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  • Understanding Diurnal Variability of Precipitation through Observations and Models (UDVPOM) x
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Munehisa K. Yamamoto, Fumie A. Furuzawa, Atsushi Higuchi, and Kenji Nakamura

Abstract

Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) data during June–August 1998–2003 are used to investigate diurnal variations of rain and cloud systems over the tropics and midlatitudes. The peak time of the coldest minimum brightness temperature derived from the Visible and Infrared Scanner (VIRS) and the maximum rain rate derived from the Precipitation Radar (PR) and the TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI) are compared. Time distributions are generally consistent with previous studies. However, it is found that systematic shifts in peak time relative to each sensor appeared over land, notably over western North America, the Tibetan Plateau, and oceanic regions such as the Gulf of Mexico. The peak time shift among PR, TMI, and VIRS is a few hours.

The relationships among the amplitude of diurnal variation, convective frequency, storm height, and rain amount are further investigated and compared to the systematic peak time shifts. The regions where the systematic shift appears correspond to large amplitude of diurnal variation, high convective frequency, and high storm height. Over land and over ocean near the coast, the relationships are rather clear, but not over open ocean.

The sensors likely detect different stages in the evolution of convective precipitation, which would explain the time shift. The PR directly detects near-surface rain. The TMI observes deep convection and solid hydrometeors, sensing heavy rain during the mature stage. VIRS detects deep convective clouds in mature and decaying stages. The shift in peak time particularly between PR (TMI) and VIRS varies by region.

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Song Yang and Eric A. Smith

Abstract

This study investigates the variability of convective and stratiform rainfall from 8 yr (1998–2005) of Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Precipitation Radar (PR) and TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI) measurements, focusing on seasonal diurnal variability. The main scientific goals are 1) to understand the climatological variability of these two dominant forms of precipitation across the four cardinal seasons and over continents and oceans separately and 2) to understand how differences in convective and stratiform rainfall variations ultimately determine how the diurnal variability of the total rainfall is modulated into multiple modes.

There are distinct day–night differences for both convective and stratiform rainfall. Oceanic (continental) convective rainfall is up to 25% (50%) greater during nighttime (daytime) than daytime (nighttime). The seasonal variability of convective rainfall’s day–night difference is relatively small, while stratiform rainfall exhibits very apparent day–night variations with seasonal variability. There are consistent late evening diurnal peaks without obvious seasonal variations over ocean for convective, stratiform, and total rainfall. Over continents, convective and total rainfall exhibit consistent dominant afternoon peaks with little seasonal variations—but with late evening secondary peaks exhibiting seasonal variations. Stratiform rainfall over continents exhibits a consistent strong late evening peak and a weak afternoon peak, with the afternoon mode undergoing seasonal variability. Thus, the diurnal characteristics of stratiform rainfall appear to control the afternoon secondary maximum of oceanic rainfall and the late evening secondary peak of continental rainfall. Even at the seasonal–regional scale spatially or the interannual global scale temporally, the secondary mode can become very pronounced, but only on an intermittent basis. Overall, the results presented here demonstrate the importance of partitioning the total rainfall into convective and stratiform components and suggest that diurnal modes largely arise from distinct diurnal stratiform variations modulating convective variations.

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R. Cifelli, S. W. Nesbitt, S. A. Rutledge, W. A. Petersen, and S. Yuter

Abstract

This study examines the diurnal cycle of precipitation features in two regions of the tropical east Pacific where field campaigns [the East Pacific Investigation of Climate Processes in the Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere System (EPIC) and the Tropical Eastern Pacific Process Study (TEPPS)] were recently conducted. EPIC (10°N, 95°W) was undertaken in September 2001 and TEPPS (8°N, 125°W) was carried out in August 1997. Both studies employed C-band radar observations on board the NOAA ship Ronald H. Brown (RHB) and periodic upper-air sounding launches to observe conditions in the surrounding environment. Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Precipitation Radar (PR) and Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) IR data are used to place the RHB data in a climatological context and Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO) buoy data are used to evaluate changes in boundary layer fluxes in context with the observed diurnal cycle of radar observations of precipitation features.

Precipitation features are defined as contiguous regions of radar echo and are subdivided into mesoscale convective system (MCS) and sub-MCS categories. Results show that MCSs observed in EPIC and TEPPS have distinct diurnal signatures. Both regions show an increase in intensity starting in the afternoon hours, with the timing of maximum rain intensity preceding maxima in rain area and accumulation. In the TEPPS region, MCS rain rates peak in the evening and rain area and accumulation in the late night–early morning hours. In contrast, EPIC MCS rain rates peak in the late night–early morning, and rain area and accumulation are at a maximum near local sunrise. The EPIC observations are in agreement with previous satellite studies over the Americas, which show a phase lag response in the adjacent oceanic regions to afternoon–evening convection over the Central American landmass. Sub-MCS features in both regions have a broad peak extending through the evening to late night–early morning hours, similar to that for MCSs. During sub-MCS-only periods, the rainfall patterns of these features are closely linked to diurnal changes in SST and the resulting boundary layer flux variability.

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Donald Wylie

Abstract

Diurnal cycles of clouds were investigated using the NOAA series of polar-orbiting satellites. These satellites provided four observations per day for a continuous 11-yr period from 1986 to 1997. The High Resolution Infrared Radiation Sounder (HIRS) multispectral infrared data were used from the time trend analysis of Wylie et al. The previous study restricted its discussion to only the polar orbiters making observations at 0200 and 1400 LT because gaps in coverage occurred in the 0800 and 2000 LT coverage. This study shows diurnal cycles in cloud cover over 10% in amplitude in many regions, which is very similar to other studies that used geostationary satellite data. The use of only one of the polar-orbiting satellites by Wylie et al. caused biases up to 5% in small regions but in general they were small (e.g., ≤2% for most of the earth). The only consistently large bias was in high cloud cover over land in North America, Europe, and Asia north of 35°N latitude in the summer season where the 0200 and 1400 LT average high cloud frequency was 2%–5% more than the daily average. This occurred only in the summer season, not in the winter.

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Alex C. Ruane and John O. Roads

Abstract

Output from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction–Department of Energy (NCEP–DOE) Reanalysis 2 (R2) is passed through a broadband filter to determine the normalized covariances that describe the variance of the atmospheric water cycle at diurnal, annual, and intraseasonal (∼7–80 days) time scales. Vapor flux convergence is residually defined to close the water cycle between successive 3-hourly output times from 2002 to 2004, resulting in a balance between precipitation, evaporation, precipitable water tendency, and vertically integrated vapor flux convergence. The same balance holds at each time scale, allowing 100% of each variable’s temporal variance to be described by its covariance with other water cycle components in the same variance category. Global maps of these normalized covariances are presented to demonstrate the unique balances and exchanges that govern temporal variations in the water cycle.

The diurnal water cycle is found to be dominated by a land–sea contrast, with continents controlled thermodynamically through evaporation and the oceans following dynamic convergence. The annual time-scale features significant meridional structure, with the low latitudes described mostly through variability in convergence and the extratropics governed by the properties of advected continental and maritime air masses. Intraseasonal transients lack direct solar oscillations at the top of the atmosphere and are characterized by propagating dynamic systems that act to adjust the precipitable water content of unsaturated regions or exchange directly with precipitation in saturated areas.

By substituting the modeled precipitation with observation-based fields, a detailed description of the water cycle’s exchanges relating to the nocturnal precipitation maximum over the Midwest is obtained.

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T. N. Krishnamurti, C. Gnanaseelan, A. K. Mishra, and A. Chakraborty

Abstract

The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite supplemented with the Defense Meteorological Satellites Program (DMSP) microwave dataset provides accurate rain-rate estimates. Furthermore, infrared radiances from the geostationary satellites provide the possibility for mapping the diurnal change of tropical rainfall. Modeling of the phase and amplitude of the tropical rainfall is the theme of this paper. The present study utilizes a suite of global multimodels that are identical in all respects except for their cumulus parameterization algorithms. Six different cumulus parameterizations are tested in this study. These include the Florida State University (FSU) Modified Kuo Scheme (KUO), Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) Relaxed Arakawa–Schubert Scheme (RAS1), Naval Research Laboratory–Navy Operational Global Atmospheric Prediction System (NRL–NOGAPS) Relaxed Arakawa–Schubert Scheme (RAS2), NCEP Simplified Arakawa–Schubert Scheme (SAS), NCAR Zhang–McFarlane Scheme (ZM), and NRL–NOGAPS Emanuel Scheme (ECS). The authors carried out nearly 600 experiments with these six versions of the T170 Florida State University global spectral model. These are 5-day NWP experiments where the diurnal change datasets were archived at 3-hourly intervals. This study includes the estimation of skills of the phase and amplitudes of the diurnal rain using these member models, their ensemble mean, a multimodel superensemble, and those from a single unified model. Test results are presented for the global tropics and for some specific regions where the member models show difficulty in predicting the diurnal change of rainfall. The main contribution is the considerable improvement of the modeling of diurnal rain by deploying a multimodel superensemble and by constructing a single unified model. The authors also present a comparison of these findings on the modeling of diurnal rain from another suite of multimodels that utilized different versions of cloud radiation algorithms (instead of different cumulus parameterization schemes) toward defining the suite of multimodels. The principal result is that the superensemble does provide a future forecast for the total daily rain and for the diurnal change of rain through day 5 that is superior to forecasts provided by the best model. The training of the superensemble with good observed estimates of rain, such as those from TRMM, is necessary for such forecasts.

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Arindam Chakraborty and T. N. Krishnamurti

Abstract

The diurnal mode of the Asian summer monsoon during active and break periods is studied using four versions of the Florida State University (FSU) global spectral model (GSM). These versions differ in the formulation of cloud parameterization schemes in the model. Observational-based estimates show that there exists a divergent circulation at 200 hPa over the Asian monsoon region in the diurnal time scale that peaks at 1200 local solar time (LST) during break monsoon and at 1800 LST during active monsoon. A circulation in the opposite direction is seen near the surface. This circulation loop is completed by vertical ascending/descending motion over the monsoon domain and its surroundings. This study shows that global models have large phase and amplitude errors for the 200-hPa velocity potential and vertical pressure velocity over the monsoon region and its surroundings. Construction of a multimodel superensemble could reduce these errors substantially out to five days in advance. This was on account of assigning differential weights to the member models based on their past performance. This study also uses a unified cloud parameterization scheme that inherits the idea of a multimodel superensemble for combining member model forecasts. The advantage of this model is that it is an integrated part of the GSM and thus can improve the forecasts of other parameters as well through improved cloud cover. It was seen that this scheme had a larger impact on forecasting the diurnal cycle of cloud cover and precipitation of the Asian summer monsoon compared to circulation. The authors show that the diurnal circulation contributes to about 10% of the rate of change of total kinetic energy of the monsoon. Therefore, forecasting this pronounced diurnal mode has important implications for the energetics of the Asian summer monsoon.

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J. Li, S. Sorooshian, W. Higgins, X. Gao, B. Imam, and K. Hsu

Abstract

Diurnal variability is an important yet poorly understood aspect of the warm-season precipitation regime over southwestern North America. In an effort to improve its understanding, diurnal variability is investigated numerically using the fifth-generation Pennsylvania State University (PSU)–NCAR Mesoscale Model (MM5). The goal herein is to determine the possible influence of spatial resolution on the diurnal cycle.

The model is initialized every 48 h using the operational NCEP Eta Model 212 grid (40 km) model analysis. Model simulations are carried out at horizontal resolutions of both 9 and 3 km. Overall, the model reproduces the basic features of the diurnal cycle of rainfall over the core monsoon region of northwestern Mexico and the southwestern United States. In particular, the model captures the diurnal amplitude and phase, with heavier rainfall at high elevations along the Sierra Madre Occidental in the early afternoon that shifts to lower elevations along the west slopes in the evening. A comparison to observations (gauge and radar data) shows that the high-resolution (3 km) model generates better rainfall distributions on time scales from monthly to hourly than the coarse-resolution (9 km) model, especially along the west slopes of the Sierra Madre Occidental. The model has difficulty with nighttime rainfall along the slopes, over the Gulf of California, and over Arizona.

A comparison of surface wind data from three NCAR Integrated Sounding System (ISS) stations and the Quick Scatterometer (QuikSCAT) to the model reveals a low bias in the strength of the Gulf of California low-level jet, even at high resolution. The model results indicate that outflow from convection over northwestern Mexico can modulate the low-level jet, though the extent to which these relationships occur in nature was not investigated.

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Song Yang, Kwo-Sen Kuo, and Eric A. Smith

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.

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Song Yang and Eric A. Smith
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