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Daeho Jin, Lazaros Oreopoulos, Dongmin Lee, Jackson Tan, and Nayeong Cho

Abstract

In order to better understand cloud-precipitation relationships, we extend the concept of cloud regimes (CRs) developed from two-dimensional joint histograms of cloud optical thickness and cloud top pressure from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), to include precipitation information. Taking advantage of the high-resolution Integrated Multi-satellitE Retrievals for GPM (IMERG) precipitation dataset, we derive cloud-precipitation “hybrid” regimes by implementing a k-means clustering algorithm with advanced initialization and objective measures to determine the optimal number of clusters. By expressing the variability of precipitation rates within 1-degree grid cells as histograms and varying the relative weight of cloud and precipitation information in the clustering algorithm, we obtain several editions of hybrid cloud-precipitation regimes (CPRs), and examine their characteristics.

In the deep tropics, when precipitation is weighted weakly, the cloud part centroids of the hybrid regimes resemble their counterparts of cloud-only regimes, but combined clustering tightens the cloud-precipitation relationship by decreasing each regime’s precipitation variability. As precipitation weight progressively increases, the shape of the cloud part centroids becomes blunter, while the precipitation part sharpens. When cloud and precipitation are weighted equally, the CPRs representing high clouds with intermediate to heavy precipitation exhibit distinct enough features in the precipitation parts of the centroids to allow us to project them onto the 30-min IMERG domain. Such a projection overcomes the temporal sparseness of MODIS cloud observations associated with substantial rainfall, suggesting great application potential for convection-focused studies where characterization of the diurnal cycle is essential.

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Maike F. Holthuijzen, Brian Beckage, Patrick J. Clemins, Dave Higdon, and Jonathan M. Winter

Abstract

High-resolution, bias-corrected climate data are necessary for climate impact studies at local scales. Gridded historical data are convenient for bias correction but may contain biases resulting from interpolation. Long-term, quality-controlled station data are generally superior climatological measurements, but because the distribution of climate stations is irregular, station data are challenging to incorporate into downscaling and bias-correction approaches. Here, we compared six novel methods for constructing full-coverage, high-resolution, bias-corrected climate products using daily maximum temperature simulations from a regional climate model (RCM). Only station data were used for bias correction. We quantified performance of the six methods with the root-mean-square-error (RMSE) and Perkins skill score (PSS) and used two ANOVA models to analyze how performance varied among methods. We validated the six methods using two calibration periods of observed data (1980–89 and 1980–2014) and two testing sets of RCM data (1990–2014 and 1980–2014). RMSE for all methods varied throughout the year and was larger in cold months, whereas PSS was more consistent. Quantile-mapping bias-correction techniques substantially improved PSS, while simple linear transfer functions performed best in improving RMSE. For the 1980–89 calibration period, simple quantile-mapping techniques outperformed empirical quantile mapping (EQM) in improving PSS. When calibration and testing time periods were equivalent, EQM resulted in the largest improvements in PSS. No one method performed best in both RMSE and PSS. Our results indicate that simple quantile-mapping techniques are less prone to overfitting than EQM and are suitable for processing future climate model output, whereas EQM is ideal for bias correcting historical climate model output.

Open access
Cristian Muñoz and David M. Schultz

Abstract

A study of 500-hPa cutoff lows in central Chile during 1979–2017 was conducted to contrast cutoff lows associated with the lowest quartile of daily precipitation amounts (LOW25) with cutoff lows associated with the highest quartile (HIGH25). To understand the differences between low- and high-precipitation cutoff lows, daily precipitation records, radiosonde observations, and reanalyses were used to analyze the three ingredients necessary for deep moist convection (instability, lift, and moisture) at the eastern and equatorial edge of these lows. Instability was generally small, if any, and showed no major differences between LOW25 and HIGH25 events. Synoptic-scale ascent associated with Q-vector convergence also showed little difference between LOW25 and HIGH25 events. In contrast, the moisture distribution around LOW25 and HIGH25 cutoff lows was different, with a moisture plume that was more defined and more intense equatorward of HIGH25 cutoff lows as compared with LOW25 cutoff lows where the moisture plume occurred poleward of the cutoff low. The presence of the moisture plume equatorward of HIGH25 cutoff lows may have contributed to the shorter persistence of HIGH25 events by providing a source for latent-heat release when the moisture plume reached the windward side of the Andes. Indeed, whereas 48% of LOW25 cutoff lows persisted for longer than 72 h, only 25% of HIGH25 cutoff lows did, despite both systems occurring mostly during the rainy season (May–September). The occurrence of an equatorial moisture plume on the eastern and equatorial edge of cutoff lows is fairly common during high-impact precipitation events, and this mechanism could help to explain high-impact precipitation where the occurrence of cutoff lows and moisture plumes is frequent.

Open access
Joseph Sedlar, Laura D. Riihimaki, Kathleen Lantz, and David D. Turner

Abstract

Various methods have been developed to characterize cloud type, otherwise referred to as cloud regime. These include manual sky observations, combining radiative and cloud vertical properties observed from satellite, surface-based remote sensing, and digital processing of sky imagers. While each method has inherent advantages and disadvantages, none of these cloud-typing methods actually includes measurements of surface shortwave or longwave radiative fluxes. Here, a method that relies upon detailed, surface-based radiation and cloud measurements and derived data products to train a random-forest machine-learning cloud classification model is introduced. Measurements from five years of data from the ARM Southern Great Plains site were compiled to train and independently evaluate the model classification performance. A cloud-type accuracy of approximately 80% using the random-forest classifier reveals that the model is well suited to predict climatological cloud properties. Furthermore, an analysis of the cloud-type misclassifications is performed. While physical cloud types may be misreported, the shortwave radiative signatures are similar between misclassified cloud types. From this, we assert that the cloud-regime model has the capacity to successfully differentiate clouds with comparable cloud–radiative interactions. Therefore, we conclude that the model can provide useful cloud-property information for fundamental cloud studies, inform renewable energy studies, and be a tool for numerical model evaluation and parameterization improvement, among many other applications.

Open access
William A. Gough

Abstract

A newly developed precipitation phase metric is used to detect the impact of urbanization on the nature of precipitation at Toronto, Ontario, Canada, by contrasting the relative amounts of rain and snow. A total of 162 years of observed precipitation data were analyzed to classify the nature of winter-season precipitation for the city of Toronto. In addition, shorter records were examined for nearby climate stations in less-urbanized areas in and near Toronto. For Toronto, all winters from 1849 to 2010 as well as three climate normal periods (1961–90, 1971–2000, and 1981–2010) were thus categorized for the Toronto climate record. The results show that Toronto winters have become increasingly “rainy” across these time periods in a statistically significant fashion, consistent with a warming climate. Toronto was compared with the other less urban sites to tease out the impacts of the urban heat island from larger-scale warming. This yielded an estimate of 19%–27% of the Toronto shift in precipitation type (from snow to rain) that can be attributed to urbanization for coincident time periods. Other regions characterized by similar climates and urbanization with temperatures near the freezing point are likely to experience similar climatic changes expressed as a change in the phase of winter-season precipitation.

Open access
Carolyne B. Machado, Thamiris L. O. B. Campos, Sameh A. Abou Rafee, Jorge A. Martins, Alice M. Grimm, and Edmilson D. de Freitas

Abstract

In the present work, the trend of extreme rainfall indices in the Macro-Metropolis of São Paulo (MMSP) was analyzed and correlated with largescale climatic oscillations. A cluster analysis divided a set of rain gauge stations into three homogeneous regions within MMSP, according to the annual cycle of rainfall. The entire MMSP presented an increase in the total annual rainfall, from 1940 to 2016, of 3 mm per year on average, according to Mann-Kendall test. However, there is evidence that the more urbanized areas have a greater increase in the frequency and magnitude of extreme events, while coastal and mountainous areas, and regions outside large urban areas, have increasing rainfall in a better-distributed way throughout the year. The evolution of extreme rainfall (95th percentile) is significantly correlated with climatic indices. In the center-north part of the MMSP, the combination of Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and Antarctic Oscillation (AAO) explains 45% of the P95th increase during the wet season. In turn, in southern MMSP, the Temperature of South Atlantic (TSA), the AAO, the El Niño South Oscillation (ENSO) and the Multidecadal Oscillation of the North Atlantic (AMO) better explain the increase in extreme rainfall (R2 = 0.47). However, the same is not observed during the dry season, in which the P95th variation was only negatively correlated with the AMO, undergoing a decrease from the ‘70s until the beginning of this century. The occurrence of rainy anomalous months proved to be more frequent and associated with climatic indices than dry months.

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Yuchuan Lai and David A. Dzombak

Abstract

An integrated technique combining global climate model (GCM) simulation results and a statistical time series forecasting model (the autoregressive integrated moving average ARIMA model) was developed to bring together the climate change signal from GCMs to city-level historical observations as an approach to obtain location-specific temperature and precipitation projections. This approach assumes that regional temperature and precipitation time series reflect a combination of an underlying climate change signal series and a regional-deviation-from-the-signal series. An ensemble of GCMs is used to describe and provide the climate change signal, and the ARIMA model is used to model and project the regional deviation. Qualitative and quantitative assessments were conducted for evaluating the projection performance of the hybrid GCM-ARIMA (G-ARIMA) model. The results indicate that the G-ARIMA model can provide projected city-specific daily temperature and precipitation series comparable to historical observations and can have improved projection accuracy for several assessed annual indices compared to a commonly used downscaled projection product. The G-ARIMA model is subject to some limitations and uncertainties from the GCM-provided climate change signal. A notable feature of the G-ARIMA model is the efficiency with which projections can be updated when new observations become available, thus facilitating updating of regional temperature and precipitations projections. Given the increasing need for and use of location-specific climate projections in practical engineering applications, the G-ARIMA model is an option for regional temperature and precipitation projection for such applications.

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Jennifer Nakamura, Upmanu Lall, Yochanan Kushnir, Patrick A. Harr, and Kyra McCreery

Abstract

We present a hurricane risk assessment model that simulates N. Atlantic tropical cyclone (TC) tracks and intensity, conditioned on the early season large-scale climate state. The model, C3-HITS (for Cluster-based Climate Conditioned Hurricane Intensity and Track Simulator), extends a previous version of HITS (Nakamura et al., 2015). HITS is a nonparametric, spatial semi-Markov, stochastic model that generates TC tracks by conditionally simulating segments of randomly varying lengths from the TC tracks contained in NOAA’s Best Track Data version 2 data set. The distance to neighboring tracks, track direction, TC wind speed, and age are used as conditioning variables. C3-HITS adds conditioning on two early season, large-scale climate covariates to condition the track simulation: the NINO3.4 index, representing the eastern equatorial Pacific sea surface temperature (SST) departure from climatology, and MDR, representing tropical N. Atlantic SST departure from climatology in the N. Atlantic TC Main Development Region. A track clustering procedure (Nakamura et al., 2009) is used to identify track families and a Poisson regression model is used to model the probabilistic number of storms formed in each cluster, conditional on the two climate covariates. The HITS algorithm is then applied to evolve these tracks forward in time. The output of this two-step, climate conditioned simulator is compared with an unconditional HITS application to illustrate its prognostic efficacy in simulating tracks during the subsequent season. As in the HITS model, each track retains information on velocity and other attributes that can be used for predictive coastal risk modeling for the upcoming TC season.

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Christian Philipp Lackner, Bart Geerts, and Yonggang Wang

Abstract

A high-resolution (4 km) regional climate simulation conducted with the Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) model is used to investigate potential impacts of global warming on skiing conditions in the interior western United States (IWUS). Recent past and near-future climate conditions are compared. The past climate period is from November 1981 to October 2011. The future climate applies to a 30-year period centered on 2050. A pseudo global warming approach is used, with the driver re-analysis dataset perturbed by the CMIP5 ensemble mean model guidance. Using the 30-year retrospective simulation, a vertical adjustment technique is used to determine meteorological parameters in the complex terrain where ski areas are located. For snow water equivalent (SWE), Snow Telemetry sites close to ski areas are used to validate the technique and apply a correction to SWE in ski areas. The vulnerability to climate change is assessed for 71 ski areas in the IWUS considering SWE, artificially produced snow, temperature, and rain. 20 of the ski areas will tend to have fewer than 100 days per season with sufficient natural and artificial snow for skiing. These ski areas are located at either low elevations or low latitudes making these areas the most vulnerable to climate change. Throughout the snow season, natural SWE decreases significantly at the low elevations and low latitudes. At higher elevations changes in SWE are predicted to not be significant in the mid-season. In mid-February, SWE decreases by 11.8% at the top elevations of ski areas while it decreases by 25.8% at the base elevations.

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Jinqin Xu, Yan Zeng, Xinfa Qiu, Yongjian He, Guoping Shi, and Xiaochen Zhu

Abstract

Drylands cover about half of the land surface in China and are highly sensitive to climate change. Understanding climate change and its impact drivers on dryland is essential for supporting dryland planning and sustainable development. Based on meteorological observations (period: 1960-2019), the aridity changes in drylands of China were evaluated using aridity index (AI), and the impact of various climatic factors (i.e., precipitation, P; sunshine duration, SSD; relative humidity, RH; maximum temperature, Tmax; minimum temperature, Tmin; wind speed, WS) on the aridity changes was decomposed and quantified. Results of trend analysis based on Sen’s slope estimator and Mann–Kendall test indicated that the aridity trends were very weak averaged over whole drylands in China during 1960-2019, but exhibited a significant wetting trend in hyper-arid and arid regions of drylands. AI was most sensitive to changes in water factors (i.e., P and RH), followed by SSD, Tmax and WS, but the sensitivity of AI to Tmin was very small and negligible. Interestingly, the dominant climatic driver to AI change varied in the four dryland subtypes. The significantly increased P dominated the increase in AI in the hyper-arid and arid regions. While the significantly reduced WS and the significantly increased Tmax contributed more to AI changes than the P in the semi-arid and dry subhumid regions of drylands. Previous studies emphasized the impact of precipitation and temperature on the global or regional dry-wet changes, however, the findings of this study suggested that beyond precipitation and temperature, the impact of wind speed on aridity changes of drylands in China should be given equal attention.

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