P2.3 Trends in convection over the central United States

Monday, 11 October 2010
Grand Mesa Ballroom ABC (Hyatt Regency Tech Center)
Victor A. Gensini, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL; and J. M. Laflin

It is well known that our earth's climate is changing; however, the specific impacts of climate change on weather patterns are not well understood. One issue of particular importance is how precipitation will change, since the availability of fresh water is a worldwide concern. Previous studies have addressed the overall trend in precipitation as temperatures increase, but it may be the character of precipitation that will most dramatically affect water resources. Light, stratiform rainfall is beneficial to agriculture, while convective precipitation can cause detrimental run-off and can be potentially hazardous if conducive to flash flooding. In addition, a change in the amount of severe convective weather that occurs has the potential to greatly impact society, due to the amount of damage that severe convective storms can cause.

For these reasons, this study seeks to identify trends in convective activity by assessing convective precipitation, convective available potential energy (CAPE), convective inhibition (CIN), and a combination of CAPE and deep layer shear in the central United States over the last 30 years. Convective precipitation is approximated by the number of hours exceeding a specific rainfall rate threshold, while CAPE, CIN, and shear data are obtained from the North American Regional Reanalysis. These data are split into northern and southern regions, so that trends can be identified throughout the whole domain and compared to trends identified in both segments. Once identified, these trends can then be compared to temperature changes in order to help predict the future of convective activity in a warming climate.

- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner