556 Assessing Climate Change Impacts for Military Installations in the Southwest United States During the Warm Season

Thursday, 10 January 2013
Exhibit Hall 3 (Austin Convention Center)
Hsin-I Chang, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ; and C. Castro and M. Leuthold

Arid and semi-arid regions are experiencing some of the most adverse impacts of climate change with increased heat waves, droughts, and extreme weather. These events will likely exacerbate socioeconomic and political instabilities in regions where the United States has vital strategic interests and ongoing military operations. The Southwest U.S. is strategically important in that it houses some of the most spatially expansive and important military installations in the country. The majority of severe weather events in the Southwest occur in association with the North American monsoon system (NAMS), and current observational record has shown a ‘wet gets wetter and dry gets drier' global monsoon precipitation trend. We seek to evaluate the warm season extreme weather projection in the Southwest U.S., and how the extremes can affect Department of Defense (DoD) military facilities in that region.

A baseline methodology is being developed to select extreme warm season weather events based on historical sounding data and moisture surge observations from Gulf of California. Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP)-type high resolution simulations will be performed for the extreme events identified from Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) model simulations initiated from IPCC GCM and NCAR Reanalysis data in both climate control and climate change periods. The magnitude in extreme event changes will be analyzed, and the synoptic forcing patterns of the future severe thunderstorms will provide a guide line to assess if the military installations in the Southwest will become more or less susceptible to severe weather in the future.

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