Combining High-Resolution Airmass Trajectory Modeling and Climate Data to Generate Precipitation Predictions that are useful for Policymakers

Accurate projections and accessible information about the impacts of climate change on water resources are critical for planning and adaptation. 

 Yet, precipitation is difficult to predict even with advanced climate models. This collaboration brings together a team of geologists, engineers and policy experts to address how the changing climate will influence water resources in Western New York. Specifically, this project will:

· Use state-of-the-art climate models to determine precipitation amount, sources and seasonality in Western New York under past, present and future climate scenarios.

· Develop and compile precipitation records for present and 6,000 years ago, a period that was warmer than today.

· Ground-truth model performance by comparing model results under past and present climate scenarios with precipitation records.

· Articulate results and uncertainties to policymakers in Western New York.

· Develop a tool set that the team will apply to other sensitive and/or highly populated regions in the United States, the Arctic, Asia and elsewhere.

The project’s principal investigator is Elizabeth K. Thomas, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Geology. Co-principal investigators are Marcus I. Bursik, PhD, professor in the Department of Geology; Matthew Jones, PhD, associate director and lead computational scientist in UB’s Center for Computational Research; Jessica Owley, JD, associate professor in the Law School; and Abani Patra, PhD, professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.