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Gabriele Villarini, Radoslaw Goska, James A. Smith, and Gabriel A. Vecchi

Riverine flooding associated with North Atlantic tropical cyclones (TCs) is responsible for large societal and economic impacts. The effects of TC flooding are not limited to the coastal regions, but affect large areas away from the coast, and often away from the center of the storm. Despite these important repercussions, inland TC flooding has received relatively little attention in the scientific literature, although there has been growing media attention following Hurricanes Irene (2011) and Sandy (2012). Based on discharge data from 1981 to 2011, the authors provide a climatological view of inland flooding associated with TCs, leveraging the wealth of discharge measurements collected, archived, and disseminated by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Florida and the eastern seaboard of the United States (from South Carolina to Maine and Vermont) are the areas that are the most susceptible to TC flooding, with typical TC flood peaks that are 2 to 6 times larger than the local 10-yr flood peak, causing major flooding. A secondary swath of extensive TC-induced flooding in the central United States is also identified. These results indicate that flooding from TCs is not solely a coastal phenomenon but affects much larger areas of the United States, as far inland as Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Moreover, the authors highlight the dependence of the frequency and magnitude of TC flood peaks on large-scale climate indices, and the role played by the North Atlantic Oscillation and the El Niño–Southern Oscillation phenomenon (ENSO), suggesting potential sources of extended-range predictability.

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Ibrahim Demir, Helen Conover, Witold F. Krajewski, Bong-Chul Seo, Radosław Goska, Yubin He, Michael F. McEniry, Sara J. Graves, and Walter Petersen

Abstract

In the spring of 2013, NASA conducted a field campaign known as Iowa Flood Studies (IFloodS) as part of the Ground Validation (GV) program for the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission. The purpose of IFloodS was to enhance the understanding of flood-related, space-based observations of precipitation processes in events that transpire worldwide. NASA used a number of scientific instruments such as ground-based weather radars, rain and soil moisture gauges, stream gauges, and disdrometers to monitor rainfall events in Iowa. This article presents the cyberinfrastructure tools and systems that supported the planning, reporting, and management of the field campaign and that allow these data and models to be accessed, evaluated, and shared for research. The authors describe the collaborative informatics tools, which are suitable for the network design, that were used to select the locations in which to place the instruments. How the authors used information technology tools for instrument monitoring, data acquisition, and visualizations after deploying the instruments and how they used a different set of tools to support data analysis and modeling after the campaign are also explained. All data collected during the campaign are available through the Global Hydrology Resource Center (GHRC), a NASA Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC).

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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.

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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.

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Witold F. Krajewski, Daniel Ceynar, Ibrahim Demir, Radoslaw Goska, Anton Kruger, Carmen Langel, Ricardo Mantilla, James Niemeier, Felipe Quintero, Bong-Chul Seo, Scott J. Small, Larry J. Weber, and Nathan C. Young

Abstract

The Iowa Flood Center (IFC), established following the 2008 record floods, has developed a real-time flood forecasting and information dissemination system for use by all Iowans. The system complements the operational forecasting issued by the National Weather Service, is based on sound scientific principles of flood genesis and spatial organization, and includes many technological advances. At its core is a continuous rainfall–runoff model based on landscape decomposition into hillslopes and channel links. Rainfall conversion to runoff is modeled through soil moisture accounting at hillslopes. Channel routing is based on a nonlinear representation of water velocity that considers the discharge amount as well as the upstream drainage area. Mathematically, the model represents a large system of ordinary differential equations organized to follow river network topology. The IFC also developed an efficient numerical solver suitable for high-performance computing architecture. The solver allows the IFC to update forecasts every 15 min for over 1,000 Iowa communities. The input to the system comes from a radar-rainfall algorithm, developed in-house, that maps rainfall every 5 min with high spatial resolution. The algorithm uses Level II radar reflectivity and other polarimetric data from the Weather Surveillance Radar-1988 Dual-Polarimetric (WSR-88DP) radar network. A large library of flood inundation maps and real-time river stage data from over 200 IFC “stream-stage sensors” complement the IFC information system. The system communicates all this information to the general public through a comprehensive browser-based and interactive platform. Streamflow forecasts and observations from Iowa can provide support for a similar system being developed at the National Water Center through model intercomparisons, diagnostic analyses, and product evaluations.

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