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Examining the Impact of Climate Change upon Severe Convective Storms in the United States through High-Resolution Dynamical Downscaling

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Tuesday, 4 November 2014
Capitol Ballroom AB (Madison Concourse Hotel)
Kimberly Hoogewind, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN; and J. Trapp and M. E. Baldwin

There is growing evidence from climate model projections that large-scale environmental conditions favorable for severe thunderstorms may increase in frequency in the future due to anthropogenic climate change. The resolution of global circulation models (GCMs), though, remain much too coarse to adequately represent the scales at which severe convective weather phenomena occur, including processes that may lead to the initiation of deep convection. With the advancement of computing resources, however, it has now become feasible to explicitly represent convective storms within high-resolution simulations produced by dynamically downscaling climate model output. This work seeks to produce an ensemble of convection-allowing, dynamically downscaled WRF simulations of historical and future climate regimes in the continental U.S. using GCM data from CMIP5. Model proxy quantities will be used to provide an objective estimate of the occurrence of simulated severe weather hazards such as large hail, damaging wind, and tornadoes, and results will provide an assessment of how climate change may impact the spatiotemporal distribution of severe convective storms in the future.