Over the Great Plains region of the United States, summertime thunderstorms often occur after sunset. Much of this nighttime rainfall is caused by large, organized storm systems and plays a critical role in the hydrology and agriculture of the region, especially over the more arid western Great Plains. During the summer months, these nighttime storm systems provide 30-70% of the region’s precipitation and can also cause severe weather, including flash floods, intense damaging winds, and large hail. Current weather and climate models have difficulty predicting the onset, location,...
Since 1989, the U.S.
In particular, Our Changing Planet highlights progress and accomplishments in interagency activities. These highlights represent the broad spectrum of USGCRP activities that extend from Earth system observations, modeling, and fundamental research through synthesis and assessment, decision support, education, and public engagement.
Vast quantities of carbon—twice the size of the current amount in the atmosphere—are stored in frozen
The 2012–2021 Strategic Plan emphasizes the need for synergy between Earth observations and Earth system modeling—two cor- nerstones of
Modeling Earth’s climate furthers priorities of national interest, from experimental research to understand the Earth system to operational forecasts and projections that inform decisions. Coordination among the Nation’s premier modeling centers—particularly between experimental and operational programs (see also Highlight 31)—has the potential to advance forecasting capabilities, yield more robust predictions, and bridge models of near-term weather and longer-term climate that currently are separated by high-...
Thunderstorm clouds play an important role in regional atmospheric dynamics, modulating such factors as air pollution, acid deposition, and—critically for climate models—precipitation and the balance of heat throughout the atmosphere. To date, in part because of the computing power constraints associated with running models at high resolutions, it has proved challenging to model in detail the effects of thunderstorm clouds on the solar radiation that drives the climate system.
Recognizing this opportunity for improvement, scientists with EPA, NOAA, and
Predicting climate on a seasonal basis can benefit decision makers in key sectors like energy, water resources, and agriculture, among others. A number of USGCRP agencies are working to improve the Nation’s seasonal forecasting capacity through major investments in innovative climate models that can bridge the needs of atmospheric research and operational forecasts. As one example, a new model developed by NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, known as...
The severe, sustained
Pollution from the combustion of fossil fuels and wood has contributed to