Changes in extreme rainfall across North America: past, present, and future

Hosts: Bor-Ting Jong and Thomas Delworth

Extreme rainfall and related flooding can impose significant threats to lives and property, such as the devastating flash flooding over the U.S. Northeast on September 1, 2021. This extreme event was caused by record-breaking heavy rainfall from the remnants of Hurricane Ida. Studies have shown that the occurrence of extreme rainfall has increased across much of the contiguous United States since the 20th century. Further, anthropogenic climate change is expected to enhance the occurrence and intensity of extreme rainfall in the future. However, there are considerable uncertainties in exactly how these extreme events will change on regional scales. Also, it is less known how soil moisture, a key variable related to the occurrences of drought and flooding, will change in the future given the greater precipitation and temperature.

This project aims to use the NOAA/GFDL SPEAR high-resolution global climate model to investigate the historical and future changes in extreme rainfall and soil moisture over North America. The project is adaptable depending on the intern’s background and interests. The ideal intern should have an interest in climate science, physics, computer science, and/or math. Note that it is not necessarily required that the candidate have prior experience in these areas.