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Title: Effects of climate change on probable maximum precipitation: A sensitivity study over the Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa River Basin

Probable maximum precipitation (PMP), defined as the largest rainfall depth that could physically occur under a series of adverse atmospheric conditions, has been an important design criterion for critical infrastructures such as dams and nuclear power plants. To understand how PMP may respond to projected future climate forcings, we used a physics-based numerical weather simulation model to estimate PMP across various durations and areas over the Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa (ACT) river basin in the southeastern United States. Six sets of Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model experiments driven by both reanalysis and global climate model projections, with a total of 120 storms, were conducted. The depth-area-duration relationship was derived for each set of WRF simulations and compared with the conventional PMP estimates. Here, our results showed that PMP driven by projected future climate forcings is higher than 1981-2010 baseline values by around 20% in the 2021-2050 near-future and 44% in the 2071-2100 far-future periods. The additional sensitivity simulations of background air temperature warming also showed an enhancement of PMP, suggesting that atmospheric warming could be one important factor controlling the increase in PMP. In light of the projected increase in precipitation extremes under a warming environment, the reasonableness and role of PMPmore » deserves more in-depth examination.« less
Authors:
 [1] ; ORCiD logo [2] ; ORCiD logo [3] ;  [3] ;  [4] ; ORCiD logo [2] ; ORCiD logo [5] ;  [6] ;  [7] ;  [8]
  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Climate Change Science Inst.; Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Computer Science and Mathematics Division; Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States). Bredesen Center
  2. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Climate Change Science Inst.; Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States). Bredesen Center; Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Environmental Sciences Division
  3. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Climate Change Science Inst.; Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Computer Science and Mathematics Division
  4. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Nuclear Security and Isotope Technology Division
  5. Forschungszentrum Julich (Germany). Inst. of Bio- and Geosciences, Agrosphere (IBG-3)
  6. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Climate Change Science Inst.; Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Environmental Sciences Division; RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, CA (United States)
  7. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Computational Sciences and Engineering Division
  8. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). National Center for Computational Sciences
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
AC05-00OR22725; 06818
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 122; Journal Issue: 9; Journal ID: ISSN 2169-897X
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23); USDOE Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) Program
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; Probable maximum precipitation; climate change; WRF; CFSR; ACT
OSTI Identifier:
1366376
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1402405