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Catch Characteristics of Precipitation Gauges in High-Latitude Regions with High Winds

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  • 1 Institute of Observational Research for Global Change, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Yokosuka, Japan
  • 2 Water and Environmental Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska
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Abstract

Intercomparison of solid precipitation measurement at Barrow, Alaska, has been carried out to examine the catch characteristics of various precipitation gauges in high-latitude regions with high winds and to evaluate the applicability of the WMO precipitation correction procedures. Five manual precipitation gauges (Canadian Nipher, Hellmann, Russian Tretyakov, U.S. 8-in., and Wyoming gauges) and a double fence intercomparison reference (DFIR) as an international reference standard have been installed. The data collected in the last three winters indicates that the amount of solid precipitation is characteristically low, and the zero-catch frequency of the nonshielded gauges is considerably high, 60%–80% of precipitation occurrences. The zero catch in high-latitude high-wind regions becomes a significant fraction of the total precipitation. At low wind speeds, the catch characteristics of the gauges are roughly similar to the DFIR, although it is noteworthy that the daily catch ratios decreased more rapidly with increasing wind speed compared to the WMO correction equations. The dependency of the daily catch ratios on air temperature was confirmed, and the rapid decrease in the daily catch ratios is due to small snow particles caused by the cold climate. The daily catch ratio of the Wyoming gauge clearly shows wind-induced losses. In addition, the daily catch ratios are considerably scattered under strong wind conditions due to the influence of blowing snow. This result suggests that it is not appropriate to extrapolate the WMO correction equations for the shielded gauges in high-latitude regions for high wind speed of over 6 m s−1.

Corresponding author address: Konosuke Sugiura, Institute of Observational Research for Global Change, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, 2-15, Natsushima-cho, Yokosuka 237-0061, Japan. Email: sugiura@jamstec.go.jp

Abstract

Intercomparison of solid precipitation measurement at Barrow, Alaska, has been carried out to examine the catch characteristics of various precipitation gauges in high-latitude regions with high winds and to evaluate the applicability of the WMO precipitation correction procedures. Five manual precipitation gauges (Canadian Nipher, Hellmann, Russian Tretyakov, U.S. 8-in., and Wyoming gauges) and a double fence intercomparison reference (DFIR) as an international reference standard have been installed. The data collected in the last three winters indicates that the amount of solid precipitation is characteristically low, and the zero-catch frequency of the nonshielded gauges is considerably high, 60%–80% of precipitation occurrences. The zero catch in high-latitude high-wind regions becomes a significant fraction of the total precipitation. At low wind speeds, the catch characteristics of the gauges are roughly similar to the DFIR, although it is noteworthy that the daily catch ratios decreased more rapidly with increasing wind speed compared to the WMO correction equations. The dependency of the daily catch ratios on air temperature was confirmed, and the rapid decrease in the daily catch ratios is due to small snow particles caused by the cold climate. The daily catch ratio of the Wyoming gauge clearly shows wind-induced losses. In addition, the daily catch ratios are considerably scattered under strong wind conditions due to the influence of blowing snow. This result suggests that it is not appropriate to extrapolate the WMO correction equations for the shielded gauges in high-latitude regions for high wind speed of over 6 m s−1.

Corresponding author address: Konosuke Sugiura, Institute of Observational Research for Global Change, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, 2-15, Natsushima-cho, Yokosuka 237-0061, Japan. Email: sugiura@jamstec.go.jp

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