Alan Rhoades, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBLN)
Assessing mountains as natural reservoirs and dams using a variable-resolution global climate model
The western US relies heavily on mountain snowpack to meet its annual water demands. Due to climate change, this natural water reservoir (snowpack) will decline, peak earlier in the year, and shift assumptions of historical water resource planning. This decline has major impacts on our ability to provide food, to ensure municipal water demands are met, to maintain the recreation industry and to provide habitat for species. To effectively understand snowpack decline and constrain resource manager uncertainty, cutting-edge modeling tools must be used to capture the atmosphere-land-ocean connections across global-to-regional scales. My efforts have focused on validating and projecting future climate change scenario impacts on several key hydroclimate metrics (e.g., two-meter surface temperature, snow cover, snow water equivalent, and snowfall) with the intent to better inform water managers and preemptively plan for water resource uncertainties. To do this I use best-available observational and reanalysis datasets to elucidate model representations of spatial, elevational, and temporal variability within the mountains of the western US, specifically the California Sierra Nevada. This talk will feature my ongoing research exploring these topics using the variable-resolution Community Earth System Model and new research associated with Project Hyperion to increase the usability of climate data within water management circles.