Virginia Precipitation Trends

Authors: Michael Allen*, Old Dominion University
Topics: Climatology and Meteorology
Keywords: Precipitation - Virginia - Climate
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In an effort to provide more readily available climate data for the Commonwealth of Virginia, a precipitation assessment was conducted. Using observational daily precipitation data (1947 – 2016) from the National Centers for Environmental Information, a historical analysis was completed for 43 locations across the Commonwealth of Virginia. The study evaluated annual means and changes in total precipitation (inches decade-1), precipitation days (x>0”), and heavy precipitation days (x>1.0”). On average, locations showed an overall increase in total precipitation across the time period. Thirty-six locations showed an increase in total precipitation days with an average change of 1.70 days decade-1. Significant, positive trends were found at 17 locations. Heavy precipitation days, days in which daily precipitation exceeded 1.0”, increased at 40 locations. Recent events associated with Hurricane Matthew and Florence draw attention to the need for robust data and state-level support for the Virginia Climate Office. The 100-year flood event is historically based, yet without accounting for future changes in water vapor content, a consequence of a warming planet, this historical context may not adequately account for a new atmospheric normal. In the context of a changing climate, better understanding of how these changes play a role in future urban development and storm water management remains an area of urgent research.

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