Climate models predict significant increases in the magnitude and frequency of extreme rainfalls. However, climate model projections of precipitation vary greatly across models. For communities that have not experienced extreme storms in recent memory, useful information on their vulnerability to extreme rainfall can be obtained by hydrologic modeling based on high-resolution rainfall data from one or more extreme storms that have occurred elsewhere in the region. Our findings suggest that state and local decision-makers are very receptive to using this approach to anticipate and adapt to impacts from extreme rainfall events.
Kenneth W. Potter is Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UW-Madison, and a Principal Investigator of the Northeast Climate Sciences Center. His research focuses on quantifying the impact of climate change on watershed hydrology, with the main focus on precipitation, infiltration, evapotranspiration, groundwater recharge, and groundwater discharge to streams, lakes, and wetlands.
David S. Liebl is a Faculty Associate in the Department of Engineering Professional Development at UW-Madison, and a UW-Cooperative Extension statewide outreach education specialist. He is a member of the Wisconsin Initiative for Climate Change Impacts (WICCI) chairing the Stormwater and Outreach working groups. His area of focus is community adaption to Wisconsin’s changing climate, with an emphasis on changing patterns of precipitation.