Abstract: The desert southwest is the driest and hottest region of the United States. As the region in the U.S. that is climatologically most akin to Saudi Arabia, the southwest is now experiencing increasing temperatures, water resource stress, and more extreme weather in a changing global climate. This presentation will first provide a conceptual overview of the regional hydrometeorology. Precipitation derives from extratropical cyclones during the cool season (November – April) and thunderstorms during the period of the North American monsoon (June – September), with the occasional influence of tropical systems in late summer and early fall. The hydrometeorological concerns throughout the year are quite different. Winter storms are critical for water supply within the Colorado River basin, while the main concern with monsoon thunderstorms is extreme weather. I will highlight some of the modeling approaches we are employing within my research group at the Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Arizona to improve regional hydrometeorological predictions and projections. We are presently moving toward convective-permitting modeling applications, to realize important step improvements in the representation of mesoscale precipitation processes. Our new collaborative project with KAUST will utilize this capability to help improve sub-seasonal forecasts for Saudi Arabia, with a focus on extreme weather events.
Bio: Christopher L. Castro has been a faculty member at the University of Arizona since August 2006, now a professor in the department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences. His doctoral and postdoctoral work applied a regional atmospheric model to the investigation of North American summer climate. Current research within his research group focuses principally on physical understanding and prediction of climate in North America through regional atmospheric modeling and analysis of observations. Specific topics being investigated in the scope of his projects include improving seasonal climate forecasts, convective-resolving simulations of severe weather, water resource projection at the regional and local scale, and contributions to parameterization development in the Weather Research and Forecasting model. His projects engage the operational weather forecast community and water resource providers in the Southwest United States. Through his collaborations and outreach activities, he is also working to develop improved capacity for hydroclimate research in other parts of the world, especially Latin America. Professor Castro is a former Fulbright scholar and has been recognized for research excellence in studying long term changes in North American monsoon precipitation, by the Strategic Environmental Research and Development program.