Variations in Precipitation Parameters between Drought and Nondrought Periods in Texas and Some Implications for Cloud Seeding

Michael S. Flynn Environmental Studies Service Center, National Weather Service, Delta Branch Experiment Station, Stoneville, MS 38776

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John F. Griffiths Department of Meteorology, Texas A&M University, College Station 77843

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Abstract

An analysis of the possible differences among various rainfall parameters during drought and nondrought periods was undertaken for 12 Texas stations. The division of monthly rainfall amounts into quintiles served as the rainfall classification. Rainfall amounts, number of rains and rainfall intensities were calculated for each quintile for four thresholds of rainfall 0.0254, 0.2540, 0.5080 and 1.2700 cm. The thresholds were applied on a daily and hourly basis. At low rainfall thresholds in nearly every case, numbers of rains in very dry periods proved to be <100% of normal.

The possible differences in persistence of rainfall during Very Dry and Very Wet periods were examined by calculating runs of rains of 0.0254 cm or more per hour. Medians of runs of rain hours in Very Dry periods were found to be less than those in Very Wet periods except at Corpus Christi in April and at Waco in February. Probabilities that a run of rain hours would extend to a given length were determined. During Very Dry periods a probability >0.5 that a rain will extend into a second hour during a month of key importance to agriculture (June, July and August) occurs only at Amarillo, Lovelady, Port Arthur and Waco. The probability that a rain will extend into a third hour is never above 0.5 during the key months in Very Dry periods for any of the stations studied.

The implications of these findings are discussed in relation to feasibility of cloud seeding and to irrigation management during severe drought.

Abstract

An analysis of the possible differences among various rainfall parameters during drought and nondrought periods was undertaken for 12 Texas stations. The division of monthly rainfall amounts into quintiles served as the rainfall classification. Rainfall amounts, number of rains and rainfall intensities were calculated for each quintile for four thresholds of rainfall 0.0254, 0.2540, 0.5080 and 1.2700 cm. The thresholds were applied on a daily and hourly basis. At low rainfall thresholds in nearly every case, numbers of rains in very dry periods proved to be <100% of normal.

The possible differences in persistence of rainfall during Very Dry and Very Wet periods were examined by calculating runs of rains of 0.0254 cm or more per hour. Medians of runs of rain hours in Very Dry periods were found to be less than those in Very Wet periods except at Corpus Christi in April and at Waco in February. Probabilities that a run of rain hours would extend to a given length were determined. During Very Dry periods a probability >0.5 that a rain will extend into a second hour during a month of key importance to agriculture (June, July and August) occurs only at Amarillo, Lovelady, Port Arthur and Waco. The probability that a rain will extend into a third hour is never above 0.5 during the key months in Very Dry periods for any of the stations studied.

The implications of these findings are discussed in relation to feasibility of cloud seeding and to irrigation management during severe drought.

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