Assessing the impact of physically realized hydro-climate extremes on water supply
This scoping proposal seeks to develop a detailed collaborative experiment to advance our understanding of the impacts of extreme hydro-climate events on water management of Reclamation's reservoirs. A particular focus will be the roles of climate variability versus long-term trends in producing extreme events. We plan to leverage the joint expertise/interests at the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU), the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), and possibly elsewhere, to investigate atmospheric/climate drivers of hydrologic and land surface processes during drought periods and/or wet (i.e. pluvial) periods to understand the likelihood of acute or prolonged extremes.
This scoping proposal will fund a series of meetings between Reclamation staff and possible collaborators with expertise in atmospheric science and hydrology. The goal of these meetings will be 1) to identify and refine the pertinent science questions and specific strategy that will bring state-of-the-art research in atmospheric science and hydrology to water management applications, 2) to identify key collaborators, and 3) to develop a detailed research proposal for the FY2021 S&T proposal cycle.
The proposed meeting discussions will generally focus on hydro-climate extremes, mainly drought but also pluvials for implications to dam safety, and would facilitate addressing important management decisions for all Reclamation regions. Some potential questions have already been identified, including: 1) whether the drought of the past two decades in the Colorado River basin is part of a longer term regional aridification or if it is instead a standalone drought event from which recovery to a wetter state is expected (Barsugli et al., 2018); 2) how will projected changes in the sequencing of warm/dry events impact the reliability of water delivery; 3) can we gain insights from large-ensemble physically-based projections of (e.g. CESM Large Ense
Need and Benefit
There is great interest in continuing to build on previous work distinguishing internal climate variability from long term change and understanding uncertainties in various aspects of climate modeling, downscaling, ensemble generation, and impacts to water management. This scoping proposal seeks to investigate atmospheric/climate drivers of hydrologic and land surface processes during extreme drought periods and/or wet (i.e. pluvial) periods to understand the likelihood of acute or prolonged extremes.
Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.
Bureau of Reclamation Review
The following documents were reviewed by experts in fields relating to this project's study and findings. The results were determined to be achieved using valid means.
Characterizing Snowfall Events across the Western US to Inform Water Resources Management (final, PDF, 1.5MB)
By Marketa McGuire and Katie Holman
Report completed on February 01, 2021