Norbert Brings Flooding and Record Rains to the Southwest
Assistant Research Professor, Arizona Institutes for Resilience
Assistant Professor of Anthropology, School of Anthropology
Ben McMahan joined CLIMAS after completing a PhD in Sociocultural Anthropology at the University of Arizona. His dissertation research was on hurricanes and disaster on the U.S. Gulf Coast, where he focused on
- Human interactions in dynamic social and environmental contexts,
- Risk perception and landscape changes during and after disaster, and
- Social network and policy responses to governance issues related to the acute threats of disaster; as they layer onto long term environmental issues and landscape scale changes.
He was also a key contributor to UA Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology (BARA) collaborative/trans-disciplinary research on the social, economic, and environmental impacts of the US Oil and Gas industry (2007-2011), and the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill (2010-2013).
At CLIMAS, his research activities included tracing how climate information is incorporated into regional decision maker networks, leading CLIMAS team research on the risks and effects of climate extremes, and collaborative research on the effects of climate variability on phenology and temporality of native plants in the region. He was also responsible for working to develop collaborative research opportunities and outreach efforts at CLIMAS, and as part of ongoing assessment and science/strategic planning, he contributed to strategic planning used to prioritize future research and outreach directions. He also coordinated publication of the monthly Southwest Climate Outlook, produced the Southwest Climate Podcasts, and was the online editor for CLIMAS’ blog - Southwestern Oscillations.
Yesterday (Monday Sept 08) brought considerable moisture to Southern Arizona and Nevada, as both the Tucson and Phoenix metropolitan areas saw considerable flooding, including record rainfall totals for both areas. This moisture was brought in by Hurricane/TS Norbert, and had been anticipated since it began curving back into the Pacific coast. There is precedent for this type of moisture, as Mike Crimmins laid out in his blog post addressing the moisture that TS/Hurricane systems bring to the Southwest, but it remains difficult to predict the exact effect of these storms. The experience in both Tucson and Phoenix show how disruptive and fast moving these storms (and their runoff) can be, as well as how quickly these waters can subside once they move through.