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  • Author or Editor: D. E. Waliser x
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E. C. Massoud, H. Lee, P. B. Gibson, P. Loikith, and D. E. Waliser

Abstract

This study utilizes Bayesian model averaging (BMA) as a framework to constrain the spread of uncertainty in climate projections of precipitation over the contiguous United States (CONUS). We use a subset of historical model simulations and future model projections (RCP8.5) from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 5 (CMIP5). We evaluate the representation of five precipitation summary metrics in the historical simulations using observations from the NASA Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellites. The summary metrics include mean, annual and interannual variability, and maximum and minimum extremes of precipitation. The estimated model average produced with BMA is shown to have higher accuracy in simulating mean rainfall than the ensemble mean (RMSE of 0.49 for BMA versus 0.65 for ensemble mean), and a more constrained spread of uncertainty with roughly a third of the total uncertainty than is produced with the multimodel ensemble. The results show that, by the end of the century, the mean daily rainfall is projected to increase for most of the East Coast and the Northwest, may decrease in the southern United States, and with little change expected for the Southwest. For extremes, the wettest year on record is projected to become wetter for the majority of CONUS and the driest year to become drier. We show that BMA offers a framework to more accurately estimate and to constrain the spread of uncertainties of future climate, such as precipitation changes over CONUS.

Open access
F. M. Ralph, S. F. Iacobellis, P. J. Neiman, J. M. Cordeira, J. R. Spackman, D. E. Waliser, G. A. Wick, A. B. White, and C. Fairall

Abstract

Aircraft dropsonde observations provide the most comprehensive measurements to date of horizontal water vapor transport in atmospheric rivers (ARs). The CalWater experiment recently more than tripled the number of ARs probed with the required measurements. This study uses vertical profiles of water vapor, wind, and pressure obtained from 304 dropsondes across 21 ARs. On average, total water vapor transport (TIVT) in an AR was 4.7 × 108 ± 2 × 108 kg s−1. This magnitude is 2.6 times larger than the average discharge of liquid water from the Amazon River. The mean AR width was 890 ± 270 km. Subtropical ARs contained larger integrated water vapor (IWV) but weaker winds than midlatitude ARs, although average TIVTs were nearly the same. Mean TIVTs calculated by defining the lateral “edges” of ARs using an IVT threshold versus an IWV threshold produced results that differed by less than 10% across all cases, but did vary between the midlatitudes and subtropical regions.

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