Need for a new model for predicting extreme rainfall

Jaynathan Obeysekera

Estimates of future rainfall are crucial for South Florida’s water management. As our climate gets warmer, more water vapor is held in the atmosphere, leading to extreme rainfall projections in many places around the country. Current climate models do not have the desired skill in predicting future rainfall extremes, making future rainfall highly uncertain.

Funded by the South Florida Water Management District, researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey are collaborating with FIU’s Institute of Environment to develop future climatic scenarios of rainfall patterns to be used in the planning and designing of water resource projects in south Florida. 

Jayantha Obeysekera, Sea Level Solutions Center Director in the Institute of Environment and lead for the research study by FIU, specializes in hydrologic modeling and water management adaptation. He pioneered the rainfall study when he was the former hydrologic modeler of the district, and now with the sea level solutions team, is exploring new methods for rainfall predictions. As part of the study, the institute held a rainfall workshop last year to initiate a dialogue to prepare statewide climate scenarios.

With this new study, FIU and USGS researchers will help the South Florida Water Management District be resilient to climate change by providing adequate flood protection, meeting future water-supply needs and preserving our natural systems. 

This story was originally published by Kimberly Miller in The Palm Beach Post.