Influence of Land Cover and Soil Moisture based Brown Ocean Effect on an Extreme Rainfall Event from a Louisiana Gulf Coast Tropical System

Udaysankar S. Nair, Eric Rappin, Emily Foshee, Warren Smith, Roger A. Pielke, Rezaul Mahmood, Jonathan L. Case, Clay B. Blankenship, Marshall Shepherd, Joseph A. Santanello, Dev Niyogi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Extreme flooding over southern Louisiana in mid-August of 2016 resulted from an unusual tropical low that formed and intensified over land. We used numerical experiments to highlight the role of the ‘Brown Ocean’ effect (where saturated soils function similar to a warm ocean surface) on intensification and it’s modulation by land cover change. A numerical modeling experiment that successfully captured the flood event (control) was modified to alter moisture availability by converting wetlands to open water, wet croplands, and dry croplands. Storm evolution in the control experiment with wet antecedent soils most resembles tropical lows that form and intensify over oceans. Irrespective of soil moisture conditions, conversion of wetlands to croplands reduced storm intensity, and also, non-saturated soils reduced rain by 20% and caused shorter durations of high intensity wind conditions. Developing agricultural croplands and more so restoring wetlands and not converting them into open water can impede intensification of tropical systems that affect the area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number17136
JournalScientific reports
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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