Biological and Environmental Research - Earth and Environmental System Sciences
Earth and Environmental System Modeling

A Modeling Examination of Cloud Seeding Conditions Under the Warmer Climate in Utah, USA

TitleA Modeling Examination of Cloud Seeding Conditions Under the Warmer Climate in Utah, USA
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
JournalAtmospheric Research
Volume248
Pages105239
Abstract / Summary

Assessment of how the wintertime cloud seeding conditions over Utah's mountains may change provides essential information for the state to work on increasing its snowpack in the warmer climate. In this study, data from the National Center for Atmospheric Research's high-resolution, convection-permitting Weather Research and Forecasting model are used to evaluate suitable conditions for wintertime cloud seeding over Utah's mountains, and to estimate future changes to these conditions under a pseudo-global warming scenario. While previous studies have examined historical cloud seeding conditions, this is the first study that explores the impact of future climate change on these conditions. Based on two atmospheric variables commonly used in cloud-seeding operations, i.e. average temperature from the surface to 1 km above ground level (−20 °C≤T≤−6 °C) and vertically integrated supercooled liquid water (SLW > 0.01 mm), Utah's mountains are suitable for seeding more than 20% of the time during winter. A greater rate of suitability exists in the northern and Uinta Mountains. In the warmer climate under a high-emissions scenario, these seeding conditions may wane as the percentage of precipitating clouds suitable for seeding, about 60% under current conditions, would decline to about 40% across the state with significance. This projected decrease is due to rising temperatures and a decreased frequency of precipitation events. These findings imply that climate warming will narrow the window of opportunity for winter cloud seeding operation in Utah.

URLhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosres.2020.105239
DOI10.1016/j.atmosres.2020.105239
Journal: Atmospheric Research
Year of Publication: 2021
Volume: 248
Pages: 105239
Publication Date: 01/2021

Assessment of how the wintertime cloud seeding conditions over Utah's mountains may change provides essential information for the state to work on increasing its snowpack in the warmer climate. In this study, data from the National Center for Atmospheric Research's high-resolution, convection-permitting Weather Research and Forecasting model are used to evaluate suitable conditions for wintertime cloud seeding over Utah's mountains, and to estimate future changes to these conditions under a pseudo-global warming scenario. While previous studies have examined historical cloud seeding conditions, this is the first study that explores the impact of future climate change on these conditions. Based on two atmospheric variables commonly used in cloud-seeding operations, i.e. average temperature from the surface to 1 km above ground level (−20 °C≤T≤−6 °C) and vertically integrated supercooled liquid water (SLW > 0.01 mm), Utah's mountains are suitable for seeding more than 20% of the time during winter. A greater rate of suitability exists in the northern and Uinta Mountains. In the warmer climate under a high-emissions scenario, these seeding conditions may wane as the percentage of precipitating clouds suitable for seeding, about 60% under current conditions, would decline to about 40% across the state with significance. This projected decrease is due to rising temperatures and a decreased frequency of precipitation events. These findings imply that climate warming will narrow the window of opportunity for winter cloud seeding operation in Utah.

DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosres.2020.105239
Citation:
Pokharel, B, S Wang, H Gu, M LaPlante, J Serago, R Gillies, J Meyer, S Beall, and K Ikeda.  2021.  "A Modeling Examination of Cloud Seeding Conditions Under the Warmer Climate in Utah, USA."  Atmospheric Research 248: 105239.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosres.2020.105239.