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Liao-Fan Lin, Ardeshir M. Ebtehaj, Alejandro N. Flores, Satish Bastola, and Rafael L. Bras

Abstract

This paper presents a framework that enables simultaneous assimilation of satellite precipitation and soil moisture observations into the coupled Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) and Noah land surface model through variational approaches. The authors tested the framework by assimilating precipitation data from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) and soil moisture data from the Soil Moisture Ocean Salinity (SMOS) satellite. The results show that assimilation of both TRMM and SMOS data can effectively improve the forecast skills of precipitation, top 10-cm soil moisture, and 2-m temperature and specific humidity. Within a 2-day time window, impacts of precipitation data assimilation on the forecasts remain relatively constant for forecast lead times greater than 6 h, while the influence of soil moisture data assimilation increases with lead time. The study also demonstrates that the forecast skill of precipitation, soil moisture, and near-surface temperature and humidity are further improved when both the TRMM and SMOS data are assimilated. In particular, the combined data assimilation reduces the prediction biases and root-mean-square errors, respectively, by 57% and 6% (for precipitation); 73% and 27% (for soil moisture); 17% and 9% (for 2-m temperature); and 33% and 11% (for 2-m specific humidity).

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Ali Tokay, Leo Pio D’Adderio, Federico Porcù, David B. Wolff, and Walter A. Petersen

Abstract

A network of seven two-dimensional video disdrometers (2DVD), which were operated during the Midlatitude Continental Convective Clouds Experiment (MC3E) in northern Oklahoma, are employed to investigate the spatial variability of raindrop size distribution (DSD) within the footprint of the dual-frequency precipitation radar (DPR) on board the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission core satellite. One-minute 2DVD DSD observations were interpolated uniformly to 13 points distributed within a nearly circular DPR footprint through an inverse distance weighting method. The presence of deep continental showers was a unique feature of the dataset resulting in a higher mean rain rate R with respect to previous studies. As a measure of spatial variability for the interpolated data, a three-parameter exponential function was applied to paired correlations of three parameters of normalized gamma DSD, R, reflectivity, and attenuation at Ka- and Ku-band frequencies of DPR (Z_Ka, Z_Ku, k_Ka, and k_Ku, respectively). The symmetry of the interpolated sites allowed quantifying the directional differences in correlations at the same distance. The correlation distances d 0 of R, k_Ka, and k_Ku were approximately 10 km and were not sensitive to the choice of four rain thresholds used in this study. The d 0 of Z_Ku, on the other hand, ranged from 29 to 20 km between different rain thresholds. The coefficient of variation (CV) remained less than 0.5 for most of the samples for a given physical parameter, but a CV of greater than 1.0 was also observed in noticeable samples, especially for the shape parameter and Z_Ku.

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Robert A. Houze Jr., Lynn A. McMurdie, Walter A. Petersen, Mathew R. Schwaller, William Baccus, Jessica D. Lundquist, Clifford F. Mass, Bart Nijssen, Steven A. Rutledge, David R. Hudak, Simone Tanelli, Gerald G. Mace, Michael R. Poellot, Dennis P. Lettenmaier, Joseph P. Zagrodnik, Angela K. Rowe, Jennifer C. DeHart, Luke E. Madaus, Hannah C. Barnes, and V. Chandrasekar

Abstract

The Olympic Mountains Experiment (OLYMPEX) took place during the 2015/16 fall–winter season in the vicinity of the mountainous Olympic Peninsula of Washington State. The goals of OLYMPEX were to provide physical and hydrologic ground validation for the U.S.–Japan Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) satellite mission and, more specifically, to study how precipitation in Pacific frontal systems is modified by passage over coastal mountains. Four transportable scanning dual-polarization Doppler radars of various wavelengths were installed. Surface stations were placed at various altitudes to measure precipitation rates, particle size distributions, and fall velocities. Autonomous recording cameras monitored and recorded snow accumulation. Four research aircraft supplied by NASA investigated precipitation processes and snow cover, and supplemental rawinsondes and dropsondes were deployed during precipitation events. Numerous Pacific frontal systems were sampled, including several reaching “atmospheric river” status, warm- and cold-frontal systems, and postfrontal convection.

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Xiang Ni, Chuntao Liu, Daniel J. Cecil, and Qinghong Zhang

Abstract

In previous studies, remote sensing properties of hailstorms have been discussed using various spaceborne sensors. Relationships between hail occurrence and strong passive microwave brightness temperature depressions have been established. Using a 16-yr precipitation-feature database derived from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite, the performance of the TRMM Precipitation Radar and TRMM Microwave Imager is further investigated for hail detection. Detection criteria for hail larger than 19 mm are separately developed from Ku-band radar reflectivity and microwave brightness temperature properties of precipitation features that are collocated with surface hail reports over the southeastern and south-central United States. A threshold of 44 dBZ at −22°C is found to have the highest critical success index and Heidke skill score. The threshold of 230 K at 37 GHz yields the best scores among passive microwave properties. Using these two thresholds, global distributions of possible hail events are generated over 65°S–65°N using two years of observations from the Global Precipitation Measurement Core Observatory satellite. Differences in the derived hail geographical distributions are found between radar and passive microwave methods over tropical South America, the “Maritime Continent,” west-central Africa, Argentina, and South Africa. These discrepancies result from different vertical structures of the maximum radar reflectivity profiles over these regions relative to the southeastern and south-central United States, where the thresholds were established. Those differences generally led to overestimates in the tropics from the passive microwave methods, relative to the radar-based methods.

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Sara Q. Zhang, T. Matsui, S. Cheung, M. Zupanski, and C. Peters-Lidard

Abstract

This work assimilates multisensor precipitation-sensitive microwave radiance observations into a storm-scale NASA Unified Weather Research and Forecasting (NU-WRF) Model simulation of the West African monsoon. The analysis consists of a full description of the atmospheric states and a realistic cloud and precipitation distribution that is consistent with the observed dynamic and physical features. The analysis shows an improved representation of monsoon precipitation and its interaction with dynamics over West Africa. Most significantly, assimilation of precipitation-affected microwave radiance has a positive impact on the distribution of precipitation intensity and also modulates the propagation of cloud precipitation systems associated with the African easterly jet. Using an ensemble-based assimilation technique that allows state-dependent forecast error covariance among dynamical and microphysical variables, this work shows that the assimilation of precipitation-sensitive microwave radiances over the West African monsoon rainband enables initialization of storms. These storms show the characteristics of continental tropical convection that enhance the connection between tropical waves and organized convection systems.

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H. Dong and X. Zou

Abstract

The Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Microwave Imager (GMI) plays an important role in monitoring global precipitation. In this study, an along-track striping noise is found in GMI observations of brightness temperatures for the two highest-frequency channels—12 and 13—with their central frequencies centered at 183.31 GHz. These two channels are designed for sounding the water vapor in the middle and upper troposphere. The pitch maneuver data of deep space confirmed an existence of striping noise in channels 12 and 13. A striping noise mitigation method is used for extracting the striping noise from the earth scene or deep space measurements of brightness temperatures by combining the principle component analysis (PCA) with the ensemble empirical mode decomposition (EEMD) method. A power spectrum density analysis indicated that the frequency of striping noise ranges between 0.06 and 0.533 s−1, where the right bound of 0.533 s−1 of frequency is exactly the inverse of the time (i.e., 1.875 s) it takes for the GMI to complete one conical scan line. The magnitude of striping noise in the brightness temperature observations of GMI channels 12 and 13 is about ±0.3 K. It is shown that after striping noise mitigation, the observation minus model simulation (O − B) distributions of both the earth scene and deep space brightness temperatures show no visible striping features.

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Gail Skofronick-Jackson, Walter A. Petersen, Wesley Berg, Chris Kidd, Erich F. Stocker, Dalia B. Kirschbaum, Ramesh Kakar, Scott A. Braun, George J. Huffman, Toshio Iguchi, Pierre E. Kirstetter, Christian Kummerow, Robert Meneghini, Riko Oki, William S. Olson, Yukari N. Takayabu, Kinji Furukawa, and Thomas Wilheit

Abstract

Precipitation is a key source of freshwater; therefore, observing global patterns of precipitation and its intensity is important for science, society, and understanding our planet in a changing climate. In 2014, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory (CO) spacecraft. The GPM CO carries the most advanced precipitation sensors currently in space including a dual-frequency precipitation radar provided by JAXA for measuring the three-dimensional structures of precipitation and a well-calibrated, multifrequency passive microwave radiometer that provides wide-swath precipitation data. The GPM CO was designed to measure rain rates from 0.2 to 110.0 mm h−1 and to detect moderate to intense snow events. The GPM CO serves as a reference for unifying the data from a constellation of partner satellites to provide next-generation, merged precipitation estimates globally and with high spatial and temporal resolutions. Through improved measurements of rain and snow, precipitation data from GPM provides new information such as details on precipitation structure and intensity; observations of hurricanes and typhoons as they transition from the tropics to the midlatitudes; data to advance near-real-time hazard assessment for floods, landslides, and droughts; inputs to improve weather and climate models; and insights into agricultural productivity, famine, and public health. Since launch, GPM teams have calibrated satellite instruments, refined precipitation retrieval algorithms, expanded science investigations, and processed and disseminated precipitation data for a range of applications. The current status of GPM, its ongoing science, and its future plans are presented.

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Dalia B. Kirschbaum, George J. Huffman, Robert F. Adler, Scott Braun, Kevin Garrett, Erin Jones, Amy McNally, Gail Skofronick-Jackson, Erich Stocker, Huan Wu, and Benjamin F. Zaitchik

Abstract

Precipitation is the fundamental source of freshwater in the water cycle. It is critical for everyone, from subsistence farmers in Africa to weather forecasters around the world, to know when, where, and how much rain and snow is falling. The Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory spacecraft, launched in February 2014, has the most advanced instruments to measure precipitation from space and, together with other satellite information, provides high-quality merged data on rain and snow worldwide every 30 min. Data from GPM and the predecessor Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) have been fundamental to a broad range of applications and end-user groups and are among the most widely downloaded Earth science data products across NASA. End-user applications have rapidly become an integral component in translating satellite data into actionable information and knowledge used to inform policy and enhance decision-making at local to global scales. In this article, we present NASA precipitation data, capabilities, and opportunities from the perspective of end users. We outline some key examples of how TRMM and GPM data are being applied across a broad range of sectors, including numerical weather prediction, disaster modeling, agricultural monitoring, and public health research. This work provides a discussion of some of the current needs of the community as well as future plans to better support end-user communities across the globe to utilize this data for their own applications.

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Thomas Stanley, Dalia B. Kirschbaum, George J. Huffman, and Robert F. Adler

Abstract

Long-term precipitation records are vital to many applications, especially the study of extreme events. The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) has served this need, but TRMM’s successor mission, Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM), does not yet provide a long-term record. Quantile mapping, the conversion of values across paired empirical distributions, offers a simple, established means to approximate such long-term statistics but only within appropriately defined domains. This method was applied to a case study in Central America, demonstrating that quantile mapping between TRMM and GPM data maintains the performance of a real-time landslide model. Use of quantile mapping could bring the benefits of the latest satellite-based precipitation dataset to existing user communities, such as those for hazard assessment, crop forecasting, numerical weather prediction, and disease tracking.

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Jackson Tan, Walter A. Petersen, Pierre-Emmanuel Kirstetter, and Yudong Tian

Abstract

The Integrated Multisatellite Retrievals for GPM (IMERG), a global high-resolution gridded precipitation dataset, will enable a wide range of applications, ranging from studies on precipitation characteristics to applications in hydrology to evaluation of weather and climate models. These applications focus on different spatial and temporal scales and thus average the precipitation estimates to coarser resolutions. Such a modification of scale will impact the reliability of IMERG. In this study, the performance of the Final Run of IMERG is evaluated against ground-based measurements as a function of increasing spatial resolution (from 0.1° to 2.5°) and accumulation periods (from 0.5 to 24 h) over a region in the southeastern United States. For ground reference, a product derived from the Multi-Radar/Multi-Sensor suite, a radar- and gauge-based operational precipitation dataset, is used. The TRMM Multisatellite Precipitation Analysis (TMPA) is also included as a benchmark. In general, both IMERG and TMPA improve when scaled up to larger areas and longer time periods, with better identification of rain occurrences and consistent improvements in systematic and random errors of rain rates. Between the two satellite estimates, IMERG is slightly better than TMPA most of the time. These results will inform users on the reliability of IMERG over the scales relevant to their studies.

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