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  • Author or Editor: Thomas Stanley x
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Stanley A. Changnon
and
Thomas R. Karl

Abstract

A new freezing-rain-days database was used to define the spatial and temporal distributions of freezing-rain days across the contiguous United States. The database contained 988 stations, spanning the period 1948–2000. Areas averaging one or more days of freezing rain annually included most of the eastern half of the United States and the Pacific Northwest. The national maximum is in portions of New York and Pennsylvania, a result of several weather conditions conducive to freezing rain. Other maxima included an east–west zone across the Midwest, an area along the eastern Appalachians, and the Pacific Northwest. The latter two maxima have high frequencies as a result of the mountains, which trap low-level cold air with warm air moving above, resulting in freezing rain. National maximum annual values during 1948–2000 were 3–5 times as great as annual averages, but the two patterns were similar. Average patterns for three discrete 17-yr periods between 1948 and 2000 were very similar, but the magnitudes of values differed greatly between periods. The earliest period, 1948–64, had many more freezing days than the latter periods. The high early values resulted in significant down trends for 1949–2000 in the Northwest, central, and Northeast regions. The 1965–76 period had the lowest frequency of freezing-rain days during 1949–2000. Months of first freezing-rain occurrences ranged from September to December, with November the predominant month in the eastern United States and October in the West. Months of last freezing events shifted latitudinally, with February being last along the Gulf of Mexico and April being last in the northern half of the United States. Nationally, peak months of freezing-rain days are December and January, and both have similar patterns. January averages are highest in the eastern half of the United States, and those in December are highest in the west. Freezing-rain days in these two months are more than one-half of those experienced each year in much of the United States.

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Stanley A. Changnon
,
David Changnon
, and
Thomas R. Karl

Abstract

A climatological analysis of snowstorms across the contiguous United States, based on data from 1222 weather stations with data during 1901–2001, defined the spatial and temporal features. The average annual incidence of events creating 15.2 cm or more in 1 or 2 days, which are termed as snowstorms, exhibits great spatial variability. The pattern is latitudinal across most of the eastern half of the United States, averaging 0.1 storm (1 storm per 10 years) in the Deep South, increasing to 2 storms along the Canadian border. This pattern is interrupted by higher averages downwind of the Great Lakes and in the Appalachian Mountains. In the western third of the United States where snow falls, lower-elevation sites average 0.1–2 storms per year, but averages are much higher in the Cascade Range and Rocky Mountains, where 5–30 storms occur per year. Most areas of the United States have had years without snowstorms, but the annual minima are 1 or more storms in high-elevation areas of the West and Northeast. The pattern of annual maxima of storms is similar to the average pattern. The temporal distribution of snowstorms exhibited wide fluctuations during 1901–2000, with downward 100-yr trends in the lower Midwest, South, and West Coast. Upward trends occurred in the upper Midwest, East, and Northeast, and the national trend for 1901–2000 was upward, corresponding to trends in strong cyclonic activity. The peak periods of storm activity in the United States occurred during 1911–20 and 1971–80, and the lowest frequency was in 1931–40. Snowstorms first occur in September in the Rockies, in October in the high plains, in November across most of the United States, and in December in the Deep South. The month with the season’s last storms is December in the South and then shifts northward, with April the last month of snowstorms across most of the United States. Storms occur as late as May and June in the Rockies and Cascades. Snowstorms are most frequent in December downwind of the Great Lakes, with the peak of activity in January for most other areas of the United States.

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Fei Chen
,
Kevin W. Manning
,
Margaret A. LeMone
,
Stanley B. Trier
,
Joseph G. Alfieri
,
Rita Roberts
,
Mukul Tewari
,
Dev Niyogi
,
Thomas W. Horst
,
Steven P. Oncley
,
Jeffrey B. Basara
, and
Peter D. Blanken

Abstract

This paper describes important characteristics of an uncoupled high-resolution land data assimilation system (HRLDAS) and presents a systematic evaluation of 18-month-long HRLDAS numerical experiments, conducted in two nested domains (with 12- and 4-km grid spacing) for the period from 1 January 2001 to 30 June 2002, in the context of the International H2O Project (IHOP_2002). HRLDAS was developed at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) to initialize land-state variables of the coupled Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF)–land surface model (LSM) for high-resolution applications. Both uncoupled HRDLAS and coupled WRF are executed on the same grid, sharing the same LSM, land use, soil texture, terrain height, time-varying vegetation fields, and LSM parameters to ensure the same soil moisture climatological description between the two modeling systems so that HRLDAS soil state variables can be used to initialize WRF–LSM without conversion and interpolation. If HRLDAS is initialized with soil conditions previously spun up from other models, it requires roughly 8–10 months for HRLDAS to reach quasi equilibrium and is highly dependent on soil texture. However, the HRLDAS surface heat fluxes can reach quasi-equilibrium state within 3 months for most soil texture categories. Atmospheric forcing conditions used to drive HRLDAS were evaluated against Oklahoma Mesonet data, and the response of HRLDAS to typical errors in each atmospheric forcing variable was examined. HRLDAS-simulated finescale (4 km) soil moisture, temperature, and surface heat fluxes agreed well with the Oklahoma Mesonet and IHOP_2002 field data. One case study shows high correlation between HRLDAS evaporation and the low-level water vapor field derived from radar analysis.

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