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$1M to study climate change impacts on defense facilities

DemissieRICHLAND, Wash. – Protecting U.S. defense facilities from risks posed by climate change is the focus of research at Washington State University Tri-Cities recently funded through a four-year, $994,000 contract with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).

Two local businesses will share in the work and funding.

“Our objective is to develop and test a new modeling and statistical framework that will assess the potential risk of severe storms and resulting floods to existing DoD installations,” said Yonas Demissie, WSUTC assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering and principal investigator on the project.

“The overall goal is to improve military installation readiness in the face of anticipated impacts of climate change and uncertainties,” he said. “We will test our approach at 13 DoD installations, including Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Wash.”

Five percent of the funding will go to Tri-Cities businesses Versatile Design Studios and Turner & Co., Inc.

“These companies will help us gather climate and hydrologic data, design the project website and coordinate the outreach effort,” said Demissie.

Demissie’s colleagues on the project – titled “Linked Rainfall and Runoff Intensity-Duration-Frequency in the Face of Climate Change and Uncertainty” – are a team from Argonne National Laboratory and graduate students at WSUTC.

Learn more about Demissie’s work at



Yonas Demissie, WSU Tri-Cities civil and environmental engineering, 509-372-7344,


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