Some of the most interesting scientific and societal questions related to climate change have to do with how extreme events will change. More frequent and intense heat waves have consequences for public health, and droughts and floods pose major challenges to water supply and emergency management.
In recent years, we have undertaken a major project to understand changes in precipitation extremes over California. To date, this effort has involved:
- Model experiments to assess the effects of warming on California snowpack during very dry and very wet periods
- Statistical analysis of a large ensemble of global climate model simulations to assess the change in frequency of certain extreme event
- The development of techniques to downscale global climate model projections of atmospheric rivers, the long, narrow bands of water vapor transport that are responsible for most of California’s major precipitation events