain Hydroclimate Simulations in Variable-Resolution CESM to Microphysics and Horizontal Resolution
The Changing Character of the California Sierra Nevada as a Natural Reservoir
The Changing Character of Twenty-First-Century Precipitation over the Western United States in the Variable-Resolution CESM

Research Highlights:

Anthropogenic Warming Impacts on Today’s Sierra Nevada Snowpack and Flood Risk Highlight Presentation
Arctic Tropospheric Warming Events are Increasing, With Impacts to Extreme Weather Events Highlight
Assessing Mountains as Natural Reservoirs with a Multi‐Metric Framework Highlight Presentation
California's Extreme Swing in Extreme Climate Events Highlight
Climate of the Weakly-Forced Yet High-Impact Convective Storms Throughout the Ohio River Valley and Mid-Atlantic United States Highlight
Contiguous US Summer Maximum Temperature and Heat Stress Trends in CRU and NOAA Climate Division Data Plus Comparisons to Reanalyses Highlight
Exploring a Variable-Resolution Approach for Simulating Regional Climate in the Rocky Mountain Region Using the VR-CESM Highlight Presentation
High Tail Properties For Different Climate Models Highlight
Sensitivity of Mountain Hydroclimate Simulations in Variable-Resolution CESM to Microphysics and Horizontal Resolution Highlight Presentation
The Changing Character of the California Sierra Nevada as a Natural Reservoir Highlight Presentation
The Changing Character of Twenty-First-Century Precipitation over the Western United States in the Variable-Resolution CESM Highlight Presentation
Towards an Explanation for the Resolution Sensitivity of CAM Highlight Presentation
Tracking Stalled Storms Like Hurricane Harvey Highlight
Understanding Future Drought in California Highlight Presentation
Understanding the Sensitivity of the Mean State of the Community Atmosphere Model (CAM) to Horizontal Resolution Highlight
Using Central Pressure Deficit to Predict Hurricane Damage Highlight
When Bias Correction Goes Wrong Highlight Presentation