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Catherine L. Muller, Andy Baker, Ian J. Fairchild, Chris Kidd, and Ian Boomer

Abstract

Annual, monthly, and daily analyses of stable isotopes in precipitation are commonly made worldwide, yet only a few studies have explored the variations occurring on short time scales within individual precipitation events, particularly at midlatitude locations. This study examines hydrogen isotope data from sequential, intra-event samples from 16 precipitation events during different seasons and a range of synoptic conditions over an 18-month period in Birmingham, United Kingdom. Precipitation events were observed simultaneously using a vertically pointing micro rain radar (MRR), which, for the first time at a midlatitude location, allowed high-resolution examination of the microphysical characteristics (e.g., rain rate, fall velocity, and drop size distributions) that may influence the local isotopic composition of rainwater. The range in the hydrogen isotope ratio (δD, where D refers to deuterium) in 242 samples during 16 events was from −87.0‰ to +9.2‰, while the largest variation observed in a single event was 55.4‰. In contrast to previous work, the results indicate that some midlatitude precipitation events do indeed show significant intra-event trends that are strongly influenced by precipitation processes and parameters such as rain rate, melting-level height, and droplet sizes. Inverse relationships between rain rate and isotopic composition are observed, representing an example of a local type of “amount effect,” a still poorly understood process occurring at different scales. For these particular events, the mean δ value may therefore not provide all the relevant information. This work has significance for the testing and development of isotope-enabled cloud-resolving models and land surface models at higher resolutions, and it provides improved insights into a range of environmental processes that are influenced by subsampled precipitation events.

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Chris Kidd, Dominic R. Kniveton, Martin C. Todd, and Tim J. Bellerby

Abstract

The development of a combined infrared and passive microwave satellite rainfall estimation technique is outlined. Infrared data from geostationary satellites are combined with polar-orbiting passive microwave estimates to provide 30-min rainfall estimates. Collocated infrared and passive microwave values are used to generate a database, which is accessed by a cumulative histogram matching approach to generate an infrared temperature–rain-rate relationship. The technique produces initial estimates at 30-min and 12-km resolution ready to be aggregated to the user requirements. A 4-month case study over Africa has been chosen to compare the results from this technique with those of some existing rainfall techniques. The results indicate that the technique outlined here has statistical scores that are similar to other infrared/passive microwave combined algorithms. Comparison with the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) precipitation index shows that while these algorithms result in lower correlation scores, areal statistics are significantly better than either the infrared or passive microwave techniques alone.

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Chris Kidd, Andreas Becker, George J. Huffman, Catherine L. Muller, Paul Joe, Gail Skofronick-Jackson, and Dalia B. Kirschbaum

Abstract

The measurement of global precipitation, both rainfall and snowfall, is critical to a wide range of users and applications. Rain gauges are indispensable in the measurement of precipitation, remaining the de facto standard for precipitation information across Earth’s surface for hydrometeorological purposes. However, their distribution across the globe is limited: over land their distribution and density is variable, while over oceans very few gauges exist and where measurements are made, they may not adequately reflect the rainfall amounts of the broader area. Critically, the number of gauges available, or appropriate for a particular study, varies greatly across the Earth owing to temporal sampling resolutions, periods of operation, data latency, and data access. Numbers of gauges range from a few thousand available in near–real time to about 100,000 for all “official” gauges, and to possibly hundreds of thousands if all possible gauges are included. Gauges routinely used in the generation of global precipitation products cover an equivalent area of between about 250 and 3,000 m2. For comparison, the center circle of a soccer pitch or tennis court is about 260 m2. Although each gauge should represent more than just the gauge orifice, autocorrelation distances of precipitation vary greatly with regime and the integration period. Assuming each Global Precipitation Climatology Centre (GPCC)–available gauge is independent and represents a surrounding area of 5-km radius, this represents only about 1% of Earth’s surface. The situation is further confounded for snowfall, which has a greater measurement uncertainty.

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Takamichi Iguchi, Toshihisa Matsui, Wei-Kuo Tao, Alexander P. Khain, Vaughan T. J. Phillips, Chris Kidd, Tristan L’Ecuyer, Scott A. Braun, and Arthur Hou

Abstract

Two mixed-phase precipitation events were observed on 21 September and 20 October 2010 over the southern part of Finland during the Light Precipitation Validation Experiment (LPVEx). These events have been simulated using the Weather Research and Forecasting Model coupled with spectral bin microphysics (WRF–SBM). The detailed ice-melting scheme with prognosis of the liquid water fraction during melting enables explicit simulation of microphysical properties in the melting layer. First, the simulations have been compared with C-band 3D radar measurements for the purpose of evaluating the overall profiles of cloud and precipitation. The simulation has some artificial convective patterns and errors in the forecast displacement of the precipitation system. The overall overestimation of reflectivity is consistent with a bias toward the range characterized by large-diameter droplets in the surface drop size distribution. Second, the structure of the melting bands has been evaluated against vertically pointing K-band radar measurements. A peak in reflectivity and a gradual change in Doppler velocity are observed and similarly simulated in the common temperature range from approximately 0° to 3°C. The effectiveness of the time-dependent melting scheme has been justified by intercomparison with a corresponding simulation using an instantaneous melting scheme. A weakness of the new melting scheme is that melting particles having high liquid water fractions on the order of 80%–90% cannot be simulated. This situation may cause underestimation of radar reflectivity in the melting layer because of the assumptions of melting-particle structure used to calculate the scattering properties.

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Gail Skofronick-Jackson, Walter A. Petersen, Wesley Berg, Chris Kidd, Erich F. Stocker, Dalia B. Kirschbaum, Ramesh Kakar, Scott A. Braun, George J. Huffman, Toshio Iguchi, Pierre E. Kirstetter, Christian Kummerow, Robert Meneghini, Riko Oki, William S. Olson, Yukari N. Takayabu, Kinji Furukawa, and Thomas Wilheit

Abstract

Precipitation is a key source of freshwater; therefore, observing global patterns of precipitation and its intensity is important for science, society, and understanding our planet in a changing climate. In 2014, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory (CO) spacecraft. The GPM CO carries the most advanced precipitation sensors currently in space including a dual-frequency precipitation radar provided by JAXA for measuring the three-dimensional structures of precipitation and a well-calibrated, multifrequency passive microwave radiometer that provides wide-swath precipitation data. The GPM CO was designed to measure rain rates from 0.2 to 110.0 mm h−1 and to detect moderate to intense snow events. The GPM CO serves as a reference for unifying the data from a constellation of partner satellites to provide next-generation, merged precipitation estimates globally and with high spatial and temporal resolutions. Through improved measurements of rain and snow, precipitation data from GPM provides new information such as details on precipitation structure and intensity; observations of hurricanes and typhoons as they transition from the tropics to the midlatitudes; data to advance near-real-time hazard assessment for floods, landslides, and droughts; inputs to improve weather and climate models; and insights into agricultural productivity, famine, and public health. Since launch, GPM teams have calibrated satellite instruments, refined precipitation retrieval algorithms, expanded science investigations, and processed and disseminated precipitation data for a range of applications. The current status of GPM, its ongoing science, and its future plans are presented.

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M. Ades, R. Adler, Rob Allan, R. P. Allan, J. Anderson, Anthony Argüez, C. Arosio, J. A. Augustine, C. Azorin-Molina, J. Barichivich, J. Barnes, H. E. Beck, Andreas Becker, Nicolas Bellouin, Angela Benedetti, David I. Berry, Stephen Blenkinsop, Olivier. Bock, Michael G. Bosilovich, Olivier. Boucher, S. A. Buehler, Laura. Carrea, Hanne H. Christiansen, F. Chouza, John R. Christy, E.-S. Chung, Melanie Coldewey-Egbers, Gil P. Compo, Owen R. Cooper, Curt Covey, A. Crotwell, Sean M. Davis, Elvira de Eyto, Richard A. M de Jeu, B.V. VanderSat, Curtis L. DeGasperi, Doug Degenstein, Larry Di Girolamo, Martin T. Dokulil, Markus G. Donat, Wouter A. Dorigo, Imke Durre, Geoff S. Dutton, G. Duveiller, James W. Elkins, Vitali E. Fioletov, Johannes Flemming, Michael J. Foster, Richard A. Frey, Stacey M. Frith, Lucien Froidevaux, J. Garforth, S. K. Gupta, Leopold Haimberger, Brad D. Hall, Ian Harris, Andrew K Heidinger, D. L. Hemming, Shu-peng (Ben) Ho, Daan Hubert, Dale F. Hurst, I. Hüser, Antje Inness, K. Isaksen, Viju John, Philip D. Jones, J. W. Kaiser, S. Kelly, S. Khaykin, R. Kidd, Hyungiun Kim, Z. Kipling, B. M. Kraemer, D. P. Kratz, R. S. La Fuente, Xin Lan, Kathleen O. Lantz, T. Leblanc, Bailing Li, Norman G Loeb, Craig S. Long, Diego Loyola, Wlodzimierz Marszelewski, B. Martens, Linda May, Michael Mayer, M. F. McCabe, Tim R. McVicar, Carl A. Mears, W. Paul Menzel, Christopher J. Merchant, Ben R. Miller, Diego G. Miralles, Stephen A. Montzka, Colin Morice, Jens Mühle, R. Myneni, Julien P. Nicolas, Jeannette Noetzli, Tim J. Osborn, T. Park, A. Pasik, Andrew M. Paterson, Mauri S. Pelto, S. Perkins-Kirkpatrick, G. Pétron, C. Phillips, Bernard Pinty, S. Po-Chedley, L. Polvani, W. Preimesberger, M. Pulkkanen, W. J. Randel, Samuel Rémy, L. Ricciardulli, A. D. Richardson, L. Rieger, David A. Robinson, Matthew Rodell, Karen H. Rosenlof, Chris Roth, A. Rozanov, James A. Rusak, O. Rusanovskaya, T. Rutishäuser, Ahira Sánchez-Lugo, P. Sawaengphokhai, T. Scanlon, Verena Schenzinger, S. Geoffey Schladow, R. W Schlegel, Eawag Schmid, Martin, H. B. Selkirk, S. Sharma, Lei Shi, S. V. Shimaraeva, E. A. Silow, Adrian J. Simmons, C. A. Smith, Sharon L Smith, B. J. Soden, Viktoria Sofieva, T. H. Sparks, Paul W. Stackhouse Jr., Wolfgang Steinbrecht, Dimitri A. Streletskiy, G. Taha, Hagen Telg, S. J. Thackeray, M. A. Timofeyev, Kleareti Tourpali, Mari R. Tye, Ronald J. van der A, Robin, VanderSat B.V. van der Schalie, Gerard van der SchrierW. Paul, Guido R. van der Werf, Piet Verburg, Jean-Paul Vernier, Holger Vömel, Russell S. Vose, Ray Wang, Shohei G. Watanabe, Mark Weber, Gesa A. Weyhenmeyer, David Wiese, Anne C. Wilber, Jeanette D. Wild, Takmeng Wong, R. Iestyn Woolway, Xungang Yin, Lin Zhao, Guanguo Zhao, Xinjia Zhou, Jerry R. Ziemke, and Markus Ziese
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