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Andrés A. Pérez Hortal
and
Daniel Michelson

Abstract

Removing nonweather echoes is a critical component of the quality control (QC) chain used in the context of radar data assimilation for numerical weather prediction, quantitative precipitation estimation, and nowcasting applications. Recent studies show that using a simple QC method based on the depolarization ratio (DR) performs remarkably well in many situations. Nonetheless, this method may misclassify echoes in regions affected by nonuniform beamfilling or melting particles. This study presents an updated version of this QC used to remove nonweather echoes that uses the DR-based classification together with a set of physically based rules for correcting misclassifications of hail, nonuniform beamfilling, and melting particles. The potential of the new QC is evaluated using a continental-scale monitoring framework that compares the radar observations after QC with the precipitation occurrence derived from aviation routine weather reports (METARs). For this evaluation, the study uses the radar data and the METARs available over North America during the summer of 2019 and winter of 2020. In addition, the study demonstrates the usefulness of the monitoring framework to determine the optimal QC configuration. Some practical limitations of using the METAR-derived precipitation to assess radar data quality are also discussed.

Open access
Paul Xavier Flanagan
and
Rezaul Mahmood

Abstract

The southern Great Plains (SGP) is defined by hydrometeorological swings between dry and wet extremes. These swings exacerbate the climatological gradients of moisture (from east to west) and temperature (from south to north), which can impact the agricultural production of the region. Thus, it is key to understand extremes to sustainably maintain agricultural success in the region. This study investigates the wet extremes, or extreme precipitation events, that have become more prominent in the last two decades. Data from 108 U.S. Historical Climatology Network stations were analyzed for the 1950–2020 period to detect changes in the frequency and magnitude of extreme precipitation events. Results show that changes in the magnitude of extreme precipitation are isolated and scattered across the SGP, with only the winter season showing regional shifts in extreme precipitation magnitude. Changes in the frequency of extreme precipitation events were noted across the entire SGP, although the changes in frequency are more notable in the eastern SGP than in the western SGP. Analysis shows that the increased number of events detected is driven more, but not exclusively, by the increasing spatial extent of individual extreme precipitation events than by an increased number of events. Overall, these results depict the changing nature of extreme precipitation within the SGP and differences in extreme precipitation between the eastern and western SGP.

Free access
Narayanan Kannan
and
Saseendran Anapalli

Abstract

In this study, the possible climate change impacts on irrigated corn production in the lower Mississippi delta (LMD) region were analyzed. The observed daily maximum and minimum air temperature, wind speed, relative humidity (RH), and precipitation from 1960 to 2018 were used in the analysis. The length of the growing season, evapotranspiration (ET), and crop yield estimates from the precalibrated Root Zone Water Quality Model (RZWQM) were also used. Trend analyses were performed on growing-season averages for temperature, RH, and wind speed; growing-season totals for precipitation and ET; daily values of minimum and maximum temperature; and averages of RH and wind speed at critical corn growth stages. The last day of spring freezing (LDSF) and days with an average daily air temperature Ta of more than 35°C during corn silking were also included in the analysis. The trend analysis was performed using the modified Mann–Kendall test, Pettitt test, and Sen’s slope at a significance level of p ≤ 0.05. The results from our study pointed out increases in minimum Ta , increases in the number of days with Ta exceeding 35°C during the corn silking stage, increases in RH and decreases in ET, advancement of the LDSF by 2 weeks, and 8% reductions in corn yield that could be attributed to changes in climate. If the observed trends in climate (climate variability and change) and yield reductions continue in the region, it could be challenging to grow the corn crop in the LMD profitably.

Significance Statement

In recent years, growing corn and soybeans instead of cotton has been gaining popularity in the lower Mississippi delta (LMD) region. Our study is aimed to understand how climate change in the recent past (1960–2018) has affected irrigated corn production in LMD. This will help us to better understand the expected consequences of the future climate. We used observations of daily weather data from 1960 to 2018 and corn yield, water balance, and crop yield results from a computer model designed to simulate corn production. Tools were used to analyze trends and patterns in the data and results. Our analysis pointed out significant changes in weather, water balance, and yield decline for irrigated corn in the LMD.

Free access
Sho Kawazoe
,
Masaru Inatsu
,
Tomohito J. Yamada
, and
Tsuyoshi Hoshino

Abstract

This study investigates the impact of future climate warming on tropical cyclones (TC) and extratropical cyclones (ETC) using the database for Policy Decision-Making for Future Climate Change (d4PDF) large ensemble simulations. Cyclone tracking was performed using the neighbor enclosed area tracking algorithm (NEAT), and TC and ETCs were identified over the western North Pacific Ocean (WNP). For cyclone frequency, it was revealed that, although a slight underestimation of the total number of TCs and ETCs in both the WNP and near Hokkaido, Japan, exists, the d4PDF reproduced the spatial distribution of both TC and ETC tracks well when compared with observations/reanalysis. The 4-K warming scenarios derived from six different sea surface temperature warming patterns showed robust decreases in TC frequency in the tropical WNP and a slight reduction in ETCs near Japan. Next, precipitation characteristics for TCs or ETCs in the vicinity of Hokkaido were examined using 5-km-mesh regional climate ensemble simulations. Four representative cyclone locations near Hokkaido are identified using K-means clustering and revealed distinct precipitation characteristics between clusters, with higher TC-associated precipitation than ETC-associated precipitation and the heaviest precipitation in the southern portion of the prefecture. The 4-K warming scenarios revealed increased precipitation for all cyclone placements for both TCs and ETCs. Last, average cyclone intensity, translation speed, and size were examined. It was shown that TCs in future climates are more intense, propagate more slowly, and are smaller in terms of enclosed vorticity area as they approach Hokkaido. For ETCs, mean intensity does not change much; they travel slightly faster, and become smaller.

Free access
Katie Lean
and
Niels Bormann

Abstract

This paper investigates the use of model cloud information in the assimilation of low-level atmospheric motion vectors (AMVs) in the ECMWF global data assimilation system, with the aim to characterize and address issues encountered in the assimilation of these observations. An analysis of background departure statistics (comparison of observations with the model background) shows that AMVs placed above the model cloud show larger deviations from the model background relative to those placed unrealistically close to the surface. Reassigning the pressure of AMVs diagnosed above the model cloud layer to either the model cloud top, cloud base, or average pressure leads to improvements in root-mean-square vector difference (RMSVD) and speed bias against the background wind fields. In assimilation experiments, reassigning AMVs placed above the model cloud to the model cloud top, cloud base, or average pressure results overall in a positive impact on subsequent forecasts. The reassignment to an average model cloud pressure performs best in this respect, and this approach has been implemented in the operational ECMWF system in October 2021.

Open access
David R. Mayers
,
Christopher S. Ruf
, and
April M. Warnock

Abstract

The Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) mission has generated several new ocean surface data products. Because of its high overpass rate and ability to measure surface wind speeds through weather, these data products are typically higher temporal resolution than traditional satellite tropical cyclone (TC) data products. However, the nature of the Global Navigation Satellite Systems reflectometry (GNSS-R) signal, which is essentially a single pixelwide measurement along the CYGNSS specular point (SP) track on the ground, necessitates aggregating the wind speed data over a period of time to accurately characterize TCs in terms of intensity and structure. The standard CYGNSS level 3 (L3) wind products are averaged over 1 h, which typically is not sufficient to produce an accurate characterization. A new L3 storm-centric gridded (SCG) wind speed product is presented here. It has been developed to improve upon the standard L3 algorithm for the purpose of providing better characterization of TC wind fields over their storm life cycle. This paper describes the L3 SCG algorithm, provides examples of L3 SCG wind fields, and discusses the potential uses and limitations of the new data product.

Open access
Yoav Benjamini
,
Amir Givati
,
Pavel Khain
,
Yoav Levi
,
Daniel Rosenfeld
,
Uri Shamir
,
Ayal Siegel
,
Assaf Zipori
,
Baruch Ziv
, and
David M. Steinberg

Abstract

After 38 years of operational cloud seeding for rain enhancement in northern Israel, the Israel 4 experiment was conducted to reassess its effect on rainfall and provide a basis to evaluate its utility. Operational seeding started after two randomized experiments, the second ending in 1976, found a large and statistically significant effect of cloud seeding on rainfall. Observational studies in later years raised doubts as to the magnitude of the effect, possibly because of changing climatological conditions. A carefully designed randomized experiment was conducted from 2013 to 2020. A unique feature of the design was the use of forecast rainfall on target, rather than rainfall in an unaffected area, as a control variate to attenuate variability. The Israel 4 experiment was stopped a year earlier than planned, because the result was disappointing: a 1.8% increase, p value = 0.4, and 95% confidence interval of (−11%, 16%). These results led to a decision by the Israel Water Authority to stop operational seeding.

Significance Statement

The recent cloud seeding experiment in northern Israel did not show a significant rainfall increase—unlike the sequence of seeding experiments conducted in Israel in the previous century.

Free access
Andrew Heymsfield
,
Aaron Bansemer
,
Gerald Heymsfield
,
David Noone
,
Mircea Grecu
, and
Darin Toohey

Abstract

Coincident radar data with Doppler radar measurements at X, Ku, Ka, and W bands on the NASA ER-2 aircraft overflying the NASA P-3 aircraft acquiring in situ microphysical measurements are used to characterize the relationship between radar measurements and ice microphysical properties. The data were obtained from the Investigation of Microphysics and Precipitation for Atlantic Coast-Threatening Snowstorms (IMPACTS). Direct measurements of the condensed water content and coincident Doppler radar measurements were acquired, facilitating improved estimates of ice particle mass, a variable that is an underlying factor for calculating and therefore retrieving the radar reflectivity Ze , median mass diameter Dm , particle terminal velocity, and snowfall rate S. The relationship between the measured ice water content (IWC) and that calculated from the particle size distributions (PSDs) using relationships developed in earlier studies, and between the calculated and measured radar reflectivity at the four radar wavelengths, are quantified. Relationships are derived between the measured IWC and properties of the PSD, Dm , Ze at the four radar wavelengths, and the dual-wavelength ratio. Because IWC and Ze are measured directly, the coefficients in the mass–dimensional relationship that best match both the IWC and Ze are derived. The relationships developed here, and the mass–dimensional relationship that uses both the measured IWC and Ze to find a best match for both variables, can be used in studies that characterize the properties of wintertime snow clouds.

Significance Statement

The goal of this study is to provide reliable microphysical measurements and algorithms to facilitate improvements in cloud model microphysical parameterizations and in retrieval of snow precipitation properties from spaceborne active remote sensors and to characterize ice and snow precipitation development within clouds. This work draws upon a unique set of in situ measurements of the ice and total water content coupled with overflying aircraft radar measurements at four radar wavelengths. Better estimates of the contributions of the ice phase to the total global precipitation using spaceborne radar data pave the way for assessing and advancing global climate modeling, thereby strengthening predictions of global climate change.

Free access
S. Khanal
,
S. Tiwari
,
A. F. Lutz
,
B. V. D. Hurk
, and
W. W. Immerzeel

Abstract

The climate of High Mountain Asia (HMA) has changed in recent decades. While the temperature is consistently increasing at a higher rate than the global warming rate, precipitation changes are inconsistent, with substantial temporal and spatial variation. Climate warming will have enormous consequences for hydroclimatic extremes. For the higher altitudes of the HMA, which are a significant source of water for the large rivers in Asia, often trends are calculated using a limited number of in situ observations mainly observed in valleys. This study explores the changes in mean, extreme, and compound-extreme climate variables and their seasonality along the full altitudinal range in HMA using daily ERA5 reanalysis data (1979–2018). Our results show that winter warming and summer wetting dominate the interior part of HMA. The results indicate a coherent significant increasing trend in the occurrence of heatwaves across all regions in HMA. The number of days with heavy precipitation shows more significant trends in southern and eastern basins than in other areas of HMA. The dry period occurrence shows a distinct demarcation between lower- and higher-altitude regions and is increasing for most basins. Although precipitation and temperature show variable tendencies, their compound occurrence is coherent in the monsoon-dominated basins. These changes in indicators of climatic extremes may imply substantial increases in the future occurrence of hazards such as floods, landslides, and droughts, which in turn impact economic production and infrastructure.

Open access
Jared A. Lee
,
Pedro A. Jiménez
,
Jimy Dudhia
, and
Yves-Marie Saint-Drenan

Abstract

Aerosol optical depth (AOD) is a primary source of solar irradiance forecast error in clear-sky conditions. Improving the accuracy of AOD in NWP models like WRF will thus reduce error in both direct normal irradiance (DNI) and global horizontal irradiance (GHI), which should improve solar power forecast errors, at least in cloud-free conditions. In this study clear-sky GHI and DNI was analyzed from four configurations of the WRF-Solar model with different aerosol representations: 1) the default Tegen climatology, 2) imposing AOD forecasts from the GEOS-5 model, 3) imposing AOD forecasts from the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) model, and 4) the Thompson–Eidhammer aerosol-aware water/ice-friendly aerosol climatology. More than 8 months of these 15-min output forecasts are compared with high-quality irradiance observations at NOAA SURFRAD and Solar Radiation (SOLRAD) stations located across CONUS. In general, WRF-Solar with GEOS-5 AOD had the lowest errors in clear-sky DNI, while WRF-Solar with CAMS AOD had the highest errors, higher even than the two aerosol climatologies, which is consistent with validation of the four AOD550 datasets against AERONET stations. For clear-sky GHI, the statistics differed little between the four models, as expected because of the lesser sensitivity of GHI to aerosol loading. Hourly average clear-sky DNI and GHI were also analyzed, and they were additionally compared with CAMS model output directly. CAMS irradiance performed competitively with the best WRF-Solar configuration (with GEOS-5 AOD). The markedly different performance of CAMS versus WRF-Solar with CAMS AOD indicates that CAMS is apparently less sensitive to AOD550 than WRF-Solar is.

Significance Statement

Particles in the atmosphere called aerosols, which can include dust, smoke, sea salt, sulfates, black carbon, and organic carbon, absorb and scatter incoming sunlight. Improving the representation of aerosols in numerical weather prediction models reduces forecast errors in solar irradiance at ground level, particularly direct normal irradiance, during cloud-free conditions. This in turn should result in improved accuracy of solar power forecasts, especially for concentrated solar power (CSP) plants. CSP plants tend to be built in more arid, less cloudy regions that are also prone to dust loading, so accurate aerosol forecasts are particularly relevant. Comparing four representations of aerosols in the WRF-Solar model over eight months of forecasts across the United States reveals substantial differences in clear-sky irradiance forecast skill.

Free access