Assessing Climate Change Impacts for DoD installations in the Southwest United States During the Warm Season
Technical Report,01 Mar 2012,31 Mar 2017
University of Arizona Tucson United States
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The impact of changes in extreme weather during the North American monsoon are evaluated as they may impact Department of Defense DoD facilities in the Southwest U.S., with respect to the concerns of exceedance of infrastructural limits and operational capability. A new methodological technique to severe weather projection is developed using convective-permitting regional climate modeling. Severe weather event days during Southwest monsoon are objectively identified within global climate models based on dynamic and thermodynamic conditions. Changes in precipitation intensity and duration from the severe weather simulations are assessed at the DoD facility scale, with respect to operational weather watch and warning criteria. Significant long-term changes in the atmospheric conditions during Southwest monsoon have occurred over the past sixty years. Though there are fewer organized monsoon convections, convection associated precipitation is tending to be more intense. Particularly in southwestern Arizona, where many DoD assets are located, it appears to be a local hot spot where historic organized convective events are becoming more intense, specific in heavier rainfall and stronger downdraft winds. These changes are verified in observed precipitation. The resulted future changes are consistent with trends from the historical record, including identifying southwestern Arizona as a region of intensifying precipitation extremes.