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Comparison of NCEP Multisensor Precipitation Estimates with Independent Gauge Data over the Eastern United States

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  • 1 State Climate Office of North Carolina, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina
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Abstract

Gauge-calibrated radar estimates of daily precipitation are compared with daily observed values of precipitation from National Weather Service (NWS) Cooperative Observer Network (COOP) stations to evaluate the multisensor precipitation estimate (MPE) product that is gridded by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) for the eastern United States (defined as locations east of the Mississippi River). This study focuses on a broad evaluation of MPE across the study domain by season and intensity. In addition, the aspect of precipitation type is considered through case studies of winter and summer precipitation events across the domain. Results of this study indicate a north–south gradient in the error of MPE and a seasonal pattern with the highest error in summer and autumn and the lowest error in winter. Two case studies of precipitation are also considered in this study. These case studies include instances of intense precipitation and frozen precipitation. These results suggest that MPE is less able to estimate convective-scale precipitation as compared with precipitation variations at larger spatial scales. In addition, the results suggest that MPE is subject to errors related both to the measurement gauges and to the radar estimates used. Two case studies are also included to discuss the differences with regard to precipitation type. The results from these case studies suggest that MPE may have higher error associated with estimating the liquid equivalent of frozen precipitation when compared with NWS COOP network data. The results also suggest the need for more analysis of MPE error for frozen precipitation in diverse topographic regimes.

Corresponding author address: Adrienne Wootten, Centennial Campus Box 7236, N.C. State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7236. E-mail: amwootte@ncsu.edu

Abstract

Gauge-calibrated radar estimates of daily precipitation are compared with daily observed values of precipitation from National Weather Service (NWS) Cooperative Observer Network (COOP) stations to evaluate the multisensor precipitation estimate (MPE) product that is gridded by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) for the eastern United States (defined as locations east of the Mississippi River). This study focuses on a broad evaluation of MPE across the study domain by season and intensity. In addition, the aspect of precipitation type is considered through case studies of winter and summer precipitation events across the domain. Results of this study indicate a north–south gradient in the error of MPE and a seasonal pattern with the highest error in summer and autumn and the lowest error in winter. Two case studies of precipitation are also considered in this study. These case studies include instances of intense precipitation and frozen precipitation. These results suggest that MPE is less able to estimate convective-scale precipitation as compared with precipitation variations at larger spatial scales. In addition, the results suggest that MPE is subject to errors related both to the measurement gauges and to the radar estimates used. Two case studies are also included to discuss the differences with regard to precipitation type. The results from these case studies suggest that MPE may have higher error associated with estimating the liquid equivalent of frozen precipitation when compared with NWS COOP network data. The results also suggest the need for more analysis of MPE error for frozen precipitation in diverse topographic regimes.

Corresponding author address: Adrienne Wootten, Centennial Campus Box 7236, N.C. State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7236. E-mail: amwootte@ncsu.edu
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