William Gallus – Mentor Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University
It has been thought that the behavior of heavy-rain producing mesoscale convective systems would change in a future climate scenario. This could have important implications, because these systems have many effects on the central United States, from providing necessary rainfall to producing hazards such as wind and flooding. Specifically, this study looked at how the frequency, intensity, and tracks of heavy-rain producing mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) would change in a future climate scenario. To do this, cases of heavy-rain producing MCSs were determined for both the present climate and a future climate scenario using regional climate data. These cases were defined using precipitation data that met or exceeded both an aerial and intensity threshold. The tracks were determined using the median starting and ending latitude of each MCS, the frequency was determined using the number of MCSs in each climate period, and the intensity was determined using the maximum precipitation rate from each MCS. Upon conducting the study, it was found that heavy-rain producing MCSs are likely to take tracks further to the south in a future climate scenario, and their maximum precipitation intensities are likely to increase. No conclusions could be made about the frequency of MCSs in the future climate. This means that there will likely be more flooding problems associated with MCSs, and the locations that receive the most beneficial rainfall from MCSs will likely shift southward. Due to the range of different climate scenarios and different factors causing MCSs globally, the results of this study are specific to the central United States with this particular climate scenario.
Spratley, Sean, "Heavy Rain-Producing Mesoscale Convective Systems in a Changing Climate" (2018). Meteorology Senior Theses. 39.