Gridded Climatic Monthly Frequencies of Precipitation Amount for 1-, 3-, and 6-h Periods over the Conterminous United States

Jerome P. Charba Techniques Development Laboratory, Office of Systems Development, National Weather Service, NOAA, Silver Spring, Maryland

Search for other papers by Jerome P. Charba in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Yijun Liu Techniques Development Laboratory, Office of Systems Development, National Weather Service, NOAA, Silver Spring, Maryland

Search for other papers by Yijun Liu in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Matthew H. Hollar Techniques Development Laboratory, Office of Systems Development, National Weather Service, NOAA, Silver Spring, Maryland

Search for other papers by Matthew H. Hollar in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Bryan Exley Techniques Development Laboratory, Office of Systems Development, National Weather Service, NOAA, Silver Spring, Maryland

Search for other papers by Bryan Exley in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
, and
Anwar Belayachi Techniques Development Laboratory, Office of Systems Development, National Weather Service, NOAA, Silver Spring, Maryland

Search for other papers by Anwar Belayachi in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Restricted access

Abstract

Gridded fields of monthly mean relative frequency for ≥0.10 (2.5), ≥0.25 (6.4), ≥0.50 (12.7), ≥1.00 (25.4), and ≥2.00 (50.8) in. (mm) of precipitation have been developed for 1-, 3-, and 6-h periods over the conterminous United States. The frequency fields are analyzed on a rectangular grid with a 20-km mesh. Raw (unsmoothed) frequencies at randomly spaced points were computed from 33 yr (1963–95) of hourly precipitation measurements from approximately 3000 stations composing the U.S. Climatic Hourly Precipitation Network. Initial grids of the raw frequencies were then obtained from objective analyses of the randomly spaced values. The final grids were obtained following the application of smoothing, which was applied spatially over the grid and temporally over consecutive months and consecutive time periods of the day. The smoothing applied for each precipitation category and accumulation period was minimized to retain as much coherent temporal and spatial detail as possible. The detail in the frequencies is greater than that for previous nationwide climatic precipitation analyses of this type. The database was developed for use as a climatological predictor input to a statistically based forecast model for the various categories of precipitation amount, but it should also have other operational or research applications.

The monthly frequency fields exhibit known climatic features across the nation and features at small temporal and spatial scales that either have not been previously documented or that clarify those incompletely defined in the published literature. The discussions link both known and new climatic features to physiographic features, such as mountain ridges and valleys, large lakes, and ocean coasts, as well as to the diurnal heating–cooling cycle. Examples of clarifications of previous findings include the spatial and temporal properties of the eastward migration of summer afternoon precipitation frequency peaks from the Rocky Mountains to the high plains and corresponding aspects of the formation of the Great Plains nocturnal precipitation maximum. New discoveries include a secondary summertime nocturnal precipitation peak in the Texas panhandle, a persistent summer maximum for light precipitation southwest of Lake Superior, and a weak leeshore maximum (minimum) for summertime Lake Michigan precipitation during morning (afternoon) hours. These and other new findings resulted from the fine spatial and temporal scale of the analysis.

Corresponding author address: Jerome P. Charba, W/OSD24, Techniques Development Laboratory, 1325 East–West Hwy., Silver Spring, MD 20910.

Email: Jerome.Charba@noaa.gov

Abstract

Gridded fields of monthly mean relative frequency for ≥0.10 (2.5), ≥0.25 (6.4), ≥0.50 (12.7), ≥1.00 (25.4), and ≥2.00 (50.8) in. (mm) of precipitation have been developed for 1-, 3-, and 6-h periods over the conterminous United States. The frequency fields are analyzed on a rectangular grid with a 20-km mesh. Raw (unsmoothed) frequencies at randomly spaced points were computed from 33 yr (1963–95) of hourly precipitation measurements from approximately 3000 stations composing the U.S. Climatic Hourly Precipitation Network. Initial grids of the raw frequencies were then obtained from objective analyses of the randomly spaced values. The final grids were obtained following the application of smoothing, which was applied spatially over the grid and temporally over consecutive months and consecutive time periods of the day. The smoothing applied for each precipitation category and accumulation period was minimized to retain as much coherent temporal and spatial detail as possible. The detail in the frequencies is greater than that for previous nationwide climatic precipitation analyses of this type. The database was developed for use as a climatological predictor input to a statistically based forecast model for the various categories of precipitation amount, but it should also have other operational or research applications.

The monthly frequency fields exhibit known climatic features across the nation and features at small temporal and spatial scales that either have not been previously documented or that clarify those incompletely defined in the published literature. The discussions link both known and new climatic features to physiographic features, such as mountain ridges and valleys, large lakes, and ocean coasts, as well as to the diurnal heating–cooling cycle. Examples of clarifications of previous findings include the spatial and temporal properties of the eastward migration of summer afternoon precipitation frequency peaks from the Rocky Mountains to the high plains and corresponding aspects of the formation of the Great Plains nocturnal precipitation maximum. New discoveries include a secondary summertime nocturnal precipitation peak in the Texas panhandle, a persistent summer maximum for light precipitation southwest of Lake Superior, and a weak leeshore maximum (minimum) for summertime Lake Michigan precipitation during morning (afternoon) hours. These and other new findings resulted from the fine spatial and temporal scale of the analysis.

Corresponding author address: Jerome P. Charba, W/OSD24, Techniques Development Laboratory, 1325 East–West Hwy., Silver Spring, MD 20910.

Email: Jerome.Charba@noaa.gov

Save
  • Balling, R. C., Jr., 1985: Warm season nocturnal precipitation in the Great Plains of the United States. Mon. Wea. Rev.,113, 1383–1387.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Banta, R. J., 1984: Daytime boundary layer evolution over mountainous terrain. Part I: Observations of dry circulations. Mon. Wea. Rev.,112, 340–356.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • ——, 1986: Daytime boundary layer evolution over mountainous terrain. Part II: Numerical studies of upslope flow duration. Mon. Wea. Rev.,114, 1112–1130.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • ——, and C. B. Schaaf, 1987: Thunderstorm genesis zones in the Colorado Rocky Mountains as determined by traceback of geosynchronous satellite images. Mon. Wea. Rev.,115, 464–476.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Bates, G. T., F. Giorgi, and S. W. Hostetler, 1993: Toward the simulation of the effects of the Great Lakes on regional climate. Mon. Wea. Rev.,121, 1373–1387.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Benjamin, S. G., and T. N. Carlson, 1986: Some effects of surface heating and topography on the regional severe storm environment. Part I: Three-dimensional simulations. Mon. Wea. Rev.,114, 307–329.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Black, T. L., 1994: The new NMC mesoscale eta model: Description and forecast examples. Wea. Forecasting,9, 265–278.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Blechman, J. B., 1996: A comparison between mean monthly temperature and mean monthly snowfall in New York State. Natl. Wea. Dig.,20, 41–53.

  • Bosart, L. F., and F. H. Carr, 1978: A case study of excessive rainfall centered around Wellsville, New York, 20–21 June 1972. Mon. Wea. Rev.,106, 348–362.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • ——, and F. Sanders, 1981: The Johnstown flood of July 1977: A long-lived convective system. J. Atmos. Sci.,38, 1616–1642.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Braham, R. R., and M. J. Dungey, 1984: Quantitative estimates of the effect of Lake Michigan on snowfall. J. Climate Appl. Meteor.,23, 939–949.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Charba, J. P., 1985: Climatological relative frequencies of six-hour precipitation amount over the conterminous United States. Preprints, Sixth Conf. on Hydrometeorology, Indianapolis, IN, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 1–8.

  • ——, 1987: Features of an operational 0–6 and 3–9 h system for forecasting heavy precipitation amounts. Preprints, Seventh Conf. on Hydrometeorology, Edmonton, AB, Canada, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 137–142.

  • ——, A. W. Harrell III, and A. C. Lackner III, 1992: A monthly precipitation amount climatology derived from published atlas maps: Development of a digital database. TDL Office Note 92-7, National Weather Service, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce, 20 pp. [Available from Techniques Development Laboratory, W/OSD2, 1325 East–West Hwy., Silver Spring, MD 20910.].

  • Cooper, H. J., M. Garstang, and J. Simpson, 1982: The diurnal interaction between convection and peninsular-scale forcing over south Florida. Mon. Wea Rev.,110, 486–503.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Cotton, W., R. L. George, P. J. Wetzel, and R. L. McAnelly, 1983: A long-lived mesoscale convective complex. Part I: The mountain-generated component. Mon. Wea Rev.,111, 1893–1918.

  • Cressman, G. P., 1959: An operational objective analysis system. Mon. Wea. Rev.,87, 367–374.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Crysler, K. A., R. A. Maddox, L. R. Hoxit, and B. M. Muller, 1982:Diurnal distribution of very heavy precipitation over the central and eastern United States. Natl. Wea. Dig.,7, 33–37.

  • Daley, C., R. P. Neilson, and D. L. Phillips, 1994: A statistical–topographic model for mapping climatological precipitation over mountainous terrain. J. Appl. Meteor.,33, 140–158.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Easterling, D. R., and P. J. Robinson, 1985: The diurnal variation of thunderstorm activity in the United States. J. Climate Appl. Meteor.,24, 1048–1058.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Eichenlaub, V. L., 1970: Lake effect snowfall to the lee of the Great Lakes: Its role in Michigan. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc.,51, 403–412.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • ESSA, 1968: Climatic Atlas of the United States. Environmental Data Service, ESSA, U.S. Department of Commerce, 80 pp.

  • Fosdick, E. K., and A. I. Watson, 1995: Cloud-to-ground lightning patterns in New Mexico during the summer season. Natl. Wea. Dig.,19, 17–24.

  • Frank, N. L., P. L. Moore, and G. E. Fisher, 1967: Summer shower distribution over the Florida peninsula as deduced from digitized radar data. J. Appl. Meteor.,6, 309–316.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Frederick, R. A., V. A. Myers, and E. P. Auciello, 1977: Five- to 60-minute precipitation frequency for the eastern and central United States. NOAA Tech. Memo. NWS HYDRO-35, National Weather Service, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce, 36 pp. [Available from National Technical Information Service, 5285 Port Royal Rd., Springfield, VA 22161.].

  • Giorgi, F., G. T. Bates, and S. J. Nieman, 1993: The multiyear surface climatology of a regional atmospheric model over the western United States. J. Climate,6, 75–95.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Glahn, H. R., T. L. Chambers, W. S. Richardson, and H. P. Perrotti, 1985: Objective map analysis for the Local AFOS MOS Program. NOAA Tech. Memo. NWS TDL 75, National Weather Service, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce, 34 pp. [Available from National Technical Information Service, 5285 Port Royal Rd., Springfield, VA 22161.].

  • Hansen, E. M., D. D. Fenn, P. Corrigan, J. L. Vogel, L. C. Schreiner, and R. W. Stodt, 1994: Probable maximum precipitation—Pacific Northwest states. Hydrometeorological Rep. 57, National Weather Service, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce, 338 pp. [Available from Office of Hydrology, W/OH, 1325 East–West Hwy., Silver Spring, MD 20910.].

  • Henkel, A., and C. Peterson, 1996: Can the Western Region implement a standardized system and consistent strategy for the specification of deterministic QPF. Abstracts, Fifth National Heavy Precipitation Workshop, State College, PA, National Weather Service, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce, 31.

  • Higgins, R. W., J. E. Janowiak, and Y. Tao, 1996: A gridded hourly precipitation database for the United States (1963–1993). NCEP/Climate Prediction Center Atlas 1, National Weather Service, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce, 47 pp. [Available from National Centers for Environmental Prediction, 5200 Auth Road, Camp Springs, MD 20746.].

  • Hjelmfelt, M. R., 1990: Numerical study of the influence of environmental conditions on lake-effect snowstorms over Lake Michigan. Mon. Wea. Rev.,118, 138–150.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Holton, J. R., 1967: The diurnal wind oscillation above sloping terrain. Tellus,19, 199–205.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Jensenius, J. S., Jr., and M. C. Erickson, 1987: Monthly relative frequencies of precipitation for the United States for 6-, 12-, and 24-h periods. NOAA Tech. Rep. NWS 39, National Weather Service, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce, 262 pp. [Available from National Technical Information Service, 5285 Port Royal Rd., Springfield, VA 22161.].

  • Jorgensen, D. L., 1967: Climatological probabilities of precipitation amounts in the conterminous United States. ESSA Tech. Rep. WB-5, ESSA, U.S. Department of Commerce, 89 pp. [Available from National Technical Information Service, 5285 Port Royal Rd., Springfield, VA 22161.].

  • Kane, R. J., Jr., C. R. Chelius, and J. M. Fritsch, 1987: Precipitation characteristics of mesoscale convective weather systems. J. Climate Appl. Meteor.,26, 1345–1357.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Kincer, J. B., 1916: Daytime and nighttime precipitation and their economic significance. Mon. Wea. Rev.,44, 628–633.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Krzysztofowicz, R., and A. A. Sigrest, 1997: Local climatic guidance for probabilistic quantitative precipitation forecasting. Mon. Wea. Rev.,125, 305–316.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Landin, M. G., and L. F. Bosart, 1985: The diurnal variability of precipitation in the northeastern United States. Mon. Wea. Rev.,113, 989–1014.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • ——, and ——, 1989: The diurnal variation of precipitation in California and Nevada. Mon. Wea. Rev.,117, 1801–1816.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • López, R. E., and R. E. Holle, 1986: Diurnal contrast and spatial variability of lightning activity in northeastern Colorado and central Florida during summer. Mon. Wea. Rev.,114, 1288–1312.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Maddox, R. A., L. R. Hoxit, C. F. Chappell, and F. Caracena, 1978:Comparison of meteorological aspects of the Big Thompson and Rapid City flash floods. Mon. Wea. Rev.,106, 375–389.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • ——, C. F. Chappell, and L. R. Hoxit, 1979: Synoptic and meso-α scale aspects of flash flood events. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc.,60, 115–123.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • ——, D. M. Rodgers, and K. W. Howard, 1982: Mesoscale convective complexes over the United States during 1981—Annual summary. Mon. Wea. Rev.,110, 1501–1514.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • ——, D. M. McCollum, and K. W. Howard, 1995: Large-scale patterns associated with severe summertime thunderstorms over central Arizona. Wea. Forecasting,10, 763–778.

  • Mass, C. M., 1982: The topographically forced diurnal circulations of western Washington State and their influence on precipitation. Mon. Wea. Rev.,110, 170–183.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • McAnelly, R. L., and W. R. Cotton, 1989: The precipitation life cycle of mesoscale convective complexes over the central United States. Mon. Wea. Rev.,117, 784–808.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Michaels, P. J., R. A. Pielke, J. T. McQueen, and D. E. Sappington, 1987: Composite climatology of Florida thunderstorms. Mon. Wea. Rev.,115, 2781–2791.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Miller, J. F., and R. H. Frederick, 1966: Normal monthly number of days with precipitation of 0.5, 1.0, 2.0, and 4.0 inches or more in the conterminous United States. Tech. Paper 57, ESSA, U.S. Department of Commerce, 52 pp. [Available from Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402.].

  • ——, ——, and R. J. Tracy, 1973: Precipitation-frequency atlas of the western United States. NOAA Atlas 2, Vols. I–XI, National Weather Service, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce. [Available from National Technical Information Service, 5285 Port Royal Rd., Springfield, VA 22161.].

  • National Weather Service, 1987: Zero-to-six and three-to-nine objective forecasts of heavy precipitation amount. NWS Tech. Proc. Bull. 370, National Weather Service, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14 pp. [Available from Office of Meteorology, W/OM, 1325 East–West Hwy., Silver Spring, MD 20910.].

  • ——, 1994: The great flood of 1993. Natural Disaster Survey Rep. 94-1, National Weather Service, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce, 181 pp. [Available from Office of Meteorology, W/OM, 1325 East–West Hwy., Silver Spring, MD 20910.].

  • Olson, D. A., N. W. Junker, and B. Korty, 1995: Evaluation of 33 years of quantitative precipitation forecasting at NMC. Wea. Forecasting,10, 498–511.

  • Passarelli, R. E., and R. R. Braham, 1981: The role of the winter land breeze in the formation of Great Lake snow storms. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc.,62, 482–491.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Pitchford, K. L., and J. London, 1962: The low-level jet as related to nocturnal thunderstorms over the midwest United States. J. Appl. Meteor.,1, 43–47.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Purdom, J. F. W., 1976: Some uses of high resolution GOES imagery in the mesoscale forecasting of convection and its behavior. Mon. Wea. Rev.,104, 1474–1483.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • ——, 1979: The development and evolution of deep convection. Preprints, 11th Conf. on Severe Local Storms, Kansas City, MO, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 143–150.

  • Reap, R. M., 1986: Evaluation of cloud-to-ground lightning data from the western United States for the 1983–84 summer seasons. J. Climate Appl. Meteor.,25, 785–799.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • ——, 1994: Analysis and prediction of lightning strike distributions associated with synoptic map types over Florida. Mon. Wea. Rev.,122, 1698–1715.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • ——, and D. R. MacGorman, 1989: Cloud-to-ground lightning: Climatological characteristics and relationships to model fields, radar observations, and severe local storms. Mon. Wea. Rev.,117, 518–535.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Reinking, R. F., and Coauthors, 1993: The Lake Ontario Winter Storms (LOWS) project. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc.,74, 1828–1849.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Reitan, C. H., 1974: Frequencies of cyclones and cyclogenesis for North America, 1951–1970. Mon. Wea. Rev.,102, 861–868.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Riley, G. T., M. G. Landin, and L. F. Bosart, 1987: The diurnal variability of precipitation across the central Rockies and adjacent Great Plains. Mon. Wea. Rev.,115, 1161–1172.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Rodgers, E., T. L. Black, D. G. Deaven, G. J. DiMego, Q. Zhao, M. Baldwin, N. W. Junker, and Y. Lin, 1996: Changes to the operational “early” Eta analysis/forecast system at the National Centers for Environmental Prediction. Wea. Forecasting,11, 391–413.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Schwartz, B. E., and L. F. Bosart, 1979: The diurnal variability of Florida rainfall. Mon. Wea. Rev.,107, 1535–1545.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Shuman, F. G., 1957: Numerical methods in weather prediction. II. Smoothing and filtering. Mon. Wea. Rev.,85, 357–361.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Simpson, J. E., D. A. Mansfield, and J. R. Milford, 1977: Inland penetration of sea-breeze fronts. Quart. J. Roy. Meteor. Soc.,103, 47–76.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Tucker, D. F., 1993: Diurnal precipitation variations in south-central New Mexico. Mon. Wea. Rev.,121, 1979–1991.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Wallace, J. M., 1975: Diurnal variations in precipitation and thunderstorm frequency over the conterminous United States. Mon. Wea. Rev.,103, 406–419.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Wilson, J. W., 1977: Effect of Lake Ontario on precipitation. Mon. Wea. Rev.,105, 207–214.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Winkler, J. A., 1985: Regionalization of the diurnal distribution of summertime heavy precipitation. Preprints, Sixth Conf. on Hydrometeorology, Indianapolis, IN, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 9–16.

  • ——, B. R. Skeetter, and P. G. Yamamoto, 1988: Seasonal variations in the diurnal characteristics of heavy hourly precipitation across the United States. Mon. Wea. Rev.,116, 1641–1658.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 202 54 6
PDF Downloads 38 16 4