ST. LOUIS — A first-of-its kind dataset is now available to the earth system science community. CONUS 404 is a high-resolution weather simulation that spans more than four decades over the continental United States.
Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research partnered with the US Geological Survey to develop this new resource, allowing researchers to look at weather on local scales but over a climate timescale.
The simulation took an entire year on a supercomputer. A scientist on the project, Andreas Prein, says there are hundreds of applications for this data. He’s personally interested in how extremes are changing over time.
“I looked at extreme rainfall and how it’s changing. I looked at the extreme winds and how they were changing. How does snowpack in the western US change over time?” said Prein.
The 40-year dataset allows scientists to discern changes in climate versus daily weather. This makes it easier to understand how these changes could impact a region. The exceptional dataset could help build up more resilience in urban areas.
“For example, if you’re a city planner, you can incorporate the information in your flood infrastructure to make your city more resilient against flooding in the future,” said Prein.
Prein says they’re currently running another simulation into the future until the mid-60s.
“Now we can start looking at what the future might look like. I think this will be very revealing. My hope is that this improves the resilience of the U.S. to changes in the future. For example water availability and quality are one key topic but also extreme events like hurricanes, snowstorms, blizzards, snowpacks. So I think this is a pretty big deal,” said Prein.