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G. Cristina Recalde-Coronel
,
Benjamin Zaitchik
,
William K. Pan
,
Yifan Zhou
, and
Hamada Badr

Abstract

Hydrological predictions at subseasonal-to-seasonal (S2S) time scales can support improved decision-making in climate-dependent sectors like agriculture and hydropower. Here, we present an S2S hydrological forecasting system (S2S-HFS) for western tropical South America (WTSA). The system uses the global NASA Goddard Earth Observing System S2S meteorological forecast system (GEOS-S2S) in combination with the generalized analog regression downscaling algorithm and the NASA Land Information System (LIS). In this implementation study, we evaluate system performance for 3-month hydrological forecasts for the austral autumn season (March–May) using ensemble hindcasts for 2002–17. Results indicate that the S2S-HFS generally offers skill in predictions of monthly precipitation up to 1-month lead, evapotranspiration up to 2 months lead, and soil moisture content up to 3 months lead. Ecoregions with better hindcast performance are located either in the coastal lowlands or in the Amazon lowland forest. We perform dedicated analysis to understand how two important teleconnections affecting the region are represented in the S2S-HFS: El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Antarctic Oscillation (AAO). We find that forecast skill for all variables at 1-month lead is enhanced during the positive phase of ENSO and the negative phase of AAO. Overall, this study indicates that there is meaningful skill in the S2S-HFS for many ecoregions in WTSA, particularly for long memory variables such as soil moisture. The skill of the precipitation forecast, however, decays rapidly after forecast initialization, a phenomenon that is consistent with S2S meteorological forecasts over much of the world.

Open access
Guo-Shiuan Lin
,
Ruben Imhoff
,
Marc Schleiss
, and
Remko Uijlenhoet

Abstract

Radar rainfall nowcasting has mostly been applied to relatively large (often rural) domains (e.g., river basins), although rainfall nowcasting in small urban areas is expected to be more challenging. Here, we selected 80 events with high rainfall intensities (at least one 1-km2 grid cell experiences precipitation >15 mm h−1 for 1-h events or 30 mm day−1 for 24-h events) in five urban areas (Maastricht, Eindhoven, The Hague, Amsterdam, and Groningen) in the Netherlands. We evaluated the performance of 9060 probabilistic nowcasts with 20 ensemble members by applying the short-term ensemble prediction system (STEPS) from Pysteps to every 10-min issue time for the selected events. We found that nowcast errors increased with decreasing (urban) areas especially when below 100 km2. In addition, at 30-min lead time, the underestimation of nowcasts was 38% larger and the discrimination ability was 11% lower for 1-h events than for 24-h events. A set of gridded correction factors for the Netherlands, CARROTS (Climatology-based Adjustments for Radar Rainfall in an Operational Setting) could adjust the bias in real-time QPE and nowcasts by 70%. Yet, nowcasts were still found to underestimate rainfall more than 50% above 40-min lead time relative to the reference, which indicates that this error originates from the nowcasting model itself. Also, CARROTS did not adjust the rainfall spatial distribution in urban areas much. In summary, radar-based nowcasting for urban areas (between 67 and 213 km2) in the Netherlands exhibits a short skillful lead time of about 20 min, which can only be used for last-minute warning and preparation.

Open access
Maria Laura Poletti
,
Martina Lagasio
,
Antonio Parodi
,
Massimo Milelli
,
Vincenzo Mazzarella
,
Stefano Federico
,
Lorenzo Campo
,
Marco Falzacappa
, and
Francesco Silvestro

Abstract

Flood forecasting remains a significant challenge, particularly when dealing with basins characterized by small drainage areas (i.e., 103 km2 or lower with response time in the range 0.5–10 h) especially because of the rainfall prediction uncertainties. This study aims to investigate the performances of streamflow predictions using two short-term rainfall forecast methods. These methods utilize a combination of a nowcasting extrapolation algorithm and numerical weather predictions by employing a three-dimensional variational assimilation system, and nudging assimilation techniques, meteorological radar, and lightning data that are frequently updated, allowing new forecasts with high temporal frequency (i.e., 1–3 h). A distributed hydrological model is used to convert rainfall forecasts into streamflow prediction. The potential of assimilating radar and lightning data, or radar data alone, is also discussed. A hindcast experiment on two rainy periods in the northwest region of Italy was designed. The selected skill scores were analyzed to assess their degradation with increasing lead time, and the results were further aggregated based on basin dimensions to investigate the catchment integration effect. The findings indicate that both rainfall forecast methods yield good performance, with neither definitively outperforming the other. Furthermore, the results demonstrate that, on average, assimilating both radar and lightning data enhances the performance.

Open access
Xiaodong Hong
and
Qingfang Jiang

Abstract

The impact of land surface snow processes on the Arctic stable boundary layer (ASBL) is investigated using the Navy’s Coupled Ocean/Atmosphere Mesoscale Prediction System (COAMPS) to reduce the cold bias caused by decoupling between the land surface and atmosphere. The Noah land surface model (LSM) with improved snow processes is examined using COAMPS forecast forcing in the one-dimensional mode for one month. The new snow physics shows that the snow properties, roughness length, and sensible heat flux are modified as expected to compensate for the old LSM deficiency. These new snow processes are incorporated into the COAMPS Noah LSM, and the 48-h forecasts using both old and new Noah LSMs are performed for January 2021 with an every-6-h data assimilation update cycle. Standard verifications of the 48-h forecasts have used all available observational datasets and the snow depth from the Land Information System (LIS) analyses. The statistics have shown reduced monthly mean cold biases ∼1°C by the new snow physics. The weaker strength of surface inversion and stronger turbulence kinetic energy (TKE) from the new snow physics provides a higher boundary layer due to significantly stronger eddy mixing. The simulations have also shown the insignificant impact of different lateral boundary conditions obtained from the global forecasts or analyses on the results of the new snow physics. This study highlights the importance of the revised snow physics in Noah LSM for reducing the decoupling problem, improving the forecasts, and studying ASBL physics over the Arctic region.

Open access
Haochen Tan
,
Rao Kotamarthi
, and
Pallav Ray

Abstract

The surface sensible heat flux induced by precipitation (QP ) is a consequence of the temperature difference between the surface and the rain droplets. Despite its seemingly negligible nature, QP is frequently omitted from both meteorological and climatological models. Nevertheless, it is important to acknowledge the numerous occasions in which the instantaneous values of QP can be significant, particularly during extreme precipitation events. This study undertakes a comprehensive assessment of QP across the contiguous United States (CONUS) utilizing high-resolution reanalysis, observational data, and numerical modeling to examine the influence of QP on precipitation and the surface energy budget. The findings indicate that the spatial distribution of QP climatology is analogous to that of precipitation, with magnitudes ranging from 2 to 3 W m−2 predominantly over the Midwest and Southeast regions. A seasonal analysis of QP reveals that the highest values occurring during the June–August (JJA) period, averaging 3.18 W m−2. Peak QP values of approximately 4 W m−2 are observed during JJA over the Great Plains region. We hypothesize that the QP during an extreme precipitation event would be nonnegligible and have a significant impact on the local weather. To test this conjecture, we perform high-resolution simulations with and without QP during an extreme precipitation event over the Chicago Metropolitan Area (CMA). The results show that the QP may be a dominant factor compared to other components of surface heat flux during the zenith of precipitation hours. Also, QP has the potential to not only diminish precipitation but also alter and reconfigure the remaining surface energy budget components.

Open access
Juliana Valencia
,
Johanna Yepes
,
John F. Mejía
,
Alejandro Builes-Jaramillo
, and
Hernán D. Salas

Abstract

This study investigates how convectively coupled tropical easterly waves (TEWs) affect the Choco low-level jet (ChocoJet) as they move across the western Caribbean. The ChocoJet is a low-level flow over the eastern Pacific (EPAC) that modulates precipitation patterns over the tropical eastern Pacific and northwestern South America. By combining data from the Organization of Tropical East Pacific Convection (OTREC; August–September 2019), ERA5 reanalysis products, and satellite data, we analyze precipitation and circulation patterns during convectively coupled and nonconvectively coupled TEWs, comparing them to non-TEW days. During convectively coupled TEWs days, the ChocoJet strengthens and becomes more southerly, while the ITCZ moves northward, leading to enhanced precipitation over the western Caribbean and drier conditions over the northern part of the Colombian Pacific. In contrast, nonconvectively coupled TEW days exhibit reduced precipitation and precipitable water over the Caribbean and far EPAC, with a layer of northeasterly flow centered at 850 hPa flowing over a shallower, weaker, and more westerly ChocoJet. Additionally, convectively coupled TEWs are associated with a weaker western Caribbean and far eastern Pacific pressure gradient compared to nonconvective TEWs. These observable and predictable synoptic-scale circulation–precipitation relationships contribute to a better understanding of hydrometeorological variability in the region.

Significance Statement

Tropical easterly waves and related convective organization traversing the Caribbean Sea are important sources of synoptic-scale precipitation–circulation variability in the far eastern Pacific and Colombian Pacific. This eastern tropical Pacific study aims to identify precipitation–circulation relationships that enhance the understanding of synoptic-scale meteorological phenomena.

Open access
Madeleine Pascolini-Campbell
and
John T. Reager

Abstract

Extreme hydrological events (including droughts and floods) produce severe social and economic impacts. Monitoring hydrological processes from remote sensing is necessary to improve understanding and preparedness for these events, with current missions focusing on a range of hydrological variables (i.e., SWOT, SMAP, and GRACE). This study uses output from three state-of-the-art land surface assimilation models and an event clustering algorithm to identify the characteristic spatial and temporal scales of large-scale extreme dry and wet events in the contiguous United States for three major hydrological processes: precipitation, runoff, and soil moisture. We also examine the sensitivity of extreme event characteristics to model resolution and assess intermodel differences. We find that models generally agree in terms of the mean characteristics of events: precipitation dry events are of shorter duration in comparison with soil moisture and runoff events, and more intense events tend to be smaller in area. We also find that mean spatial and temporal characteristics are highly dependent on model resolution—important in the context of detecting and monitoring these events. Results from this study can be used to inform land surface model development, extreme hydrology event detection, and sampling requirements of upcoming remote sensing missions in hydrology.

Significance Statement

Understanding the fundamental characteristics of dry and wet extreme events (droughts and floods) is of importance for improving our preparedness and response to events, as well as for designing satellite observing systems that can adequately monitor them. Here we use output from land surface models to determine the average size and duration of large-scale extreme events for the contiguous United States using fine temporal data. We find that events that are most extreme—the most severe floods and droughts—tend to be shorter in duration and smaller in size. We also present an assessment of how three commonly used land surface models detect extreme hydrological events, which is important for assessments based on models. These findings are important for understanding the proportion of events that may be not adequately resolved by current hydrology remote sensing missions.

Open access
H. A. Titley
,
H. L. Cloke
,
E. M. Stephens
,
F. Pappenberger
, and
E. Zsoter

Abstract

Fluvial flooding is a major cause of death and damages from tropical cyclones (TCs), so it is important to understand the predictability of river flooding in TC cases, and the potential of global ensemble flood forecast systems to inform warning and preparedness activities. This paper demonstrates a methodology using ensemble forecasts to follow predictability and uncertainty through the forecast chain in the Global Flood Awareness System (GloFAS) to explore the connections between the skill of the TC track, intensity, precipitation, and river discharge forecasts. Using the case of Hurricane Iota, which brought severe flooding to Central America in November 2020, we assess the performance of each ensemble member at each stage of the forecast, along with the overall spread and change between forecast runs, and analyze the connections between each forecast component. Strong relationships are found between track, precipitation, and river discharge skill. Changes in TC intensity skill only result in significant improvements in discharge skill in river catchments close to the landfall location that are impacted by the heavy rains around the eyewall. The rainfall from the wider storm circulation is crucial to flood impacts in most of the affected river basins, with a stronger relationship with the post-landfall track error rather than the precise landfall location. We recommend the wider application of this technique in TC cases to investigate how this cascade of predictability varies with different forecast and geographical contexts in order to help inform flood early warning in TCs.

Significance Statement

This study demonstrates a methodology to analyze the cascade of predictability and uncertainty through the various stages of the tropical cyclone (TC) flood forecasting chain, illustrating how it can provide useful information to modelers interested in optimizing flood forecast skill, and to those who prepare and communicate flood forecasts with stakeholders and end-users in TC cases. The results highlight the importance of improving verification of ensemble TC precipitation forecasts, and of focusing on more than just the category of the storm and landfall location when forecasting and communicating flood impacts in TC cases.

Open access
Daniel C. Watters
,
Patrick N. Gatlin
,
David T. Bolvin
,
George J. Huffman
,
Robert Joyce
,
Pierre Kirstetter
,
Eric J. Nelkin
,
Sarah Ringerud
,
Jackson Tan
,
Jianxin Wang
, and
David Wolff

Abstract

NASA’s multisatellite precipitation product from the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission, the Integrated Multi-satellitE Retrievals for GPM (IMERG) product, is validated over tropical and high-latitude oceans from June 2014 to August 2021. This oceanic study uses the GPM Validation Network’s island-based radars to assess IMERG when the GPM Core Observatory’s Microwave Imager (GMI) observes precipitation at these sites (i.e., IMERG-GMI). Error tracing from the Level 3 (gridded) IMERG V06B product back through to the input Level 2 (satellite footprint) Goddard Profiling Algorithm GMI V05 climate (GPROF-CLIM) product quantifies the errors separately associated with each step in the gridding and calibration of the estimates from GPROF-CLIM to IMERG-GMI. Mean relative bias results indicate that IMERG-GMI V06B overestimates Alaskan high-latitude oceanic precipitation by +147% and tropical oceanic precipitation by +12% with respect to surface radars. GPROF-CLIM V05 overestimates Alaskan oceanic precipitation by +15%, showing that the IMERG algorithm’s calibration adjustments to the input GPROF-CLIM precipitation estimates increase the mean relative bias in this region. In contrast, IMERG adjustments are minimal over tropical waters with GPROF-CLIM overestimating oceanic precipitation by +14%. This study discovered that the IMERG V06B gridding process incorrectly geolocated GPROF-CLIM V05 precipitation estimates by 0.1° eastward in the latitude band 75°N–75°S, which has been rectified in the IMERG V07 algorithm. Correcting for the geolocation error in IMERG-GMI V06B improved oceanic statistics, with improvements greater in tropical waters than Alaskan waters. This error tracing approach enables a high-precision diagnosis of how different IMERG algorithm steps contribute to and mitigate errors, demonstrating the importance of collaboration between evaluation studies and algorithm developers.

Significance Statement

Evaluation of IMERG’s oceanic performance is very limited to date. This study uses the GPM Validation Network to conduct the first extensive assessment of IMERG V06B at its native resolution over both high-latitude and tropical oceans, and traces errors in IMERG-GMI back through to the input GPROF-CLIM GMI product. IMERG-GMI overestimates tropical oceanic precipitation (+12%) and strongly overestimates Alaskan oceanic precipitation (+147%) with respect to the island-based radars studied. IMERG’s GMI estimates are assessed as these should be the optimal estimates within the multisatellite product due to the GMI’s status as calibrator of the GPM passive microwave constellation.

Open access
Balaji Kumar Seela
,
Jayalakshmi Janapati
,
Pay-Liam Lin
,
Chen-Hau Lan
, and
Mu-Qun Huang

Abstract

Global precipitation demonstrates a substantial role in the hydrological cycle and offers tremendous implications in hydrometeorological studies. Advanced remote sensing instrumentations, such as the NASA Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR), can estimate precipitation and cloud properties and have a unique capability to estimate the raindrop size information globally at snapshots in time. The present study validates the Level-2 data products of the GPM DPR with the long-term measurements of seven north Taiwan Joss–Waldvogel disdrometers from 2014 to 2022. The precipitation and drop size distribution parameters like rainfall rate (R; mm h−1), radar reflectivity factor (dBZ), mass-weighted mean drop diameter (Dm ; mm), and normalized intercept parameter (Nw ; m−3 mm−1) of the GPM DPR are compared with the disdrometers. Four different comparison approaches (point match, 5-km average, 10-km average, and optimal method) are used for the validation; among these four, the optimal strategy provided reasonable agreement between the GPM DPR and the disdrometers. The GPM DPR revealed superior performance in estimating the rain parameters in stratiform precipitation than the convective precipitation. Irrespective of algorithm type (dual- or single-frequency algorithm), sensitivity analysis revealed superior agreement for the mass-weighted mean diameter and inferior agreement for the normalized intercept parameter.

Open access