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New Weather Simulations Predict Extreme Dry Weather

New Weather Simulations Predict Extreme Dry Weather

An ‘abnormal,’ monsoon-like weather pattern hits Southern California for the week of May 17-23, 2016. Extremely dry weather can be expected across nearly the entire basin this spring. (Image credit: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

(—For the most part, meteorologists have been predicting that the monsoon in Southern California would get off to a slow start or would fail entirely, due to the persistent, extreme dry weather that has been the norm this spring.

However, new models developed by scientists from the University of Georgia’s College of Computing and the University of Illinois’ IL-RI Center for Advanced Computational Science and Engineering suggest that these predictions may just be too much of a stretch.

The new simulations, which were run after earlier simulations predicted a monsoon that would fail by 2016, conclude that the current extreme dry spring is likely to be just a one-day blip during Southern California’s overall monsoon season. For the second year in a row, the extreme dry weather is expected to be “abnormal” (though still not a “monsoon”) compared to the long-term average of the last century.

“Typically, we use simulations to predict weather, but this year we took the next step and used the models to predict the weather. We’re predicting the weather, and not just predicting it,” said Dr. Alan Nathan, a University of Georgia research associate who did the work with IL-RI scientist William Schulz. “In terms of how bad the dry weather will get, we’re probably underestimating the extent of it. But that’s still a lot better than the forecasts that we’ve previously used.”

Nathan and Schulz’s new simulation runs have resulted in several new conclusions, according to Nathan, of the IL-RI Center for Advanced Computational Science and Engineering at Illinois. The new simulations, the first of their kind produced for southern California, have the following impacts:

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