Toward Improving Predictability of Extreme Hydrometeorological Events: the Use of Multi-scale Climate Modeling in the Northern High Plains

Thursday, 18 December 2014: 3:10 PM
Francisco Munoz-Arriola1, Jose Torres-Alavez1, Azar Mohamad Abadi1 and Robert L Walko2, (1)University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE, United States, (2)University of Miami, Miami, FL, United States
Our goal is to investigate possible sources of predictability of hydrometeorological extreme events in the Northern High Plains. Hydrometeorological extreme events are considered the most costly natural phenomena. Water deficits and surpluses highlight how the water-climate interdependence becomes crucial in areas where single activities drive economies such as Agriculture in the NHP. Nonetheless we recognize the Water-Climate interdependence and the regulatory role that human activities play, we still grapple to identify what sources of predictability could be added to flood and drought forecasts. To identify the benefit of multi-scale climate modeling and the role of initial conditions on flood and drought predictability on the NHP, we use the Ocean Land Atmospheric Model (OLAM). OLAM is characterized by a dynamic core with a global geodesic grid with hexagonal (and variably refined) mesh cells and a finite volume discretization of the full compressible Navier Stokes equations, a cut-grid cell method for topography (that reduces error in computational gradient computation and anomalous vertical dispersion). Our hypothesis is that wet conditions will drive OLAM’s simulations of precipitation to wetter conditions affecting both flood forecast and drought forecast. To test this hypothesis we simulate precipitation during identified historical flood events followed by drought events in the NHP (i.e. 2011-2012 years). We initialized OLAM with CFS-data 1-10 days previous to a flooding event (as initial conditions) to explore (1) short-term and high-resolution and (2) long-term and coarse-resolution simulations of flood and drought events, respectively. While floods are assessed during a maximum of 15-days refined-mesh simulations, drought is evaluated during the following 15 months. Simulated precipitation will be compared with the Sub-continental Observation Dataset, a gridded 1/16th degree resolution data obtained from climatological stations in Canada, US, and Mexico. This in-progress research will ultimately contribute to integrate OLAM and VIC models and improve predictability of extreme hydrometeorological events.