Deciphering the expression of climate change within the Lower Colorado River basin by stochastic simulation of convective rainfall

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Video in TIB AV-Portal: Deciphering the expression of climate change within the Lower Colorado River basin by stochastic simulation of convective rainfall

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Deciphering the expression of climate change within the Lower Colorado River basin by stochastic simulation of convective rainfall
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CC Attribution 3.0 Unported:
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2017
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English

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Abstract
In drylands, convective rainstorms typically control runoff, streamflow, water supply and flood risk to human populations, and ecological water availability at multiple spatial scales. Since drainage basin water balance is sensitive to climate, it is important to improve characterization of convective rainstorms in a manner that enables statistical assessment of rainfall at high spatial and temporal resolution, and the prediction of plausible manifestations of climate change. Here we present a simple rainstorm generator, STORM, for convective storm simulation. It was created using data from a rain gauge network in one dryland drainage basin, but is applicable anywhere. We employ STORM to assess watershed rainfall under climate change simulations that reflect differences in wetness/storminess, and thus provide insight into observed or projected regional hydrologic trends. Our analysis documents historical, regional climate change manifesting as a multidecadal decline in rainfall intensity, which we suggest has negatively impacted ephemeral runoff in the Lower Colorado River basin, but has not contributed substantially to regional negative streamflow trends.
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Impact event Storm
rainstorms are the main driver of hydrology at the land
surface but we don't know that much about how convective rainstorms
affect the response of watersheds is a general problem
and in trying to predict how climate change will impact rainstorms around the world and the main problem is that these convective rainstorms happened but
over the course of a few minutes or maybe an hour whereas most of
the outputs that come from global climate models or even in a global datasets tend to be daily or even monthly and so we we can't really capture the effect of these sorts of rainstorms and in particular how they impact watersheds so we set out to develop a model that does this and utilizing a dataset that was very rich in information at the per minute
basis so we apply this model
to buy a watershed in southeastern
Arizona and with the United States
called Walnut Gulch which have been intensively studied for many many decades and in ranching context and and it has the densest rain gage network in the
world so it was a very suitable place to develop the model and also to test within that region there's a
general observation and and this is within the lower Colorado river basin is general observation that there's been a decline in runoff within the rivers that drain into
the Colorado river and people have wondered for a while why do we see this decline so we
1st looked at the data and we found a very surprising result which was in long-term decrease
in rainfall intensity and within the space and this means that each rainstorm that arrives is delivering rainfall at a lower rates and this was a really surprising
result but it indicated how the climate might be changing in that environment where there's sort of a drying of the atmosphere and this relates to a a broader scientific issue and that's called the classes copper on relations this basically says that for each degrees Celsius
of warming in the atmosphere we should get 7 per cent more moisture in the atmosphere because
that's what you're holding capacity in the atmosphere increases with temperature that's of
thermodynamic concept but in drilon environments like in southeastern Arizona there really isn't
in local supply of moisture to I'm satisfied the evaporative demand associated
with the warming that we have observed within that region so in fact you have to import that moisture from elsewhere and it doesn't appear to be arriving at the right rates to generate more intense precipitation so
convective rainfall is not unique to Arizona or the Southwestern United States even in the UK there is convective rainfall that contributes to flooding across this country and it's a it's a
subject of great study around here across the world we see convective rainfall
and it tends to yield the strongest response in runoff and flooding in and around the world so it's really important that we get a better handle on these sorts of storms and their impact on watersheds
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