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Observed and Predicted Changes in the Frequency of Extreme PWV Events and the Potential Societal Implications

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Tuesday, 4 November 2014
Capitol Ballroom AB (Madison Concourse Hotel)
Jacola A. Roman, CIMSS/Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI; and R. Knuteson, S. A. Ackerman, and H. Revercomb

The IPCC 5th Assessment found that since the 1950s changes in extreme weather events have been observed and the predicted warming of 1oC will increase the risk of extreme events such as heat waves, droughts, and floods. Recent climate-related extremes, like floods, have shown the vulnerability and susceptibility society has to these extreme weather events, through impacts such as disruption of food production, water supply, health, and damage of infrastructure.

This paper will examine two case studies for extreme flooding. The first is the Boulder, CO flooding incident in September 2013 and the second is the recent Midwest flooding during the summer of 2014. The observed change in the frequency of extreme PWV events will be calculated by using the 11-year PWV record from the NASA Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS), which provides daily global coverage. Furthermore, Global Climate Model (GCM) output will be utilized to illustrate the long-range predicted increase in extreme PWV events. From the predicted increase, an estimate of the societal implications will be made for the two case study regions.