Changes in Rainfall Patterns are Projected for Next 30 Years

Manoa have projected an increased frequency of heavy rainfall events but a decrease in rainfall intensity during the next 30 years (2011-2040) for the southern shoreline of Oahu, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research.

Chase Norton, a Meteorology Research Assistant at the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) at University of Hawaii - Manoa (UH), and colleagues (Professors Pao-Shin Chu and Thomas Schroeder) used a statistical model; rainfall data from rainfall gauges on Oahu, Hawaii; and a suite of General Circulation Models (GCMs) from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to project future patterns of heavy rainfall events on Oahu. GCMs play a pivotal role in the understanding of climate change and associated local changes in weather.
 
Heavy rainfall and flash floods are common in the Hawaiian Islands due to their steep terrain, rain‐producing weather systems, and abundant moisture supply. They have caused multimillion dollars damage to homes, properties, roads, agriculture, and other sectors. Environmentally, heavy rainfall and runoff events in Hawaii, which are likely to cause slope and coastal erosion, pollutant discharges to the near shore marine environment, coral reef degradation, among others, are expected to change as Earth undergoes an unprecedented warming. Given the socioeconomic repercussions resulting from past storm events, it is of considerable interest to investigate changes in the frequency and intensity of heavy rainfall events in Hawaii, particularly for Oahu, as it is the most populous island in Hawaii.
 
"The results presented in this study may benefit many agencies who are concerned with floods and relevant policy-making in the face of climate change," says Chu, UH – Manoa Meteorology Professor, Hawaii State Climate Office Director, and co-author of the study. "For instance, changes in rainstorm intensity may be a serious consideration in aquifer management – as precipitation is the primary water source for streams and groundwater supply."
 
Norton, Chu, and Schroeder would like to use the IPCC GCM simulations and extend the rainfall model to project future events in other locations. They also plan to use a high resolution regional climate model to project future changes in water resources in the Hawaiian Islands.

Download Center

  • Your Guide to Environmental Metrics that Drive Performance

    Translating sustainability into action starts with implementing the right metrics to assess your environmental risk and performance. Learn how to design metrics that improve your decision-making process and drive enterprise performance.

  • Unpacking ESG: 6 Questions You Were Too Afraid to Ask

    Environmental and Sustainability experts from Arcadis and Cority answer 6 of the most pressing questions EHS professionals have about getting started with Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reporting.

  • 5 Keys to Best-in-Class Chemical Management

    Running a safe chemical program is challenging and complex: from knowing what's on-site to proper handling and disposal - all while navigating regulatory changes. Learn the best ways to mitigate chemical risk, get the most value out of your data, and gain buy-in for a chemical management solution.

  • Streamline Your Air Emissions Management

    See how consolidating all your emissions management functions into one centralized system can help you streamline your operations, more easily maintain compliance, and achieve greater time and cost savings.

  • A Crash Course in Creating the Right Environmental Scoring System

    Learn how to develop the right environmental scoring system so you can easily benchmark performance across all your facilities and gain a holistic view of your environmental programs.

  • Industry Safe