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F. Joseph Turk, Sarah E. Ringerud, Yalei You, Andrea Camplani, Daniele Casella, Giulia Panegrossi, Paolo Sanò, Ardeshir Ebtehaj, Clement Guilloteau, Nobuyuki Utsumi, Catherine Prigent, and Christa Peters-Lidard

Abstract

A fully global satellite-based precipitation estimate that can transition across the changing Earth surface and complex land/water conditions is an important capability for many hydrological applications, and for independent evaluation of the precipitation derived from weather and climate models. This capability is inherently challenging owing to the complexity of the surface geophysical properties upon which the satellite-based instruments view. To date, these satellite observations originate primarily from a variety of wide-swath passive microwave (MW) imagers and sounders. In contrast to open ocean and large water bodies, the surface emissivity contribution to passive MW measurements is much more variable for land surfaces, with varying sensitivities to near-surface precipitation. The NASA–JAXA Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) spacecraft (2014–present) is equipped with a dual-frequency precipitation radar and a multichannel passive MW imaging radiometer specifically designed for precipitation measurement, covering substantially more land area than its predecessor Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM). The synergy between GPM’s instruments has guided a number of new frameworks for passive MW precipitation retrieval algorithms, whereby the information carried by the single narrow-swath precipitation radar is exploited to recover precipitation from a disparate constellation of passive MW imagers and sounders. With over 6 years of increased land surface coverage provided by GPM, new insight has been gained into the nature of the microwave surface emissivity over land and ice/snow-covered surfaces, leading to improvements in a number of physically and semiphysically based precipitation retrieval techniques that adapt to variable Earth surface conditions. In this manuscript, the workings and capabilities of several of these approaches are highlighted.

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David T. Bolvin, George J. Huffman, Eric J. Nelkin, and Jackson Tan

Abstract

Satellite-based precipitation estimates provide valuable information where surface observations are not readily available, especially over the large expanses of the ocean where in situ precipitation observations are very sparse. This study compares monthly precipitation estimates from the Integrated Multisatellite Retrievals for GPM (IMERG) with gauge observations from 37 low-lying atolls from the Pacific Rainfall Database for the period June 2000–August 2020. Over the analysis period, IMERG estimates are slightly higher than the atoll observations by 0.67% with a monthly correlation of 0.68. Seasonally, DJF shows excellent agreement with a near-zero bias, while MAM shows IMERG is low by 4.6%, and JJA is high by 1.2%. SON exhibits the worst performance, with IMERG overestimating by 6.5% compared to the atolls. The seasonal correlations are well contained in the range 0.67–0.72, with the exception of SON at 0.62. Furthermore, SON has the highest RMSE at 4.70 mm day−1, making it the worst season for all metrics. Scatterplots of IMERG versus atolls show IMERG, on average, is generally low for light precipitation accumulations and high for intense precipitation accumulations, with best agreement at intermediate rates. Seasonal variations exist at light and intermediate rate accumulations, but IMERG consistently overestimates at intense precipitation rates. The differences between IMERG and atolls vary over time but do not exhibit any discernable trend or dependence on atoll population. The PACRAIN atoll gauges are not wind-loss corrected, so application of an appropriate adjustment would increase the precipitation amounts compared to IMERG. These results provide useful insight to users as well as valuable information for future improvements to IMERG.

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Mengye Chen, Zhi Li, Shang Gao, Xiangyu Luo, Oliver E. J. Wing, Xinyi Shen, Jonathan J. Gourley, Randall L. Kolar, and Yang Hong

Abstract

Because climate change will increase the frequency and intensity of precipitation extremes and coastal flooding, there is a clear need for an integrated hydrology and hydraulic system that has the ability to model the hydrologic conditions over a long period and the flow dynamic representations of when and where the extreme hydrometeorological events occur. This system coupling provides comprehensive information (flood wave, inundation extents, and depths) about coastal flood events for emergency management and risk minimization. This study provides an integrated hydrologic and hydraulic coupled modeling system that is based on the Coupled Routing and Excessive Storage (CREST) model and the Australia National University-Geophysics Australia (ANUGA) model to simulate flood. Forced by the near-real-time Multi-Radar Multi-Sensor (MRMS) quantitative precipitation estimates, this integrated modeling system was applied during the 2017 Hurricane Harvey event to simulate the streamflow, the flood extent, and the inundation depth. The results were compared with postevent high-water-mark survey data and its interpolated flood extent by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Federal Emergency Management Agency flood insurance claims, as well as a satellite-based flood map, the National Water Model (NWM), and the Fathom (LISFLOOD-FP) model simulated flood map. The proposed hydrologic and hydraulic model simulation indicated that it could capture 87% of all flood insurance claims within the study area, and the overall error of water depth was 0.91 m, which is comparable to the mainstream operational flood models (NWM and Fathom).

Open access
Enrico Zorzetto and Laifang Li

Abstract

By modulating the moisture flux from ocean to adjacent land, the North Atlantic subtropical high (NASH) western ridge significantly influences summer-season total precipitation over the conterminous United States (CONUS). However, its influence on the frequency and intensity of daily rainfall events over the CONUS remains unclear. Here we introduce a Bayesian statistical model to investigate the impacts of the NASH western ridge position on key statistics of daily scale summer precipitation, including the intensity of rainfall events, the probability of precipitation occurrence, and the probability of extreme values. These statistical quantities play a key role in characterizing both the impact of wet extremes (e.g., the probability of floods) and dry extremes. By applying this model to historical rain gauge records (1948–2019) covering the entire CONUS, we find that the western ridge of the NASH influences the frequency of rainfall as well as the distribution of rainfall intensities over extended areas of the CONUS. In particular, we find that the NASH ridge also modulates the frequency of extreme rainfall, especially that over part of the Southeast and Upper Midwest. Our analysis underlines the importance of including the NASH western ridge position as a predictor for key statistical rainfall properties to be used for hydrological applications. This result is especially relevant for projecting future changes in daily rainfall regimes over the CONUS based on the predicted strengthening of the NASH in a warming climate.

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Andrea Camplani, Daniele Casella, Paolo Sanò, and Giulia Panegrossi

Abstract

This paper describes a new Passive Microwave Empirical Cold Surface Classification Algorithm (PESCA) developed for snow-cover detection and characterization by using passive microwave satellite measurements. The main goal of PESCA is to support the retrieval of falling snow, since several studies have highlighted the influence of snow-cover radiative properties on the falling-snow passive microwave signature. The developed method is based on the exploitation of the lower-frequency channels (<90 GHz), common to most microwave radiometers. The method applied to the conically scanning Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Microwave Imager (GMI) and the cross-track-scanning Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS) is described in this paper. PESCA is based on a decision tree developed using an empirical method and verified using the AutoSnow product built from satellite measurements. The algorithm performance appears to be robust both for sensors in dry conditions (total precipitable water < 10 mm) and for mean surface elevation < 2500 m, independent of the cloud cover. The algorithm shows very good performance for cold temperatures (2-m temperature below 270 K) with a rapid decrease of the detection capabilities between 270 and 280 K, where 280 K is assumed as the maximum temperature limit for PESCA (overall detection statistics: probability of detection is 0.98 for ATMS and 0.92 for GMI, false alarm ratio is 0.01 for ATMS and 0.08 for GMI, and Heidke skill score is 0.72 for ATMS and 0.69 for GMI). Some inconsistencies found between the snow categories identified with the two radiometers are related to their different viewing geometries, spatial resolution, and temporal sampling. The spectral signatures of the different snow classes also appear to be different at high frequency (>90 GHz), indicating potential impact for snowfall retrieval. This method can be applied to other conically scanning and cross-track-scanning radiometers, including the future operational EUMETSAT Polar System Second Generation (EPS-SG) mission microwave radiometers.

Open access
Nergui Nanding, Huan Wu, Jing Tao, Viviana Maggioni, Hylke E. Beck, Naijun Zhou, Maoyi Huang, and Zhijun Huang

Abstract

This study characterizes precipitation error propagation through a distributed hydrological model based on the river basins across the Contiguous United States (CONUS), to better understand the relationship between errors in precipitation inputs and simulated discharge (i.e., P-Q error relationship). The NLDAS-2 precipitation and its simulated discharge are used as the reference to compare with TMPA-3B42 V7, TMPA-3B42RT V7, StageIV, CPC-U, MERRA-2, and MSWEP-2.2 for 1,548 well gauged river basins. The relative errors in multiple conventional precipitation products and their corresponding discharges are analysed for the period of 2002-2013. The results reveal positive linear P-Q error relationships at annual and monthly timescales, and the stronger linearity for larger temporal accumulations. Precipitation errors can be doubled in simulated annual accumulated discharge. Moreover, precipitation errors are strongly dampened in basins characterized by temperate and continental climate regimes, particularly for peak discharges, showing highly nonlinear relationships. Radar-based precipitation product consistently shows dampening effects on error propagation through discharge simulations at different accumulation timescales compared to the other precipitation products. Although basin size and topography also influence the P-Q error relationship and propagation of precipitation errors, their roles depend largely on precipitation products, seasons and climate regimes.

Open access
Yanni Zhao, Rensheng Chen, Chuntan Han, Lei Wang, Shuhai Guo, and Junfeng Liu

Abstract

A precipitation observation network was constructed in a high-altitude area of the Qilian Mountains in Northwest China, which contained 23 sets of instruments. Because 21 sets of instruments were surrounded by protective fences, a precipitation intercomparison experiment was carried out at the highest station (4651 m) of the observation network with the same configuration to study the impact of wind on precipitation measurements under this configuration and to develop a correction method suitable for the entire network. The 30-min measured precipitation from June 2018 to October 2019 was corrected by transfer functions provided by Kochendorfer et al. (2017b), and their parameters were recalibrated with a local dataset. The results showed that the transfer functions fitted to the local dataset had a better performance than those using original parameters. Because of the influence of the experimental configuration on wind speed and direction, the root mean square error (RMSE) corrected with the original parameters increased by an average of 86%, but the RMSE adjusted by the new transfer functions decreased by 9%. Moreover, the resultant biases using new transfer functions were close to 0. The new coefficients of snowfall were derived by local measurements and applied to datasets from other sites within the Qilian Mountains observation network to evaluate their performances. The corrected snowfall at 21 stations increased by an average of 32.6 mm, and the relative precipitation increment ranged from 6% to 26%. This method can be used to correct snowfall in the observation network under the non-standard site configuration.

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Ryann A. Wakefield, David D. Turner, and Jeffrey B. Basara

Abstract

Land-atmosphere feedbacks are a critical component of the hydrologic cycle. Vertical profiles of boundary layer temperature and moisture, together with information about the land surface, are used to compute land-atmosphere coupling metrics. Ground based remote sensing platforms, such as the Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer (AERI), can provide high temporal resolution vertical profiles of temperature and moisture. When co-located with soil moisture, surface flux, and surface meteorological observations, such as at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Southern Great Plains (SGP) site, it is possible to observe both the terrestrial and atmospheric legs of land-atmosphere feedbacks. In this study, we compare a commonly used coupling metric computed from radiosonde-based data to that obtained from the AERI to characterize the accuracy and uncertainty in the metric derived from the two distinct platforms. This approach demonstrates the AERI’s utility where radiosonde observations are absent in time and/or space. Radiosonde and AERI based observations of the Convective Triggering Potential and Low-Level Humidity Index (CTP-HIlow) were computed during the 1200 UTC observation time and displayed good agreement during both 2017 and 2019 warm seasons. Radiosonde and AERI derived metrics diagnosed the same atmospheric preconditioning based upon the CTP-HIlow framework a majority of the time. When retrieval uncertainty was considered, even greater agreement was found between radiosonde and AERI derived classification. The AERI’s ability to represent this coupling metric well enabled novel exploration of temporal variability within the overnight period in CTP and HIlow. Observations of CTP-HIlow computed within a few hours of 1200 UTC were essentially equivalent, however with greater differences in time arose greater differences in CTP and HIlow.

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He Sun, Fengge Su, Zhihua He, Tinghai Ou, Deliang Chen, Zhenhua Li, and Yanping Li

Abstract

In this study, two sets of precipitation estimates based on the regional Weather Research and Forecasting model (WRF) –the high Asia refined analysis (HAR) and outputs with a 9 km resolution from WRF (WRF-9km) are evaluated at both basin and point scales, and their potential hydrological utilities are investigated by driving the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) large-scale land surface hydrological model in seven Third Pole (TP) basins. The regional climate model (RCM) tends to overestimate the gauge-based estimates by 20–95% in annual means among the selected basins. Relative to the gauge observations, the RCM precipitation estimates can accurately detect daily precipitation events of varying intensities (with absolute bias < 3 mm). The WRF-9km exhibits a high potential for hydrological application in the monsoon-dominated basins in the southeastern TP (with NSE of 0.7–0.9 and bias of -11% to 3%), while the HAR performs well in the upper Indus (UI) and upper Brahmaputra (UB) basins (with NSE of 0.6 and bias of -15% to -9%). Both the RCM precipitation estimates can accurately capture the magnitudes of low and moderate daily streamflow, but show limited capabilities in flood prediction in most of the TP basins. This study provides a comprehensive evaluation of the strength and limitation of RCMs precipitation in hydrological modeling in the TP with complex terrains and sparse gauge observations.

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Ryan A. Zamora, Benjamin F. Zaitchik, Matthew Rodell, Augusto Getirana, Sujay Kumar, Kristi Arsenault, and Ethan Gutmann

Abstract

Research in meteorological prediction on sub-seasonal to seasonal (S2S) timescales has seen growth in recent years. Concurrent with this, demand for seasonal drought forecasting has risen. While there is obvious synergy between these fields, S2S meteorological forecasting has typically focused on low resolution global models, while the development of drought can be sensitive to the local expression of weather anomalies and their interaction with local surface properties and processes. This suggests that downscaling might play an important role in the application of meteorological S2S forecasts to skillful forecasting of drought. Here, we apply the Generalized Analog Regression Downscaling (GARD) algorithm to downscale meteorological hindcasts from the NASA Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS) global S2S forecast system. Downscaled meteorological fields are then applied to drive offline simulations with the Catchment Land Surface Model (CLSM) to forecast United States Drought Monitor (USDM) style drought indicators derived from simulated surface hydrology variables. We compare the representation of drought in these downscaled hindcasts to hindcasts that are not downscaled, using the North American Land Data Assimilation System Phase 2 (NLDAS-2) dataset as an observational reference. We find that downscaling using GARD improves hindcasts of temperature and temperature anomalies, but the results for precipitation are mixed and generally small. Overall, GARD downscaling led to improved hindcast skill for total drought across the Contiguous United States (CONUS), and improvements were greatest for extreme (D3) and exceptional (D4) drought categories.

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