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New Project Brings Engineering and Design Perspective to Snow and Rain Hazard Mitigation

snow on a rooftop

A new project funded by the Climate Program Office’s Modeling, Analysis, Predictions, and Projections (MAPP) Program will focus on the impact of extreme snow loads on building design amid climate change, aligning with NOAA’s partnership with the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) to prepare the nation for the impacts of a changing environment with climate-ready infrastructure. Brennan Bean of Utah State University is funded to work on this project with co-PI’s Dan McEvoy of the Desert Research Institute, Abbie Liel of the University of Colorado, Boulder, and Marc Maguire of the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Focusing on the potential increase in rain-on-snow (ROS) events due to climate change, the team will use the NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory’s SPEAR forecast system to simulate and predict extreme snow load scenarios. The study has the potential to provide the first-ever climate-change-informed design recommendations for ASCE building codes, ensuring the safety and resilience of structures in the face of evolving climate conditions.

Abbie Liel, co-lead of the NOAA Projections Task Force, brings crucial engineering expertise to the project as a member of the ASCE committee tasked with updating the snow-related design provisions and chair of the climate-change-related recommendations committee for ASCE hazards. Building on prior work, including the 2020 National Snow Load Study, Liel’s coordination efforts on this project contribute to the integration of climate-ready solutions into national building codes. The team’s commitment extends beyond snow-related projects, addressing various environmental hazards affecting infrastructure design. With a track record of making data publicly available, the research team ensures transparency, aligning with the urgent need to connect climate science with engineering practice and providing valuable insights for NOAA’s modeling advancements and the resilience of our nation’s infrastructure and economy.

Read the Utah State University Announcement »

Read the CPO Story »

For more information, contact Clara Deck.

Image credit: Pixabay

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