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J. Marshall Shepherd

Abstract

have responded with critical comments as to whether urbanization-enhanced precipitation is maximized in the south-southeast of Atlanta, Georgia, as was recently documented by The reply herein offers both general and specific responses to the issues raised by

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Lauren M. Hand
and
J. Marshall Shepherd

Abstract

This study used 9 yr (1998–2006) of warm-season (June–September) mean daily cumulative rainfall data from both the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Multisatellite Precipitation Analysis and rain gauge stations to examine spatial variability in warm-season rainfall events around Oklahoma City (OKC). It was hypothesized that with warm-season rainfall variability, under weakly forced conditions, a rainfall anomaly would be present in climatological downwind areas of OKC. Results from both satellite and gauge-based analyses revealed that the north-northeastern (NNE) regions of the metropolitan OKC area were statistically wetter than other regions. Climatological sounding and reanalysis data revealed that, on average, the NNE area of OKC was the climatologically downwind region, confirming that precipitation modification by the urban environment may be more dominant than agricultural/topographic influences on weakly forced days. The study also established that satellite precipitation estimates capture spatial rainfall variability as well as traditional ground-based resources do. TRMM products slightly underestimate the precipitation recorded by gauges, but the correlation R improves dramatically when the analysis is restricted to mean daily rainfall estimates from OKC urban grid cells containing multiple gauge stations (R 2 = 0.878). It was also quantitatively confirmed, using a relatively new concentration factor analysis, that prevailing wind–rainfall yields were consistent with the overall framework of an urban rainfall effect. Overall, the study establishes a prototype method for utilizing satellite-based rainfall estimates to examine rainfall modification by urbanization on global scales and in parts of the world that are not well instrumented with rain gauge or radar networks.

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J. Marshall Shepherd
,
Harold Pierce
, and
Andrew J. Negri

Abstract

Data from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite's precipitation radar (PR) were employed to identify warm-season rainfall (1998–2000) patterns around Atlanta, Georgia; Montgomery, Alabama; Nashville, Tennessee; and San Antonio, Waco, and Dallas, Texas. Results reveal an average increase of about 28% in monthly rainfall rates within 30–60 km downwind of the metropolis, with a modest increase of 5.6% over the metropolis. Portions of the downwind area exhibit increases as high as 51%. The percentage changes are relative to an upwind control area. It was also found that maximum rainfall rates in the downwind impact area exceeded the mean value in the upwind control area by 48%–116%. The maximum value was generally found at an average distance of 39 km from the edge of the urban center or 64 km from the center of the city. Results are consistent with the Metropolitan Meteorological Experiment (METROMEX) studies of St. Louis, Missouri, almost two decades ago and with more recent studies near Atlanta. The study establishes the possibility of utilizing satellite-based rainfall estimates for examining rainfall modification by urban areas on global scales and over longer time periods. Such research has implications for weather forecasting, urban planning, water resource management, and understanding human impact on the environment and climate.

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Theresa K. Andersen
,
David E. Radcliffe
, and
J. Marshall Shepherd

Abstract

Tropical cyclones (TCs) typically weaken or transition to extratropical cyclones after making landfall. However, there are cases of TCs maintaining warm-core structures and intensifying inland unexpectedly, referred to as TC maintenance or intensification events (TCMIs). It has been proposed that wet soils create an atmosphere conducive to TC maintenance by enhancing surface latent heat flux (LHF). In this study, “HYDRUS-1D” is used to simulate the surface energy balance in intensification regions leading up to four different TCMIs. Specifically, the 2-week magnitudes and trends of soil temperature, sensible heat flux (SHF), and LHF are analyzed and compared across regions. While TCMIs are most common over northern Australia, theoretically linked to large fluxes from hot sands, the results revealed that SHF and LHF are equally large over the south-central United States. Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA) 3-hourly LHF data were obtained for the same HYDRUS study regions as well as nearby ocean regions along the TC path 3 days prior (prestorm) to the TC appearance. Results indicate that the simulated prestorm mean LHF is similar in magnitude to that obtained from MERRA, with slightly lower values overall. The modeled 3-day mean fluxes over land are less than those found over the ocean; however, the maximum LHF over the 3-day period is greater over land (HYDRUS) than over the ocean (MERRA) for three of four cases. It is concluded that LHF inland can achieve similar magnitudes to that over the ocean during the daytime and should be pursued as a potential energy source for inland TCs.

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Amanda Schroeder
,
Jeffrey Basara
,
J. Marshall Shepherd
, and
Steven Nelson

Abstract

Flooding is routinely one of the most deadly weather-related hazards in the United States, which highlights the need for more hydrometeorological research related to forecasting these hazardous events. Building upon previous literature, a synergistic study analyzes hydrometeorological aspects of major urban flood events in the United States from 1977 through 2014 caused by locally heavy precipitation. Primary datasets include upper-air soundings and climatological precipitable water (PW) distributions. A major finding of this work is that major urban flood events are associated with extremely anomalous PW values, many of which exceeded the 99th percentile of the associated climatological dataset and all of which were greater than 150% of the climatological mean values. However, of the 40 cases examined in this study, only 15 had PW values that exceeded 50.4 mm (2 in.), illustrating the importance of including the location-specific PW climatology in a PW analysis relevant to the potential for flash floods. Additionally, these events revealed that, despite geographic location and time of year, most had a warm cloud depth of at least 6 km, which is defined here as the layer between the lifting condensation level and the height of the −10°C level. A “composite” flood sounding was also calculated and revealed a characteristically tropical structure, despite cases related to tropical cyclones being excluded from the study.

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