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  • Author or Editor: Ryan A. Zamora x
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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 subseasonal to seasonal (S2S) time scales has seen growth in recent years. Concurrent with this growth, 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, whereas 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 global S2S forecast system. Downscaled meteorological fields are then applied to drive offline simulations with the Catchment Land Surface Model to forecast U.S. Drought Monitor–style drought indicators derived from simulated surface hydrology variables. We compare the representation of drought in these downscaled hindcasts with 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 that 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, and improvements were greatest for extreme (D3) and exceptional (D4) drought categories.

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