92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Tuesday, 24 January 2012
Spatiotemporal Variability of Extreme Convective Wind Events
Hall E (New Orleans Convention Center )
Franklin T. Lombardo, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD; and A. R. Thibault
Manuscript (984.9 kB)

Poster PDF (1.4 MB)

The application of regional and global climate models to assess extreme convective wind speeds has been difficult if near impossible partially due to their inability to resolve the scales and processes typically associated with extreme winds. This inability of models to resolve extreme wind events (e.g., thunderstorms and tornadoes) is problematic as these events cause the majority of economic losses due to natural hazards in the United States. Climate change studies have raised the question of whether a changing climate will impact the frequency and intensity of all meteorological extremes, including extreme winds. With an growing population increasing vulnerability, it is important to assess the risk to the public from these extreme events.

A comprehensive database of observed extreme convective wind events has been assembled from a number of observing platforms such as the Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS) and higher resolution mesonets (i.e., West Texas, Oklahoma). This database, coupled with a database of known, large-scale, straight line wind events (i.e., derechos) will be used to assess a climatology of extreme convective wind events across the United States. This climatology will then be compared with environmental (e.g., CAPE, Shear) and spatiotemporal (e.g., latitude/longitude, date/time) parameters that are relevant to both extreme wind characteristics and can be identified through regional and global climate models and hence may be affected by climate change. An assessment of whether both environmental and spatiotemporal parameters related to extreme wind events show significant trends over either space and/or time and if the existence of possible trends can be related to the effects of climate change will be carried out.

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