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Bong-Chul Seo, Witold F. Krajewski, Felipe Quintero, Mohamed ElSaadani, Radoslaw Goska, Luciana K. Cunha, Brenda Dolan, David B. Wolff, James A. Smith, Steven A. Rutledge, and Walter A. Petersen

Abstract

This study describes the generation and testing of a reference rainfall product created from field campaign datasets collected during the NASA Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission Ground Validation Iowa Flood Studies (IFloodS) experiment. The study evaluates ground-based radar rainfall (RR) products acquired during IFloodS in the context of building the reference rainfall product. The purpose of IFloodS was not only to attain a high-quality ground-based reference for the validation of satellite rainfall estimates but also to enhance understanding of flood-related rainfall processes and the predictability of flood forecasting. We assessed the six RR estimates (IFC, Q2, CSU-DP, NWS-DP, Stage IV, and Q2-Corrected) using data from rain gauge and disdrometer networks that were located in the broader field campaign area of central and northeastern Iowa. We performed the analyses with respect to time scales ranging from 1 h to the entire campaign period in order to compare the capabilities of each RR product and to characterize the error structure at scales that are frequently used in hydrologic applications. The evaluation results show that the Stage IV estimates perform superior to other estimates, demonstrating the need for gauge-based bias corrections of radar-only products. This correction should account for each product’s algorithm-dependent error structure that can be used to build unbiased rainfall products for the campaign reference. We characterized the statistical error structures (e.g., systematic and random components) of each RR estimate and used them for the generation of a campaign reference rainfall product. To assess the hydrologic utility of the reference product, we performed hydrologic simulations driven by the reference product over the Turkey River basin. The comparison of hydrologic simulation results demonstrates that the campaign reference product performs better than Stage IV in streamflow generation.

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Walter F. Dabberdt, Jeremy Hales, Steven Zubrick, Andrew Crook, Witold Krajewski, J. Christopher Doran, Cynthia Mueller, Clark King, Ronald N. Keener, Robert Bornstein, David Rodenhuis, Paul Kocin, Michael A. Rossetti, Fred Sharrocks, and Ellis M. Stanley Sr.

The 10th Prospectus Development Team (PDT-10) of the U.S. Weather Research Program was charged with identifying research needs and opportunities related to the short-term prediction of weather and air quality in urban forecast zones. Weather has special and significant impacts on large numbers of the U.S. population who live in major urban areas. It is recognized that urban users have different weather information needs than do their rural counterparts. Further, large urban areas can impact local weather and hydrologic processes in various ways. The recommendations of the team emphasize that human life and well-being in urban areas can be protected and enjoyed to a significantly greater degree. In particular, PDT-10 supports the need for 1) improved access to real-time weather information, 2) improved tailoring of weather data to the specific needs of individual user groups, and 3) more user-specific forecasts of weather and air quality. Specific recommendations fall within nine thematic areas: 1) development of a user-oriented weather database; 2) focused research on the impacts of visibility and icing on transportation; 3) improved understanding and forecasting of winter storms; 4) improved understanding and forecasting of convective storms; 5) improved forecasting of intense/severe lightning; 6) further research into the impacts of large urban areas on the location and intensity of urban convection; 7) focused research on the application of mesoscale forecasting in support of emergency response and air quality; 8) quantification and reduction of uncertainty in hydrological, meteorological, and air quality modeling; and 9) the need for improved observing systems. An overarching recommendation of PDT-10 is that research into understanding and predicting weather impacts in urban areas should receive increased emphasis by the atmospheric science community at large, and that urban weather should be a focal point of the U.S. Weather Research Program.

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Witold F. Krajewski, Daniel Ceynar, Ibrahim Demir, Radoslaw Goska, Anton Kruger, Carmen Langel, Ricardo Mantilla, James Niemeier, Felipe Quintero, Bong-Chul Seo, Scott J. Small, Larry J. Weber, and Nathan C. Young

Abstract

The Iowa Flood Center (IFC), established following the 2008 record floods, has developed a real-time flood forecasting and information dissemination system for use by all Iowans. The system complements the operational forecasting issued by the National Weather Service, is based on sound scientific principles of flood genesis and spatial organization, and includes many technological advances. At its core is a continuous rainfall–runoff model based on landscape decomposition into hillslopes and channel links. Rainfall conversion to runoff is modeled through soil moisture accounting at hillslopes. Channel routing is based on a nonlinear representation of water velocity that considers the discharge amount as well as the upstream drainage area. Mathematically, the model represents a large system of ordinary differential equations organized to follow river network topology. The IFC also developed an efficient numerical solver suitable for high-performance computing architecture. The solver allows the IFC to update forecasts every 15 min for over 1,000 Iowa communities. The input to the system comes from a radar-rainfall algorithm, developed in-house, that maps rainfall every 5 min with high spatial resolution. The algorithm uses Level II radar reflectivity and other polarimetric data from the Weather Surveillance Radar-1988 Dual-Polarimetric (WSR-88DP) radar network. A large library of flood inundation maps and real-time river stage data from over 200 IFC “stream-stage sensors” complement the IFC information system. The system communicates all this information to the general public through a comprehensive browser-based and interactive platform. Streamflow forecasts and observations from Iowa can provide support for a similar system being developed at the National Water Center through model intercomparisons, diagnostic analyses, and product evaluations.

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Benjamin J. Miriovsky, A. Allen Bradley, William E. Eichinger, Witold F. Krajewski, Anton Kruger, Brian R. Nelson, Jean-Dominique Creutin, Jean-Marc Lapetite, Gyu Won Lee, Isztar Zawadzki, and Fred L. Ogden

Abstract

Analysis of data collected by four disdrometers deployed in a 1-km2 area is presented with the intent of quantifying the spatial variability of radar reflectivity at small spatial scales. Spatial variability of radar reflectivity within the radar beam is a key source of error in radar-rainfall estimation because of the assumption that drops are uniformly distributed within the radar-sensing volume. Common experience tells one that, in fact, drops are not uniformly distributed, and, although some work has been done to examine the small-scale spatial variability of rain rates, little experimental work has been done to explore the variability of radar reflectivity. The four disdrometers used for this study include a two-dimensional video disdrometer, an X-band radar-based disdrometer, an impact-type disdrometer, and an optical spectropluviometer. Although instrumental differences were expected, the magnitude of these differences clouds the natural variability of interest. An algorithm is applied to mitigate these instrumental effects, and the variability remains high, even as the observations are integrated in time. Although one cannot explicitly quantify the spatial variability from this experiment, the results clearly show that the spatial variability of reflectivity is very large.

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Efi Foufoula-Georgiou, Clement Guilloteau, Phu Nguyen, Amir Aghakouchak, Kuo-Lin Hsu, Antonio Busalacchi, F. Joseph Turk, Christa Peters-Lidard, Taikan Oki, Qingyun Duan, Witold Krajewski, Remko Uijlenhoet, Ana Barros, Pierre Kirstetter, William Logan, Terri Hogue, Hoshin Gupta, and Vincenzo Levizzani
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Steven V. Vasiloff, Dong-Jun Seo, Kenneth W. Howard, Jian Zhang, David H. Kitzmiller, Mary G. Mullusky, Witold F. Krajewski, Edward A. Brandes, Robert M. Rabin, Daniel S. Berkowitz, Harold E. Brooks, John A. McGinley, Robert J. Kuligowski, and Barbara G. Brown

Accurate quantitative precipitation estimates (QPE) and very short term quantitative precipitation forecasts (VSTQPF) are critical to accurate monitoring and prediction of water-related hazards and water resources. While tremendous progress has been made in the last quarter-century in many areas of QPE and VSTQPF, significant gaps continue to exist in both knowledge and capabilities that are necessary to produce accurate high-resolution precipitation estimates at the national scale for a wide spectrum of users. Toward this goal, a national next-generation QPE and VSTQPF (Q2) workshop was held in Norman, Oklahoma, on 28–30 June 2005. Scientists, operational forecasters, water managers, and stakeholders from public and private sectors, including academia, presented and discussed a broad range of precipitation and forecasting topics and issues, and developed a list of science focus areas. To meet the nation's needs for the precipitation information effectively, the authors herein propose a community-wide integrated approach for precipitation information that fully capitalizes on recent advances in science and technology, and leverages the wide range of expertise and experience that exists in the research and operational communities. The concepts and recommendations from the workshop form the Q2 science plan and a suggested path to operations. Implementation of these concepts is expected to improve river forecasts and flood and flash flood watches and warnings, and to enhance various hydrologic and hydrometeorological services for a wide range of users and customers. In support of this initiative, the National Mosaic and Q2 (NMQ) system is being developed at the National Severe Storms Laboratory to serve as a community test bed for QPE and VSTQPF research and to facilitate the transition to operations of research applications. The NMQ system provides a real-time, around-the-clock data infusion and applications development and evaluation environment, and thus offers a community-wide platform for development and testing of advances in the focus areas.

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