Maria Rugenstein, a professor at Colorado State University, has been awarded funding for their climate projections project,’Constraining near-term U.S. hydroclimate and extreme-event projections with SST pattern storylines ”
This research project aims to address critical issues in climate change projections, particularly focusing on hydroclimate in the Southwest US. Recent findings reveal two key problems with widely used climate models (CMIP5/6): the inability to replicate observed sea surface temperature (SST) pattern changes and varying climate sensitivity. These issues impact the reliability of projections. The approach of this study involves quantifying model spread in Pacific SSTs affecting US precipitation, using new constraints based on SST trends and climate sensitivity, and applying these insights to the Colorado River Basin, with the goal of providing stakeholders with usable projections amid high uncertainty. Additionally, the project seeks to reduce uncertainty and engage with local stakeholders early in the research process.
This MAPP-funded work employs the SPEAR model and large initial condition ensembles to enhance the accuracy of U.S. hydroclimate projections. It addresses core problems in climate models and focuses on terrestrial precipitation, temperature extremes, and human infrastructure decisions, which align with CPO climate risk areas.