Warm Season Hydroclimatic Variability and Change in the Appalachian Region of the Southeastern U.S. from 1950 to 2018

Authors: Timothy Kinlaw*, Appalachian State University
Topics: Climatology and Meteorology, Physical Geography, Environment
Keywords: Hydroclimatology, Southern Appalachian Mountains, Variability
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Marshall East, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Uncertainty is embedded in climatic research and variability challenges water resource security. This is especially the case in the southern Appalachian region of the southeastern U.S., which contains much climatic and topographic variability. Previous hydroclimate research identified several broad climate trends across the southeast, including increased precipitation, intensified summer rainfall, and prolonged dry periods. However, research has yet to determine whether these trends are present at the regional scale across the mountains. This study examines warm season hydroclimatic change and variability in the southern Appalachian Mountains from 1950 to 2018 using the Global Historical Climatological Network (GHCN) daily data record. Daily rainfall is classified according to different intensities, ranging from light to heavy, and a Mann-Kendall test is used to determine the trend at each station. The results indicate significant change to the frequency of dry days and light precipitation days across all elevations. The most frequent changes across stations suggest that dry days became less common and light precipitation became more common across the southern Appalachian region. Similarly, the length of dry spells became shorter at most elevations of this mountainous region. In conclusion, hydroclimatic variability and change in the southern Appalachian region suggest a different trend than that of the broader southeastern U.S. Additional research is needed to better understand how daily precipitation patterns are changing in a changing climate.

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