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Chad Shouquan Cheng
,
Heather Auld
,
Guilong Li
,
Joan Klaassen
,
Bryan Tugwood
, and
Qian Li

Abstract

Freezing rain is a major weather hazard that can compromise human safety, significantly disrupt transportation, and damage and disrupt built infrastructure such as telecommunication towers and electrical transmission and distribution lines. In this study, an automated synoptic typing and logistic regression analysis were applied together to predict freezing rain events. The synoptic typing was developed using principal components analysis, an average linkage clustering procedure, and discriminant function analysis to classify the weather types most likely to be associated with freezing rain events for the city of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Meteorological data used in the analysis included hourly surface observations from the Ottawa International Airport and six atmospheric levels of 6-hourly NCEP–NCAR upper-air reanalysis weather variables for the winter months (Nov– Apr) of 1958/59–2000/01. The data were divided into two parts: a developmental dataset (1958/59–1990/91) for construction (development) of the model and an independent or validation dataset (1991/90–2000/01) for validation of the model. The procedure was able to successfully identify weather types that were most highly correlated with freezing rain events at Ottawa.

Stepwise logistic regression was performed on all days within the freezing rain–related weather types to analytically determine the meteorological variables that can be used as forecast predictors for the likelihood of freezing rain occurrence at Ottawa. The results show that the model is best able to identify freezing rain events lasting several hours during a day. For example, in the validation dataset, for likelihood values ≥0.6, the procedure was able to identify 74% of all freezing rain events lasting at least 6 h during a day. Similarly, the procedure was able to identify 91% of all freezing rain events occurring at least 8 h during a day. This study has further potential to be adapted to an operational forecast mode to assist in the prediction of major ice storms.

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