5th UF Water Institute Symposium Abstract

Submitter's Name Mace Bauer
Session Name Impacts of Climate Variability and Change on Water Availability and Quality
Author(s) Daniel  Dourte,  Agricultural and Biological Engineering, University of Florida
  Clyde Fraisse,  Agricultural and Biological Engineering, University of Florida, US
  Wendy-Lin Bartels, Florida Climate Institute, University of Florida, US
  Mace Bauer, IFAS Extension, University of Florida, US (Presenting Author)
  Exploring Changes in Rainfall Intensity and Seasonal Variability
  I am applying for an Extension Scholarship. The distribution of rainfall has major impacts in agriculture, affecting the soil, hydrology, and plant health in agricultural systems. The goal of this study was to test for recent changes in rainfall intensity and seasonal rainfall variability in the Southeastern U.S. by exploring the data collaboratively with agricultural stakeholders. During the last 30 years (1985-2014), there has been a significant change (53% increase) in the number of extreme rainfall days (152.4 mm/day) and there have been significant decreases in the number of moderate intensity (12.7-25.4 mm/day) and heavy (25.4-76.2 mm/day) rainfall days in the Southeastern U.S., when compared to the previous 30 year period (1955-1984). The variability in spring and summer rainfall increased during the last 30 years, but winter and fall showed less variability in seasonal totals in the last 30 years. In agricultural systems, rainfall is one of the leading factors affecting yield variability; so it can be expected that more variable rainfall and more intense rain events could bring new challenges to agricultural production. However, these changes can also present opportunities for producers who are taking measures to adjust management strategies to make their systems more resilient to increased rain intensity and variability. Extension programs held throughout the tri-state region (FL, GA, AL) have delivered adaptive management strategies to farmers and their advisors.