From Bureau of Economic Geology, The
University of Texas at Austin (www.beg.utexas.edu).
For more information, please contact the author.
Bureau Seminar, November 20, 2009
Link to streaming video: available 11.20.2009 at 8:25am
Intensified summer rainfall variability over the southeastern United States in recent decades: What caused this change and how well can we predict it?
Dr. Rong Fu, Department of Geological Sciences
During the past few years, the southeastern United States has experienced extreme drought followed by devastating floods, causing billions of dollars economic loss. Do these events occur by a chance or reflect climate change toward greater rainfall variability? We have analyzed 60-year rainfall data over the US and our results show an intensified interannual variability in the southeastern US with more intense summer droughts and anomalous wetness in the recent 30 years (1978–2007) than in the early 30 years (1948–77). Such intensification of summer rainfall variability was contributed by a decrease of light and medium rainfall events during extremely dry summers, and an increase of heavy rainfall events in extremely wet summers. What causes these observed rainfall changes and whether such a change can be predicted will be discussed.