Relation Between West Coastal Rainfall and Nimbus 6 SCAMS Liquid Water Data over the Northeastern Pacific Ocean

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  • a SRI International, Menlo Park, California 94025
  • | b NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland 20771
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Abstract

We describe a research study in which we explored the application to rainfall prediction of cloud liquid water data obtained from the SCAMS experiment of Nimbus 6. The study area is the Pacific Northwest coast of the United States, where rainfall is produced by extratropical storms that approach from across the Pacific Ocean.

SCAMS data related to cloud liquid water over the ocean, and coastal rainfall data, are analyzed for 20 different storm systems in the northeastern Pacific Ocean; these produced significant rainfall from Washington to central California during the period October 1975-March 1976. Results show that the distribution of storm-cloud water analyzed from the SCAMS data over the ocean foreshadows the distribution of coastal rainfall accumulated from the storm at a later time.

We conclude that passive microwave sensor measurements of cloud water over the ocean, when used in conjunction with numerical and other objective guidance, can be used to enhance the accuracy of predictions of coastal rainfall distribution.

Limitations in the SCAMS measurements and in the data analysis and interpretation are noted.

Abstract

We describe a research study in which we explored the application to rainfall prediction of cloud liquid water data obtained from the SCAMS experiment of Nimbus 6. The study area is the Pacific Northwest coast of the United States, where rainfall is produced by extratropical storms that approach from across the Pacific Ocean.

SCAMS data related to cloud liquid water over the ocean, and coastal rainfall data, are analyzed for 20 different storm systems in the northeastern Pacific Ocean; these produced significant rainfall from Washington to central California during the period October 1975-March 1976. Results show that the distribution of storm-cloud water analyzed from the SCAMS data over the ocean foreshadows the distribution of coastal rainfall accumulated from the storm at a later time.

We conclude that passive microwave sensor measurements of cloud water over the ocean, when used in conjunction with numerical and other objective guidance, can be used to enhance the accuracy of predictions of coastal rainfall distribution.

Limitations in the SCAMS measurements and in the data analysis and interpretation are noted.

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