Atmospheric Rivers

Project summary:
Texas is repeatedly subjected to extreme rainfall events, resulting in flooding, catastrophic loss of life, infrastructural losses, and major impacts to water and wastewater treatment facilities. Several impactful flood events in recent years were not associated with hurricanes, tropical storms, or extratropical cyclones but with other large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns. The goals of this project were to detect and classify these events in addition to understanding their origins, physical mechanisms, and evolution. This knowledge will help Texas and other regions in the south-central U.S. increase preparedness for floods and better plan for water resources management. This project addressed the following questions:
  1. What are the drivers of extreme rainfall over Texas that are not related to the tropical cyclones within the last seven decades (1948-2020)?
  2. Are atmospheric rivers and events with high integrated water vapor transport over Texas predictable?
Project deliverable(s):
A report on the findings of this research.
Contractor (and Principal Investigator, if appropriate):
The University of Texas at Austin - Bureau of Economic Geology, Dr. Bridget Scanlon
Contract amount:
Project lead:
Nelun Fernando
Project timeline:
April 2021 - December 2022