Increase in the U.S. Northeast Extreme Precipitation: Past, Present, and Future

Hosts: Bor-Ting Jong and Tom Delworth

Extreme precipitation, often accompanied by flooding, can impose significant threat on lives and properties, such as the devastating flooding over the U.S. Northeast on September 1st 2021 caused by the record-breaking heavy rainfall from the hurricane Ida's remnants. Studies have shown that the occurrence of extreme precipitation and mean seasonal precipitation over the Northeast in the summer and fall seasons have significantly increased in the past decades, based on historical observations. Also, anthropogenic climate change is expected to enhance the occurrence and intensity of extreme precipitation over the Northeast in the future. However, there are considerable uncertainties in how exactly these extreme events will change over the Northeast and how soil moisture, a key variable to the occurrences of drought and flooding, will change given the increasing 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 precipitation and soil moisture over the U.S. Northeast in the summer and fall seasons, Over the course of the project, the intern will work with the project mentors to (i) gain knowledge of the Northeast precipitation and its relationship with large-scale atmospheric circulations as well as land surface processes, (ii) develop codes to calculate the GFDL model output and compare with observations, and (iii) learn how to effectively communicate sciences regarding climate change. The project is adaptable depending on the intern’s background and interest.

The ideal intern should have an interest in climate sciences, physics, computer sciences, or math. Familiarity and experience with programming and data analysis, such as with Python, Matlab, or comparable languages and software packages, will be helpful. The project could be done virtually.