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Adventures in Deciphering Weather and Climate Change in the Ecuadorian Andes

Meteorologist Cindy Shellito to deliver seminar

3:30 pm
Hardin Hall Room: 901
3310 Holdrege St
Lincoln NE 68583
Additional Info: HARH
Jenny Dauer,
Dr. Shellito had an unexpected flight cancellation due to a blizzard out West. This event will be rescheduled. Details to come as they become available.

The paramo is a broad grassland above 3000 meters in elevation that stores rainwater for more than 300 thousand people in the city of Cuenca, Ecuador. Despite the importance of this region to the water supply, weather records only date back to 2013, so it is difficult to know whether perceived changes in rainfall are a threat to this region. Most weather and climate models inadequately capture patterns of atmospheric circulation in this region. In this talk, I share my experiences in Ecuador working with colleagues at the University of Cuenca to interpret weather observations from a new network of stations positioned along an altitudinal gradient from the city of Cuenca (2500 m) to the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of El Cajas National Park (4400 m). As a first step, we measured lapse rates in this region to improve mapping of temperatures by models. Additional work has examined evaporation rates in the páramo and made attempts to use the Weather Research and Forecasting Model (WRF) to understand observed rainfall patterns. To expand meteorological expertise among scientists in the region, a part of my work also involved developing of a graduate course and a field camp in meteorology for young investigators and sharing teaching strategies with colleagues through seminars and workshops. Together, we developed an educational model that could be employed in other regions of the world to build expertise in understanding impacts of changing environments.

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