IFloodS 2013: A Field Campaign to Support the NASA-JAXA Global Precipitation Measurement Mission

Description:

This Special Collection of the Journal of Hydrometeorology covers analyses of data collected during the spring 2013 Iowa Flood Studies (IFloodS) field campaign. IFloodS was conducted in Eastern Iowa under the auspices of the NASA’s Ground Validation component of the Global Precipitation Measurement Mission and in collaboration with the Iowa Flood Center. The main objective of the campaign was the collection of hydrometeorological data to support satellite-based rainfall estimation algorithms and to evaluate the skills of flood forecasting models driven by remote sensing products. Observational assets deployed in Iowa included NASA’s S-band polarimetric radar (NPOL), Dual-frequency Dual-polarimetric Doppler radar D3R, four University of Iowa mobile X-band polarimetric radars, a network of optical disdrometers, and numerous rainfall, soil moisture and stream gauges. A wide variety of precipitation event types occurred during the campaign and vast quantities of hydrometeorological data were collected. An important aspect of the campaign is an exploration of the scale effect on the performance of rainfall estimation algorithms--both space- and ground-based--and the hydrologic rainfall-runoff models used for flood prediction. The collected data have been archived by NASA within the Global Hydrology Resource Center Distributed Active Archive and will continue to support a wide variety of studies.

Collection organizers:
Dr. Walt Petersen, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center
Dr. Witold F. Krajewski, Iowa Flood Center

IFloodS 2013: A Field Campaign to Support the NASA-JAXA Global Precipitation Measurement Mission

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 16 items for

  • All content x
Clear All
Bong-Chul Seo, Witold F. Krajewski, Felipe Quintero, Mohamed ElSaadani, Radoslaw Goska, Luciana K. Cunha, Brenda Dolan, David B. Wolff, James A. Smith, Steven A. Rutledge, and Walter A. Petersen

Abstract

This study describes the generation and testing of a reference rainfall product created from field campaign datasets collected during the NASA Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission Ground Validation Iowa Flood Studies (IFloodS) experiment. The study evaluates ground-based radar rainfall (RR) products acquired during IFloodS in the context of building the reference rainfall product. The purpose of IFloodS was not only to attain a high-quality ground-based reference for the validation of satellite rainfall estimates but also to enhance understanding of flood-related rainfall processes and the predictability of flood forecasting. We assessed the six RR estimates (IFC, Q2, CSU-DP, NWS-DP, Stage IV, and Q2-Corrected) using data from rain gauge and disdrometer networks that were located in the broader field campaign area of central and northeastern Iowa. We performed the analyses with respect to time scales ranging from 1 h to the entire campaign period in order to compare the capabilities of each RR product and to characterize the error structure at scales that are frequently used in hydrologic applications. The evaluation results show that the Stage IV estimates perform superior to other estimates, demonstrating the need for gauge-based bias corrections of radar-only products. This correction should account for each product’s algorithm-dependent error structure that can be used to build unbiased rainfall products for the campaign reference. We characterized the statistical error structures (e.g., systematic and random components) of each RR estimate and used them for the generation of a campaign reference rainfall product. To assess the hydrologic utility of the reference product, we performed hydrologic simulations driven by the reference product over the Turkey River basin. The comparison of hydrologic simulation results demonstrates that the campaign reference product performs better than Stage IV in streamflow generation.

Full access
Haonan Chen, V. Chandrasekar, and Renzo Bechini

Abstract

Compared to traditional single-polarization radar, dual-polarization radar has a number of advantages for quantitative precipitation estimation because more information about the drop size distribution and hydrometeor type can be gleaned. In this paper, an improved dual-polarization rainfall methodology is proposed, which is driven by a region-based hydrometeor classification mechanism. The objective of this study is to incorporate the spatial coherence and self-aggregation of dual-polarization observables in hydrometeor classification and to produce robust rainfall estimates for operational applications. The S-band dual-polarization data collected from the NASA Polarimetric (NPOL) radar during the GPM Iowa Flood Studies (IFloodS) ground validation field campaign are used to demonstrate and evaluate the proposed rainfall algorithm. Results show that the improved rainfall method provides better performance than a few single- and dual-polarization algorithms in previous studies. This paper also investigates the impact of radar beam broadening on various rainfall algorithms. It is found that the radar-based rainfall products are less correlated with ground disdrometer measurements as the distance from the radar increases.

Full access
Merhala Thurai, Kumar Vijay Mishra, V. N. Bringi, and Witold F. Krajewski

Abstract

Data analyses for the mobile Iowa X-band polarimetric (XPOL) radar from a long-duration rain event that occurred during the NASA Iowa Flood Studies (IFloodS) field campaign are presented. A network of six 2D video disdrometers (2DVDs) is used to derive four rain-rate estimators for the XPOL-5 radar. The rain accumulation validations with a collocated network of twin and triple tipping-bucket rain gauges have highlighted the need for combined algorithms because no single estimator was found to be sufficient for all cases considered. A combined version of weighted and composite algorithms is introduced, including a new R(A h, Z dr) rainfall estimator for X band, where A h is the specific attenuation for horizontal polarization and Z dr is the differential reflectivity. Based on measurement and algorithm errors, the weights are derived to be as piecewise constant functions over reflectivity values. The weights are later turned into continuous functions using smoothing splines. A methodology to derive the weights in near–real time is proposed for the composite-weighted algorithm. Comparisons of 2-h accumulations and 8-h event totals obtained from the XPOL-5 with 12 rain gauges have shown 10%–40% improvement in normalized bias over individual rainfall estimators. The analyses have enabled the development of rain-rate estimators for the Iowa XPOL.

Full access
Huan Wu, Robert F. Adler, Yudong Tian, Guojun Gu, and George J. Huffman

Abstract

A multiple-product-driven hydrologic modeling framework (MMF) is utilized for evaluation of quantitative precipitation estimation (QPE) products, motivated by improving the utility of satellite QPE in global flood modeling. This work addresses the challenge of objectively determining the relative value of various QPEs at river basin/subbasin scales. A reference precipitation dataset is created using a long-term water-balance approach with independent data sources. The intercomparison of nine QPEs and corresponding hydrologic simulations indicates that all products with long-term (2002–13) records have similar merits as over the short-term (April–June 2013) Iowa Flood Studies period. The model performance in calculated streamflow varies approximately linearly with precipitation bias, demonstrating that the model successfully translated the level of precipitation quality to streamflow quality with better streamflow simulations from QPEs with less bias. Phase 2 of the North American Land Data Assimilation System (NLDAS-2) has the best streamflow results for the Iowa–Cedar River basin, with daily and monthly Nash–Sutcliffe coefficients and mean annual bias of 0.81, 0.88, and −2.1%, respectively, for the long-term period. The evaluation also indicates that a further adjustment of NLDAS-2 to form the best precipitation estimation should consider spatial–temporal distribution of bias. The satellite-only products have lower performance (peak and timing) than other products, while simple bias adjustment can intermediately improve the quality of simulated streamflow. The TMPA research product (TMPA-RP; research-quality data) can generate results approaching those of the ground-based products with only monthly gauge-based adjustment to the TMPA real-time product (TMPA-RT; near-real-time data). It is further noted that the streamflow bias is strongly correlated to precipitation bias at various time scales, though other factors may play a role as well, especially on the daily time scale.

Full access
Young-Hee Ryu, James A. Smith, Mary Lynn Baeck, Luciana K. Cunha, Elie Bou-Zeid, and Witold Krajewski

Abstract

The regional water cycle is examined with a special focus on water vapor transport in Iowa during the Iowa Flood Studies (IFloodS) campaign period, April–June 2013. The period had exceptionally large rainfall accumulations, and rainfall was distributed over an unusually large number of storm days. Radar-derived rainfall fields covering the 200 000 km2 study region; precipitable water from a network of global positioning system (GPS) measurements; and vertically integrated water vapor flux derived from GPS precipitable water, radar velocity–azimuth display (VAD) wind profiles, and radiosonde humidity profiles are utilized. They show that heavy rainfall is relatively weakly correlated with precipitable water and precipitable water change, with somewhat stronger direct relationships to water vapor flux. Thermodynamic properties tied to the vertical distribution of water vapor play an important role in determining heavy rainfall distribution, especially for periods of strong southerly water vapor flux. The diurnal variation of the water cycle during the IFloodS field campaign is pronounced, especially for rainfall and water vapor flux. To examine the potential effects of relative humidity in the lower atmosphere on heavy rainfall, numerical simulations are performed. It is found that low-level moisture can greatly affect heavy rainfall amount under favorable large-scale environmental conditions.

Full access
Felipe Quintero, Witold F. Krajewski, Ricardo Mantilla, Scott Small, and Bong-Chul Seo

Abstract

Rainfall maps that are derived from satellite observations provide hydrologists with an unprecedented opportunity to forecast floods globally. However, the limitations of using these precipitation estimates with respect to producing reliable flood forecasts at multiple scales are not well understood. To address the scientific and practical question of applicability of space-based rainfall products for global flood forecasting, a data evaluation framework is developed that allows tracking the rainfall effects in space and time across scales in the river network. This provides insights on the effects of rainfall product resolution and uncertainty. Obtaining such insights is not possible when the hydrologic evaluation is based on discharge observations from single gauges. The proposed framework also explores the ability of hydrologic model structure to answer questions pertaining to the utility of space-based rainfall observations for flood forecasting. To illustrate the framework, hydrometeorological data collected during the Iowa Flood Studies (IFloodS) campaign in Iowa are used to perform a hydrologic simulation using two different rainfall–runoff model structures and three rainfall products, two of which are radar based [stage IV and Iowa Flood Center (IFC)] and one satellite based [TMPA–Research Version (RV)]. This allows for exploring the differences in rainfall estimates at several spatial and temporal scales and provides improved understanding of how these differences affect flood predictions at multiple basin scales. The framework allows for exploring the differences in peak flow estimation due to nonlinearities in the hydrologic model structure and determining how these differences behave with an increase in the upstream area through the drainage network. The framework provides an alternative evaluation of precipitation estimates, based on the diagnostics of hydrological model results.

Full access
Di Wu, Christa Peters-Lidard, Wei-Kuo Tao, and Walter Petersen

Abstract

The Iowa Flood Studies (IFloodS) campaign was conducted in eastern Iowa as a pre-GPM-launch campaign from 1 May to 15 June 2013. During the campaign period, real-time forecasts were conducted utilizing the NASA-Unified Weather Research and Forecasting (NU-WRF) Model to support the daily weather briefing. In this study, two sets of the NU-WRF rainfall forecasts are conducted with different soil initializations, one from the spatially interpolated North American Mesoscale Forecast System (NAM) and the other produced by the Land Information System (LIS) using daily analysis of bias-corrected stage IV data. Both forecasts are then compared with NAM, stage IV, and Multi-Radar Multi-Sensor (MRMS) quantitative precipitation estimation (QPE) to understand the impact of land surface initialization on the predicted precipitation. In general, both NU-WRF runs are able to reproduce individual peaks of precipitation at the right time. NU-WRF is also able to replicate a better rainfall spatial distribution compared with NAM. Further sensitivity tests show that the high-resolution runs (1 and 3 km) are able to better capture the precipitation event compared to its coarser-resolution counterpart (9 km). Finally, the two sets of NU-WRF simulations produce very close rainfall characteristics in bias, spatial and temporal correlation scores, and probability density function. The land surface initialization does not show a significant impact on short-term rainfall forecast, which is largely because of high soil moisture during the field campaign period.

Full access
Munir A. Nayak, Gabriele Villarini, and A. Allen Bradley

Abstract

Atmospheric rivers (ARs) play a major role in causing extreme precipitation and flooding over the central United States (e.g., Midwest floods of 1993 and 2008). The goal of this study is to characterize rainfall associated with ARs over this region during the Iowa Flood Studies (IFloodS) campaign that took place in April–June 2013. Total precipitation during IFloodS was among the five largest accumulations recorded since the mid-twentieth century over most of this region, with three of the heavy rainfall events associated with ARs. As a preliminary step, the authors evaluate how well different remote sensing–based precipitation products captured the rainfall associated with the ARs and find that stage IV is the product that shows the closest agreement to the reference data. Two of the three ARs during IFloodS occurred within extratropical cyclones, with the moist ascent associated with the presence of cold fronts. In the third AR, mesoscale convective systems resulted in intense rainfall at many locations. In all the three cases, the continued supply of warm water vapor from the tropics and subtropics helped sustain the convective systems. Most of the rainfall during these ARs was concentrated within ~100 km of the AR major axis, and this is the region where the rainfall amounts were highly positively correlated with the vapor transport intensity. Rainfall associated with ARs tends to be larger as these events mature over time. Although no major diurnal variation is detected in the AR occurrences, rainfall amounts during nocturnal ARs were higher than for ARs that occurred during the daytime.

Full access
Kumar Vijay Mishra, Witold F. Krajewski, Radoslaw Goska, Daniel Ceynar, Bong-Chul Seo, Anton Kruger, James J. Niemeier, Miguel B. Galvez, Merhala Thurai, V. N. Bringi, Leonid Tolstoy, Paul A. Kucera, Walter A. Petersen, Jacopo Grazioli, and Andrew L. Pazmany

Abstract

This article presents the data collected and analyzed using the University of Iowa’s X-band polarimetric (XPOL) radars that were part of the spring 2013 hydrology-oriented Iowa Flood Studies (IFloodS) field campaign, sponsored by NASA’s Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Ground Validation (GV) program. The four mobile radars have full scanning capabilities that provide quantitative estimation of the rainfall at high temporal and spatial resolutions over experimental watersheds. IFloodS was the first extensive test of the XPOL radars, and the XPOL radars demonstrated their field worthiness during this campaign with 46 days of nearly uninterrupted, remotely monitored, and controlled operations. This paper presents detailed postcampaign analyses of the high-resolution, research-quality data that the XPOL radars collected. The XPOL dual-polarimetric products and rainfall are compared with data from other instruments for selected diverse meteorological events at high spatiotemporal resolutions from unprecedentedly unique and vast data generated during IFloodS operations. The XPOL data exhibit a detailed, complex structure of precipitation viewed at multiple range resolutions (75 and 30 m). The inter-XPOL comparisons within an overlapping scanned domain demonstrate consistency across different XPOL units. The XPOLs employed a series of heterogeneous scans and obtained estimates of the meteorological echoes up to a range oversampling of 7.5 m. A finer-resolution (30 m) algorithm is described to correct the polarimetric estimates for attenuation at the X band and obtain agreement of attenuation-corrected products with disdrometers and NASA S-band polarimetric (NPOL) radar. The paper includes hardware characterization of Iowa XPOL radars conducted prior to the deployment in IFloodS following the GPM calibration protocol.

Full access
Andrea Thorstensen, Phu Nguyen, Kuolin Hsu, and Soroosh Sorooshian

Abstract

Calibration is a crucial step in hydrologic modeling that is typically handled by tuning parameters to match an observed hydrograph. In this research, an alternative calibration scheme based on soil moisture was investigated as a means of identifying the potentially heterogeneous calibration needs of a distributed hydrologic model. The National Weather Service’s (NWS) Hydrology Laboratory Research Distributed Hydrologic Model (HL-RDHM) was employed to carry out such a calibration, along with concentrated in situ soil moisture observations from the Iowa Flood Studies (IFloodS) field campaign in Iowa’s Turkey River basin. Synthetic, single-pixel experiments were conducted in order to identify parameters relevant to soil moisture dynamics and to test the ability of three calibration procedures (discharge, soil moisture, and hybrid based) to recapture prescribed parameter sets. It was found that three storage parameters of HL-RDHM could be consistently identified using soil moisture RMSE as the objective function and that the addition of discharge-based calibration led to more consistent parameter identification for all 11 storage and release parameters. Expanding to full-basin experiments, these three calibration procedures were applied following an investigation to find the most advantageous method of distributing the point-based calibrations carried out at each pixel collocated with an IFloodS observation site. A method based on pixel similarity was deemed most appropriate for this purpose. Additionally, streamflow simulations calibrated with soil moisture showed improvement in RMSE and Nash–Sutcliffe efficiency (NSE) for all calibration–validation events despite a short calibration period, a promising result when considering calibration of ungauged basins. However, supplementary evaluation metrics show mixed results for streamflow simulations, suggesting further investigation is required.

Full access