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Christa D. Peters-Lidard, David M. Mocko, Lu Su, Dennis P. Lettenmaier, Pierre Gentine, and Michael Barlage

Abstract

Millions of people across the globe are affected by droughts every year, and recent droughts have highlighted the considerable agricultural impacts and economic costs of these events. Monitoring the state of droughts depends on integrating multiple indicators that each capture particular aspects of hydrologic impact and various types and phases of drought. As the capabilities of land surface models and remote sensing have improved, important physical processes such as dynamic, interactive vegetation phenology, groundwater, and snowpack evolution now support a range of drought indicators that better reflect coupled water, energy, and carbon cycle processes. In this work, we discuss these advances, including newer classes of indicators that can be applied to improve the characterization of drought onset, severity, and duration. We utilize a new model-based drought reconstruction to illustrate the role of dynamic phenology and groundwater in drought assessment. Further, through case studies on flash droughts, snow droughts, and drought recovery, we illustrate the potential advantages of advanced model physics and observational capabilities, especially from remote sensing, in characterizing droughts.

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Dino Zardi, Marco Falocchi, Lorenzo Giovannini, Werner Tirler, Elena Tomasi, Gianluca Antonacci, Enrico Ferrero, Stefano Alessandrini, Pedro A. Jimenez, Branko Kosovic, and Luca Delle Monache

Abstract

The paper describes the observational and modeling efforts performed under the Bolzano Tracer Experiment (BTEX). BTEX focused on the basin surrounding the city of Bolzano, at the junction of three tributary valleys on the southern side of the Alps, to characterize the ground-level impact of pollutants emitted by a waste incinerator close to the city, and atmospheric factors controlling dispersion processes in the whole basin, under different winter weather situations. As part of the experiment, two controlled releases of a passive gas tracer (sulfur hexafluoride, SF6) were performed through the stack of the incinerator on 14 February 2017 at two different times, starting respectively at 0700 and 1245 LST, representative of distinct phases of the daily cycle. Samples of ambient air were collected at target sites, and later analyzed using a mass spectrometer, allowing a detectability limit down to 30 ppt. Meanwhile, meteorological conditions were continuously monitored by means of a high-resolution, nonconventional network of ground-based instruments, including 15 weather stations, one temperature profiler, one sodar, and one Doppler wind lidar. Data from the above measurements represent one of the rare examples of integrated datasets available to the community for the characterization of dispersion processes in a typical mountainous environment. In particular, they offered a reference benchmark for testing and calibrating a series of combined numerical modeling suites for weather prediction and pollutant dispersion simulation in such a complex terrain, as shown in the paper.

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Jiaojiao Gou, Chiyuan Miao, Luis Samaniego, Mu Xiao, Jingwen Wu, and Xiaoying Guo

Abstract

Reliable, spatiotemporally continuous runoff records are necessary for identifying climate change impacts and planning effective water management strategies. Existing Chinese runoff data to date have been produced from sparse, poor-quality gauge measurements at different time scales. We have developed a new, quality-controlled gridded runoff dataset, the China Natural Runoff Dataset version 1.0 (CNRD v1.0), which provides daily, monthly, and annual 0.25° runoff estimates for the period 1961–2018 over China. CNRD v1.0 was generated using the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) model. A comprehensive parameter uncertainty analysis framework incorporating parameter sensitivity analysis, optimization, and regionalization with 200 natural or near-natural gauge catchments was used to train the VIC model. Overall, the results show well-calibrated parameters for most gauged catchments except arid and semiarid areas, and the skill scores present high values for all catchments. For the pseudo-/test-ungauged catchments, the model parameters estimated by the multiscale parameter regionalization technique offer the best regionalization solution. CNRD v1.0 is the first free public dataset of gridded natural runoff estimated using a comprehensive model parameter uncertainty analysis framework for China. These results indicate that CNRD v1.0 has high potential for application to long-term hydrological and climate studies in China and to improve international runoff databases for global-scale studies.

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Robbie Iacovazzi, Quanhua “Mark” Liu, and Changyong Cao
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Qing Yang, Xinyi Shen, Emmanouil N. Anagnostou, Chongxun Mo, Jack R. Eggleston, and Albert J. Kettner

Abstract

Most existing inundation inventories are based on surveys, news, or passive remote sensing imagery. Affected by spatiotemporal resolution or weather conditions, these inventories are limited in spatial details or coverage. Satellite synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data have recently enabled flood mapping at unprecedented spatiotemporal resolution. However, the bottleneck in producing SAR-based flood maps is the requirement of expert manual processing to maintain acceptable accuracy by most SAR-driven mapping techniques. To fill the vacancy, we generate a high-resolution (10 m) flood inundation dataset over the contiguous United States (CONUS) from nearly the entire Sentinel-1 SAR archive (from January 2016 to the present), using a recently developed automated Radar Produced Inundation Diary (RAPID) system. RAPID uses U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) water watch system and accumulated precipitation to identify SAR images that potentially overlap a flood event. The dataset include inundation events with the temporal scale from several days to months. Concluded from all 559 overlapping images in the period from 2016 to the first half of 2019, the comparison of the proposed dataset against the USGS Dynamic Surface Water Extent (DSWE) product yields an overall, user, producer agreements, and critical success index of 99.06%, 87.63%, 91.76%, and 81.23%, respectively, demonstrating the high accuracy of the proposed dataset and the robustness of the automated system. We anticipate this archive to facilitate many applications, including large-scale flood loss and risk assessment, and inundation model calibration and validation.

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Nirnimesh Kumar, James A. Lerczak, Tongtong Xu, Amy F. Waterhouse, Jim Thomson, Eric J. Terrill, Christy Swann, Sutara H. Suanda, Matthew S. Spydell, Pieter B. Smit, Alexandra Simpson, Roland Romeiser, Stephen D. Pierce, Tony de Paolo, André Palóczy, Annika O’Dea, Lisa Nyman, James N. Moum, Melissa Moulton, Andrew M. Moore, Arthur J. Miller, Ryan S. Mieras, Sophia T. Merrifield, Kendall Melville, Jacqueline M. McSweeney, Jamie MacMahan, Jennifer A. MacKinnon, Björn Lund, Emanuele Di Lorenzo, Luc Lenain, Michael Kovatch, Tim T. Janssen, Sean R. Haney, Merrick C. Haller, Kevin Haas, Derek J. Grimes, Hans C. Graber, Matt K. Gough, David A. Fertitta, Falk Feddersen, Christopher A. Edwards, William Crawford, John Colosi, C. Chris Chickadel, Sean Celona, Joseph Calantoni, Edward F. Braithwaite III, Johannes Becherer, John A. Barth, and Seongho Ahn

Abstract

The inner shelf, the transition zone between the surfzone and the midshelf, is a dynamically complex region with the evolution of circulation and stratification driven by multiple physical processes. Cross-shelf exchange through the inner shelf has important implications for coastal water quality, ecological connectivity, and lateral movement of sediment and heat. The Inner-Shelf Dynamics Experiment (ISDE) was an intensive, coordinated, multi-institution field experiment from September–October 2017, conducted from the midshelf, through the inner shelf, and into the surfzone near Point Sal, California. Satellite, airborne, shore- and ship-based remote sensing, in-water moorings and ship-based sampling, and numerical ocean circulation models forced by winds, waves, and tides were used to investigate the dynamics governing the circulation and transport in the inner shelf and the role of coastline variability on regional circulation dynamics. Here, the following physical processes are highlighted: internal wave dynamics from the midshelf to the inner shelf; flow separation and eddy shedding off Point Sal; offshore ejection of surfzone waters from rip currents; and wind-driven subtidal circulation dynamics. The extensive dataset from ISDE allows for unprecedented investigations into the role of physical processes in creating spatial heterogeneity, and nonlinear interactions between various inner-shelf physical processes. Overall, the highly spatially and temporally resolved oceanographic measurements and numerical simulations of ISDE provide a central framework for studies exploring this complex and fascinating region of the ocean.

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K. Holmlund, J. Grandell, J. Schmetz, R. Stuhlmann, B. Bojkov, R. Munro, M. Lekouara, D. Coppens, B. Viticchie, T. August, B. Theodore, P. Watts, M. Dobber, G. Fowler, S. Bojinski, A. Schmid, K. Salonen, S. Tjemkes, D. Aminou, and P. Blythe

Abstract

Within the next couple of years, the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) will start the deployment of its next-generation geostationary meteorological satellites. The Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) is composed of four imaging (MTG-I) and two sounding (MTG-S) platforms. The satellites are three-axis stabilized, unlike the two previous generations of Meteosat that were spin stabilized, and carry two sets of remote sensing instruments each. Hence, in addition to providing continuity, the new system will provide an unprecedented capability from geostationary orbit. The payload on the MTG-I satellites are the 16-channel Flexible Combined Imager (FCI) and the Lightning Imager (LI). The payloads on the MTG-S satellites are the hyperspectral Infrared Sounder (IRS) and a high-resolution Ultraviolet–Visible–Near-Infrared (UVN) sounder Sentinel-4/UVN, provided by the European Commission. Today, hyperspectral sounding from geostationary orbit is provided by the Chinese Fengyun-4A (FY-4A) satellite Geostationary Interferometric Infrared Sounder (GIIRS) instrument, and lightning mappers are available on FY-4A and on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) GOES-16 and GOES-17 satellites. Consequently, the development of science and applications for these types of instruments have a solid foundation. However, the IRS, LI, and Sentinel-4/UVN are a challenging first for Europe in a geostationary orbit. The four MTG-I and two MTG-S satellites are designed to provide 20 and 15.5 years of operational service, respectively. The launch of the first MTG-I is expected at the end of 2022 and the first MTG-S roughly a year later. This article describes the four instruments, outlines products and services, and addresses the evolution of the further applications.

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Mark R. Jury

Abstract

This study reviews Kenya’s fluctuating hydroclimate (3°S–4°N, 35°–40°E) and evaluates products that describe its area-averaged daily rainfall during 2008–18, monthly evaporation during 2000–18, and catchment hydrology via gauge, satellite, and model hindcast/forecast. Using the correlation of rainfall as a metric of skill we found daily satellite versus model hindcasts achieved 75%, while model forecasts at 2–6-day lead achieved 55%–58%. The daily satellite versus model soil moisture had a significant correlation (84%), and model runoff versus gauge streamflow reached 61%. A 2-day delay was noted between rainfall and streamflow response in recent flood events; however, long-range predictability was found to be poor (35%). These outcomes were considered at a local workshop, and ways to sustainably improve the real-time reporting of key hydroclimate parameters for operational data assimilation were suggested as steps toward better monitoring and forecast services in Kenya.

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Sid-Ahmed Boukabara, Vladimir Krasnopolsky, Stephen G. Penny, Jebb Q. Stewart, Amy McGovern, David Hall, John E. Ten Hoeve, Jason Hickey, Hung-Lung Allen Huang, John K. Williams, Kayo Ide, Philippe Tissot, Sue Ellen Haupt, Kenneth S. Casey, Nikunj Oza, Alan J. Geer, Eric S. Maddy, and Ross N. Hoffman

Abstract

Promising new opportunities to apply artificial intelligence (AI) to the Earth and environmental sciences are identified, informed by an overview of current efforts in the community. Community input was collected at the first National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) workshop on “Leveraging AI in the Exploitation of Satellite Earth Observations and Numerical Weather Prediction” held in April 2019. This workshop brought together over 400 scientists, program managers, and leaders from the public, academic, and private sectors in order to enable experts involved in the development and adaptation of AI tools and applications to meet and exchange experiences with NOAA experts. Paths are described to actualize the potential of AI to better exploit the massive volumes of environmental data from satellite and in situ sources that are critical for numerical weather prediction (NWP) and other Earth and environmental science applications. The main lessons communicated from community input via active workshop discussions and polling are reported. Finally, recommendations are presented for both scientists and decision-makers to address some of the challenges facing the adoption of AI across all Earth science.

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Lei Wang, Tandong Yao, Chenhao Chai, Lan Cuo, Fengge Su, Fan Zhang, Zhijun Yao, Yinsheng Zhang, Xiuping Li, Jia Qi, Zhidan Hu, Jingshi Liu, and Yuanwei Wang

Abstract

Monitoring changes in river runoff at the Third Pole (TP) is important because rivers in this region support millions of inhabitants in Asia and are very sensitive to climate change. Under the influence of climate change and intensified cryospheric melt, river runoff has changed markedly at the TP, with significant effects on the spatial and temporal water resource distribution that threaten water supply and food security for people living downstream. Despite some in situ observations and discharge estimates from state-of-the-art remote sensing technology, the total river runoff (TRR) for the TP has never been reliably quantified, and its response to climate change remains unclear. As part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ “Pan-Third Pole Environment Study for a Green Silk Road,” the TP-River project aims to construct a comprehensive runoff observation network at mountain outlets (where rivers leave the mountains and enter the plains) for 13 major rivers in the TP region, thereby enabling TRR to be accurately quantified. The project also integrates discharge estimates from remote sensing and cryosphere–hydrology modeling to investigate long-term changes in TRR and the relationship between the TRR variations and westerly/monsoon. Based on recent efforts, the project provides the first estimate (656 ± 23 billion m3) of annual TRR for the 13 TP rivers in 2018. The annual river runoff at the mountain outlets varies widely between the different TP rivers, ranging from 2 to 176 billion m3, with higher values mainly corresponding to rivers in the Indian monsoon domain, rather than in the westerly domain.

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