Investigating the potential of cloud seeding to enhance precipitation in the East River Basin of Colorado

Project ID: 22068
Principal Investigator: Lindsay Bearup
Research Topic: Agriculture Water Supplies
Funded Fiscal Years: 2022, 2023 and 2024
Keywords: None

Research Question

The goal of this research is to address the overarching question "What is the potential impact of cloud seeding on precipitation in the East River Basin?"

Using a combination of high-resolution modeling and available observations, this work aims to investigate two research questions to evaluate these hypotheses focusing on the East River Basin in Colorado as a test site:
1. Based upon current typical atmospheric conditions and those projected in a future climate scenario, how often do clouds amenable to seeding occur and what are the characteristics of clouds when such cloud-seeding opportunities occur?
2. What is the potential enhancement of seasonal precipitation volumes associated with cloud-seeding activity?
The project approach will rely upon high-resolution computer model simulations, constrained and/or evaluated against available observations and historical data, to address the research questions.
The expected outcomes of this work are a model-based quantification of cloud seeding opportunities across the Colorado Headwaters region and the potential impacts of cloud seeding on the precipitation in the East River Basin, as well as a demonstration of a model-based framework that can be used to study the impacts of cloud seeding and can be transferable for use in other water basins. Moreover, these results will create a model-based dataset for assessing the impacts of cloud seeding on streamflow, which is the ultimate goal for many cloud-seeding programs. Specifically, the simulated precipitation enhancement volumes over a winter season can be used in future work as forcing for the WRF-Hydro hydrological model to assess impacts of cloud seeding on streamflow volumes.

Need and Benefit

This proposal directly addresses the SSIP need through the exploration and development of tools to evaluate the effectiveness of cloud seeding and optimal times to seed. Ken Nowak, the S&T Program Contact for Developing Water Supplies, advised the early stages of this proposal and connected team members. Yuliana Porras-Mendoza, the research coordinator for Agricultural and Municipal Water Supplies, was also notified of the proposed project.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

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Last Updated: 6/22/20