Outdated U.S. government rainfall models could waste billions in funding

State highway and bridge projects in the U.S. are using an outdated government precipitation model to determine future flood risk. This could waste billions of dollars in federal funding from the Biden administration’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This is according to a new report from the First Street Foundation, a nonprofit climate risk research and technology firm.

The government’s precipitation expectation model from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is called Atlas 14.

The limitations of the Atlas 14 model include:

  • Being based on backward-looking data going as far as the 1960s
  • Not incorporating the effects of global warming into its model

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