Assessing Climate Change Impacts for DoD Installations in the Southwest United States during the Warm Season

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SERDP 2017 Project-of-the-Year Award for Resource Conservation and Resiliency

Over the past sixty years there have been important long-term changes in the atmospheric conditions during the period of the annual monsoon in Southwestern United States. Given the potential impact of these changes and the risk they pose to infrastructural limits and operational capabilities of the many Department of Defense (DoD) facilities in the region, the DoD requested an evaluation of the changes in extreme weather during the late summer.  

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Dr. Christopher Castro from the University of Arizona and his team led a SERDP funded project that evaluated how warm season extreme weather events in the Southwest will change with respect to occurrence and intensity. The project addressed several key questions including the consideration of existing operational protocols for weather and climate related decision making, creation of climate change projection information at an appropriate spatial scale, and consideration of extreme weather and climate events. The data was gathered and then used to inform adaptation strategies.

This project resulted in a physically robust and computationally efficient methodological approach to the projection of extreme event weather in the Southwest that could be easily adapted for other regions of the United States and the world. A convective permitting modeling approach adds substantial value to projection of extreme weather by pinpointing the spatial locations within the Southwest where precipitation is becoming more intense with a high degree of accuracy.

For this significant work, Dr. Castro and his team received the 2017 SERDP Project-of-the-Year Award for Resource Conservation and Resiliency for their project titled  Assessing Climate Change Impacts for DoD Installations in the Southwest United States during the Warm Season.

Project Team

  • Christopher L. Castro, University of Arizona
  • Hsin-I Chang, University of Arizona
  • Mike Leuthold, University of Arizona
  • Thang M. Luong, University of Arizona
  • Carlos Carrillo, University of Arizona
  • Jeremy Mazon, University of Arizona
  • Jennifer Stutler, University of Arizona
  • Megan Jares, University of Arizona
  • Timothy M. Lahmers, University of Arizona
  • William W. Cassell, University of Arizona
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Photo by Trish Gottesman

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