Future Changes in Hail Occurrence in the United States Determined through Convection-Permitting Dynamical Downscaling

Robert J. Trapp Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, Urbana, Illinois

Search for other papers by Robert J. Trapp in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Kimberly A. Hoogewind Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana

Search for other papers by Kimberly A. Hoogewind in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
, and
Sonia Lasher-Trapp Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, Urbana, Illinois

Search for other papers by Sonia Lasher-Trapp in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Restricted access

Abstract

The effect of anthropogenically enhanced greenhouse gas concentrations on the frequency and intensity of hail depends on a range of physical processes and scales. These include the environmental support of the hail-generating convective storms and the frequency of their initiation, the storm volume over which hail growth is promoted, and the depth of the lower atmosphere conducive to melting. Here, we use high-resolution (convection permitting) dynamical downscaling to simultaneously account for these effects. We find broad geographical areas of increases in the frequency of large hail (35-mm diameter) over the United States, during all four seasons. Increases in very large hail (50-mm diameter) are mostly confined to the central United States, during boreal spring and summer. And, although increases in moderate hail (20-mm diameter) are also found throughout the year, decreases occur over much of the eastern United States in summer. Such decreases result from a projected decrease in convective-storm frequency. Overall, these results suggest that the annual U.S. hail season may begin earlier in the year, be lengthened by more than a week, and exhibit more interannual variability in the future.

Current affiliation: Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, University of Oklahoma, and NOAA/NWS/Storm Prediction Center, Norman, Oklahoma.

Supplemental information related to this paper is available at the Journals Online website: https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-18-0740.s1.

© 2019 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Robert J. Trapp, jtrapp@illinois.edu

Abstract

The effect of anthropogenically enhanced greenhouse gas concentrations on the frequency and intensity of hail depends on a range of physical processes and scales. These include the environmental support of the hail-generating convective storms and the frequency of their initiation, the storm volume over which hail growth is promoted, and the depth of the lower atmosphere conducive to melting. Here, we use high-resolution (convection permitting) dynamical downscaling to simultaneously account for these effects. We find broad geographical areas of increases in the frequency of large hail (35-mm diameter) over the United States, during all four seasons. Increases in very large hail (50-mm diameter) are mostly confined to the central United States, during boreal spring and summer. And, although increases in moderate hail (20-mm diameter) are also found throughout the year, decreases occur over much of the eastern United States in summer. Such decreases result from a projected decrease in convective-storm frequency. Overall, these results suggest that the annual U.S. hail season may begin earlier in the year, be lengthened by more than a week, and exhibit more interannual variability in the future.

Current affiliation: Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, University of Oklahoma, and NOAA/NWS/Storm Prediction Center, Norman, Oklahoma.

Supplemental information related to this paper is available at the Journals Online website: https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-18-0740.s1.

© 2019 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Robert J. Trapp, jtrapp@illinois.edu

Supplementary Materials

    • Supplemental Materials (PDF 3.85 MB)
Save
  • Adams-Selin, R. D., and C. L. Ziegler, 2016: Forecasting hail using a one-dimensional hail growth model within WRF. Mon. Wea. Rev., 144, 49194939, https://doi.org/10.1175/MWR-D-16-0027.1.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Adams-Selin, R. D., A. J. Clark, C. J. Melick, S. R. Dembek, I. L. Jirak, and C. L. Ziegler, 2019: Evolution of WRF-HAILCAST during the 2014–16 NOAA/Hazardous Weather Testbed Spring Forecasting Experiments. Wea. Forecasting, 34, 6179, https://doi.org/10.1175/WAF-D-18-0024.1.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Allen, J. T., 2018: Climate change and severe thunderstorms. Oxford Research Encyclopedias: Climate Science, accessed 1 March 2019, https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190228620.013.62.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Allen, J. T., and M. K. Tippett, 2015: The characteristics of United States hail reports: 1955–2014. Electron. J. Severe Storms Meteor., 10 (3), http://www.ejssm.org/ojs/index.php/ejssm/article/view/149.

  • Allen, J. T., M. K. Tippett, and A. H. Sobel, 2015: An empirical model relating U.S. monthly hail occurrence to large-scale meteorological environment. J. Adv. Model. Earth Syst., 7, 226243, https://doi.org/10.1002/2014MS000397.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Blair, S. F., and Coauthors, 2017: High-resolution hail observations: Implications for NWS warning operations. Wea. Forecasting, 32, 11011119, https://doi.org/10.1175/WAF-D-16-0203.1.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bradley, R. S., F. T. Keimig, H. F. Diaz, and D. R. Hardy, 2009: Recent changes in freezing level heights in the tropics with implications for the deglacierization of high mountain regions. Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L17701, https://doi.org/10.1029/2009GL037712.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Brimelow, J. C., G. W. Reuter, and E. R. Poolman, 2002: Modeling maximum hail size in Alberta thunderstorms. Wea. Forecasting, 17, 10481062, https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0434(2002)017<1048:MMHSIA>2.0.CO;2.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Brimelow, J. C., W. R. Burrows, and J. M. Hanesiak, 2017: The changing hail threat over North America in response to anthropogenic climate change. Nat. Climate Change, 7, 516522, https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate3321.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Brooks, H. E., J. W. Lee, and J. P. Craven, 2003: The spatial distribution of severe thunderstorm and tornado environments from global reanalysis data. Atmos. Res., 67–68, 7394, https://doi.org/10.1016/S0169-8095(03)00045-0.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Brooks, H. E., G. W. Carbin, and P. T. Marsh, 2014: Increased variability of tornado occurrence in the United States. Science, 346, 349352, https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1257460.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Del Genio, A. D., M.-S. Yao, and J. Jonas, 2007: Will moist convection be stronger in a warmer climate? Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L16703, https://doi.org/10.1029/2007GL030525.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dennis, E. J., and M. R. Kumjian, 2017: The impact of vertical wind shear on hail growth in simulated supercells. J. Atmos. Sci., 74, 641663, https://doi.org/10.1175/JAS-D-16-0066.1.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dessens, J., C. Berthet, and J. L. Sanchez, 2015: Change in hailstone size distributions with an increase in the melting level height. Atmos. Res., 158–159, 245253, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosres.2014.07.004.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Diffenbaugh, N. S., M. Scherer, and R. J. Trapp, 2013: Robust increases in severe thunderstorm environments in response to greenhouse forcing. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 110, 16 36116 366, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1307758110.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Doswell, C. A., H. E. Brooks, and M. P. Kay, 2005: Climatological estimates of daily local nontornadic severe thunderstorm probability for the United States. Wea. Forecasting, 20, 577595, https://doi.org/10.1175/WAF866.1.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gensini, V. A., and T. L. Mote, 2014: Estimations of hazardous convective weather in the United States using dynamical downscaling. J. Climate, 27, 65816589, https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-13-00777.1.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gensini, V. A., and T. Mote, 2015: Downscaled estimates of late 21st century severe weather from CCSM3. Climatic Change, 129, 307321, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-014-1320-z.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gensini, V. A., C. Ramseyer, and T. L. Mote, 2014: Future convective environments using NARCCAP. Int. J. Climatol., 34, 16991705, https://doi.org/10.1002/joc.3769.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hoogewind, K. A., M. E. Baldwin, and R. J. Trapp, 2017: The impact of climate change on hazardous convective weather in the United States: Insight from high-resolution dynamical downscaling. J. Climate, 30, 10 08110 100, https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-16-0885.1.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Houze, R. A., D. C. Wilton, and B. F. Smull, 2007: Monsoon convection in the Himalayan region as seen by the TRMM Precipitation Radar. Quart. J. Roy. Meteor. Soc., 133, 13891411, https://doi.org/10.1002/qj.106.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kain, J. S., and Coauthors, 2008: Some practical considerations regarding horizontal resolution in the first generation of operational convection-allowing NWP. Wea. Forecasting, 23, 931952, https://doi.org/10.1175/WAF2007106.1.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Knight, C. A., and N. C. Knight, 2001: Hailstorms. Severe Convective Storms, Meteor. Monogr., Vol. 50, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 223–248, https://doi.org/10.1175/0065-9401-28.50.223.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Kumjian, M. R., Z. J. Lebo, and A. M. Ward, 2019: Storms producing large accumulations of small hail. J. Appl. Meteor. Climatol., 58, 341364, https://doi.org/10.1175/JAMC-D-18-0073.1.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Leslie, L. M., M. Leplastrier, and B. W. Buckley, 2008: Estimating future trends in severe hailstorms over the Sydney Basin: A climate modelling study. Atmos. Res., 87, 3751, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosres.2007.06.006.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mahoney, K., M. A. Alexander, G. Thompson, J. J. Barsugli, and J. D. Scott, 2012: Changes in hail and flood risk in high-resolution simulations over Colorado’s mountains. Nat. Climate Change, 2, 125131, https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate1344.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Marion, G. R., and R. Trapp, 2019: The dynamical coupling of convective updrafts, downdrafts, and cold pools in simulated supercell thunderstorms. J. Geophys. Res. Atmos., 124, 664683, https://doi.org/10.1029/2018JD029055.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Morrison, H., G. Thompson, and V. Tatarskii, 2009: Impact of cloud microphysics on the development of trailing stratiform precipitation in a simulated squall line: Comparison of one- and two-moment schemes. Mon. Wea. Rev., 137, 9911007, https://doi.org/10.1175/2008MWR2556.1.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nelson, S. P., 1983: The influence of storm flow structure on hail growth. J. Atmos. Sci., 40, 19651983, https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0469(1983)040<1965:TIOSFS>2.0.CO;2.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nelson, S. P., 1987: The hybrid multicellular–supercellular storm—An efficient hail producer. Part II. General characteristics and implications for hail growth. J. Atmos. Sci., 44, 20602073, https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0469(1987)044<2060:THMSEH>2.0.CO;2.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nisi, L., O. Martius, A. Hering, M. Kunz, and U. Germann, 2016: Spatial and temporal distribution of hailstorms in the Alpine region: A long-term, high resolution, radar-based analysis. Quart. J. Roy. Meteor. Soc., 142, 15901604, https://doi.org/10.1002/qj.2771.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pendergrass, A. G., R. Knutti, F. Lehner, C. Deser, and B. M. Sanderson, 2017: Precipitation variability increases in a warmer climate. Sci. Rep., 7, 17966, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-17966-y.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Prein, A. F., C. Liu, K. Ikeda, S. B. Trier, R. M. Rasmussen, G. J. Holland, and M. P. Clark, 2017: Increased rainfall volume from future convective storms in the US. Nat. Climate Change, 7, 880884, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-017-0007-7.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rasmussen, R., and H. R. Pruppacher, 1982: A wind tunnel and theoretical study of the melting behavior of atmospheric ice particles. I: A wind tunnel study of frozen drops of radius < 500 μm. J. Atmos. Sci., 39, 152158, https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0469(1982)039<0152:AWTATS>2.0.CO;2.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Schauwecker, S., and Coauthors, 2017: The freezing level in the tropical Andes, Peru: An indicator for present and future glacier extents. J. Geophys. Res., 122, 51725189, https://doi.org/10.1002/2016JD025943.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Seeley, J. T., and D. M. Romps, 2015: The effect of global warming on severe thunderstorms in the United States. J. Climate, 28, 24432458, https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-14-00382.1.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Skamarock, W. C., J. B. Klemp, J. Dudhia, D. O. Gill, D. M. Barker, X.-Y. Huang, W. Wang, and J. G. Powers, 2008: A description of the Advanced Research WRF version 3. NCAR Tech. Note NCAR/TN-475+STR, 113 pp., doi:10.5065/D68S4MVH.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Smith, B. T., R. L. Thompson, J. S. Grams, C. Broyles, and H. E. Brooks, 2012: Convective modes for significant severe thunderstorms in the contiguous United States. Part I: Storm classification and climatology. Wea. Forecasting, 27, 11141135, https://doi.org/10.1175/WAF-D-11-00115.1.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Thompson, G., P. R. Field, R. M. Rasmussen, and W. D. Hall, 2008: Explicit forecasts of winter precipitation using an improved bulk microphysics scheme. Part II: Implementation of a new snow parameterization. Mon. Wea. Rev., 136, 50955115, https://doi.org/10.1175/2008MWR2387.1.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tippett, M. K., 2014: Changing volatility of U.S. annual tornado reports. Geophys. Res. Lett., 41, 69566961, https://doi.org/10.1002/2014GL061347.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Trapp, R. J., and K. A. Hoogewind, 2016: The realization of extreme tornadic storm events under future anthropogenic climate change. J. Climate, 29, 52515265, https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-15-0623.1.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Trapp, R. J., and K. A. Hoogewind, 2018: Exploring a possible connection between U.S. tornado activity and Arctic sea ice. npj Climate Atmos. Sci., 1, 14, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41612-018-0025-9.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Trapp, R. J., N. S. Diffenbaugh, H. E. Brooks, M. E. Baldwin, E. D. Robinson, and J. S. Pal, 2007: Changes in severe thunderstorm environment frequency during the 21st century caused by anthropogenically enhanced global radiative forcing. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 104, 19 71919 723, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0705494104.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Trapp, R. J., N. S. Diffenbaugh, and A. Gluhovsky, 2009: Transient response of severe thunderstorm forcing to elevated greenhouse gas concentrations. Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L01703, https://doi.org/10.1029/2008GL036203.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Trapp, R. J., E. Robinson, M. Baldwin, N. Diffenbaugh, and B. J. Schwedler, 2011: Regional climate of hazardous convective weather through high-resolution dynamical downscaling. Climate Dyn., 37, 677688, https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-010-0826-y.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wang, S., M. Zhang, N. C. Pepin, Z. Li, M. Sun, X. Huang, and Q. Wang, 2014: Recent changes in freezing level heights in High Asia and their impact on glacier changes. J. Geophys. Res., 119, 17531765, https://doi.org/10.1002/2013JD020490.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wilks, D. S., 2016: “The stippling shows statistically significant grid points”: How research results are routinely overstated and overinterpreted, and what to do about it. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 97, 22632273, https://doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-15-00267.1.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ziegler, C. L., P. S. Ray, and N. C. Knight, 1983: Hail growth in an Oklahoma multicell storm. J. Atmos. Sci., 40, 17681791, https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0469(1983)040<1768:HGIAOM>2.0.CO;2.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Zou, T., Q. Zhang, W. Li, and J. Li, 2018: Responses of hail and storm days to climate change in the Tibetan Plateau. Geophys. Res. Lett., 45, 44854493, https://doi.org/10.1029/2018GL077069.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 2128 844 96
PDF Downloads 1708 515 76