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Title: Probable Maximum Precipitation in the U.S. Pacific Northwest in a Changing Climate

Abstract

The safety of large and aging water infrastructures is gaining attention in water management given the accelerated rate of change in landscape, climate and society. In current engineering practice, such safety is ensured by the design of infrastructure for the Probable Maximum Precipitation (PMP). Recently, several physics-based numerical modeling approaches have been proposed to modernize the conventional and ad hoc PMP estimation approach. However, the underlying physics has not been investigated and thus differing PMP estimates are obtained without clarity on their interpretation. In this study, we present a hybrid approach that takes advantage of both traditional engineering wisdom and modern climate science to estimate PMP for current and future climate conditions. The traditional PMP approach is improved and applied to outputs from an ensemble of five CMIP5 models. This hybrid approach is applied in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) to produce ensemble PMP estimation for the historical (1970-2016) and future (2050-2099) time periods. The new historical PMP estimates are verified by comparing them with the traditional estimates. PMP in the PNW will increase by 50% of the current level by 2099 under the RCP8.5 scenario. Most of the increase is caused by warming, which mainly affects moisture availability, with minormore » contributions from changes in storm efficiency in the future. Moist track change tends to reduce the future PMP. Compared with extreme precipitation, ensemble PMP exhibits higher internal variation. Thus high-quality data of both precipitation and related meteorological fields (temperature, wind fields) are required to reduce uncertainties in the ensemble PMP estimates.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2]
  1. Univ. of Washington, Seattle, WA (United States). Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering
  2. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States). Atmospheric Science and Global Change Div. (ASGC)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1439698
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1410356
Report Number(s):
[PNNL-SA-126184]
[Journal ID: ISSN 0043-1397; KP1703010]
Grant/Contract Number:  
[AC05-76RL01830]
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Water Resources Research
Additional Journal Information:
[ Journal Volume: 53; Journal Issue: 11]; Journal ID: ISSN 0043-1397
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union (AGU)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; Extreme storms; infrastructure; climate change; probable maximum precipitaion

Citation Formats

Chen, Xiaodong, Hossain, Faisal, and Leung, L. Ruby. Probable Maximum Precipitation in the U.S. Pacific Northwest in a Changing Climate. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1002/2017WR021094.
Chen, Xiaodong, Hossain, Faisal, & Leung, L. Ruby. Probable Maximum Precipitation in the U.S. Pacific Northwest in a Changing Climate. United States. doi:10.1002/2017WR021094.
Chen, Xiaodong, Hossain, Faisal, and Leung, L. Ruby. Fri . "Probable Maximum Precipitation in the U.S. Pacific Northwest in a Changing Climate". United States. doi:10.1002/2017WR021094. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1439698.
@article{osti_1439698,
title = {Probable Maximum Precipitation in the U.S. Pacific Northwest in a Changing Climate},
author = {Chen, Xiaodong and Hossain, Faisal and Leung, L. Ruby},
abstractNote = {The safety of large and aging water infrastructures is gaining attention in water management given the accelerated rate of change in landscape, climate and society. In current engineering practice, such safety is ensured by the design of infrastructure for the Probable Maximum Precipitation (PMP). Recently, several physics-based numerical modeling approaches have been proposed to modernize the conventional and ad hoc PMP estimation approach. However, the underlying physics has not been investigated and thus differing PMP estimates are obtained without clarity on their interpretation. In this study, we present a hybrid approach that takes advantage of both traditional engineering wisdom and modern climate science to estimate PMP for current and future climate conditions. The traditional PMP approach is improved and applied to outputs from an ensemble of five CMIP5 models. This hybrid approach is applied in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) to produce ensemble PMP estimation for the historical (1970-2016) and future (2050-2099) time periods. The new historical PMP estimates are verified by comparing them with the traditional estimates. PMP in the PNW will increase by 50% of the current level by 2099 under the RCP8.5 scenario. Most of the increase is caused by warming, which mainly affects moisture availability, with minor contributions from changes in storm efficiency in the future. Moist track change tends to reduce the future PMP. Compared with extreme precipitation, ensemble PMP exhibits higher internal variation. Thus high-quality data of both precipitation and related meteorological fields (temperature, wind fields) are required to reduce uncertainties in the ensemble PMP estimates.},
doi = {10.1002/2017WR021094},
journal = {Water Resources Research},
number = [11],
volume = [53],
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {11}
}

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