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Persistent Nature of Secondary Diurnal Modes of Precipitation over Oceanic and Continental Regimes

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  • 1 Center for Earth Observing and Space Research, College of Science, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, and Laboratory for Atmospheres, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
  • | 2 GEST, Caelum Research Corporation, and Laboratory for Atmospheres, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
  • | 3 Laboratory for Atmospheres, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
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Abstract

This investigation seeks a better understanding of the assorted mechanisms controlling the global distribution of diurnal precipitation variability based on the use of the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) microwave radiometer and radar data. The horizontal distributions of precipitation’s diurnal cycle are derived from 8 yr of TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI) and Precipitation Radar (PR) measurements involving three TRMM standard rain retrieval algorithms; the resultant distributions are analyzed at various spatiotemporal scales. The results reveal both the prominent and expected late-evening (LE) to early-morning (EM) precipitation maxima over oceans and the counterpart prominent and expected mid- to late-afternoon (MLA) maxima over continents. Moreover, and not generally recognized, the results reveal a widespread distribution of secondary maxima, which generally mirror their counterpart regime’s behavior, occurring over both oceans and continents. That is, many ocean regions exhibit clear-cut secondary MLA precipitation maxima, while many continental regions exhibit just as evident secondary LE–EM maxima. This investigation is the first comprehensive study of these globally prevalent secondary maxima and their widespread nature, a type of study only made possible when the analysis procedure is applied to a high-quality global-scale precipitation dataset.

The characteristics of the secondary maxima are mapped and described on global grids using an innovative clock-face format, while a current study that is to be published at a later date provides physically based explanations of the seasonal regional distributions of the secondary maxima. In addition to a primary “explicit” maxima identification scheme, a secondary “Fourier decomposition” maxima identification scheme is used as a cross-check to examine the amplitude and phase properties of the multimodal maxima. Accordingly, the advantages and ambiguities resulting from the use of a Fourier harmonic analysis are investigated.

* Current affiliation: I. M. Systems Group, and NOAA/NESDIS/Center for Satellite Applications and Research (STAR), Camp Springs, Maryland

Corresponding author address: Dr. Song Yang, Laboratory for Atmospheres (Code 613.1), NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771. Email: ysong@agnes.gsfc.nasa.gov

This article included in the Understanding Diurnal Variability of Precipitation through Observations and Models (UDVPOM) special collection.

Abstract

This investigation seeks a better understanding of the assorted mechanisms controlling the global distribution of diurnal precipitation variability based on the use of the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) microwave radiometer and radar data. The horizontal distributions of precipitation’s diurnal cycle are derived from 8 yr of TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI) and Precipitation Radar (PR) measurements involving three TRMM standard rain retrieval algorithms; the resultant distributions are analyzed at various spatiotemporal scales. The results reveal both the prominent and expected late-evening (LE) to early-morning (EM) precipitation maxima over oceans and the counterpart prominent and expected mid- to late-afternoon (MLA) maxima over continents. Moreover, and not generally recognized, the results reveal a widespread distribution of secondary maxima, which generally mirror their counterpart regime’s behavior, occurring over both oceans and continents. That is, many ocean regions exhibit clear-cut secondary MLA precipitation maxima, while many continental regions exhibit just as evident secondary LE–EM maxima. This investigation is the first comprehensive study of these globally prevalent secondary maxima and their widespread nature, a type of study only made possible when the analysis procedure is applied to a high-quality global-scale precipitation dataset.

The characteristics of the secondary maxima are mapped and described on global grids using an innovative clock-face format, while a current study that is to be published at a later date provides physically based explanations of the seasonal regional distributions of the secondary maxima. In addition to a primary “explicit” maxima identification scheme, a secondary “Fourier decomposition” maxima identification scheme is used as a cross-check to examine the amplitude and phase properties of the multimodal maxima. Accordingly, the advantages and ambiguities resulting from the use of a Fourier harmonic analysis are investigated.

* Current affiliation: I. M. Systems Group, and NOAA/NESDIS/Center for Satellite Applications and Research (STAR), Camp Springs, Maryland

Corresponding author address: Dr. Song Yang, Laboratory for Atmospheres (Code 613.1), NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771. Email: ysong@agnes.gsfc.nasa.gov

This article included in the Understanding Diurnal Variability of Precipitation through Observations and Models (UDVPOM) special collection.

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