Projected Tornado Exposure over Oklahoma City under Several Climate Change and Urban Development Scenarios

Authors: Joshua Hatzis*, University of Oklahoma, Jennifer Koch, University of Oklahoma, Harold Brooks, National Severe Storms Laboratory and University of Oklahoma
Topics: Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Spatial Analysis & Modeling, Climatology and Meteorology
Keywords: Tornado Exposure, Climate Change, Urban Expansion, Oklahoma City
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 2:35 PM / 4:15 PM
Room: Stones Throw 2 - Slate, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

In recent years the U.S. has seen a significant increase in the frequency of weather-related disasters and their attendant consequences. The exact role climate change will play on the frequency and intensity of severe weather is widely debated, but it will likely become more common. At the same time, urban areas continue to expand in size and population putting more people at risk of severe weather events. One example of this is Oklahoma City, the fourth largest city in the U.S. (by area) which has seen a population growth over 39% since 2000 and frequently experiences tornadoes. Population growth is expected to continue into the year 2050 and beyond, but it is unclear the mode of growth the city will take. We will test how tornado exposure may change by 2050 under three different urban growth scenarios (business as usual, sprawl, and infill) and two different climate change scenarios. We will generate 10,000 years’ worth of tornadoes using the Tornado Daily Impacts Simulator (TorDIS) for each combination of scenarios. The Tornado Daily Impacts Simulator is a Monte Carlo-based tornado impacts model that uses tornado favorable environments to constrain the distribution and characteristics of simulated tornadoes. We will overlay these tornado footprints onto population density projections for 2050 for the tri-county area of Oklahoma City (Oklahoma, Cleveland, and Canadian counties) under the three different urban growth scenarios. Through this study, we will determine the role of urban growth and climate change on tornado risk in Oklahoma City.

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