Exploration of Extended-Area Treatment Effects in FACE-2 Using Satellite Imagery

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  • a Weather Research Program, NOAA/ERL, Boulder, CO 80303
  • b Weather Modification Program, NOAA/ERL, Boulder, CO 80303
  • c Department of Statistics, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 19122
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Abstract

The second phase of the Florida Area Cumulus Experiment (FACE-2) has been completed and an exploratory analysis has been conducted to investigate the possibility that cloud seeding may have affected the rainfall outside the intended target. Rainfall was estimated over a 3.5×105 km2 area centered on the target using geosynchronous, infrared satellite imagery and the Griffith-Woodley rain estimation technique. This technique was derived in South Florida by calibrating infrared images using raingage and radar observations to produce an empirical, diagnostic (a posteriori), satellite rain estimation technique. The satellite rain estimates for the extended area were adjusted based on comparisons of raingage and satellite rainfall estimates for the entire FACE target (1.3×104 km2). All daily rainfall estimates were composited in two ways: 1) in the original coordinate system and 2) in a relative coordinate system that rotates the research area as a function of wind direction. After compositing, seeding effects were sought as a function of space and time.

The results show more rainfall (in the mean) on seed than no seed days both in and downwind of the target but lesser rainfall upwind. All differences (averaging 20% downwind and −10% upwind) are confined in space to within 200 km of the center of the FACE target and in time to the 8 h period after initial treatment. In addition, the positive correlation between untreated upwind rainfall and target rainfall is degraded on seed days, suggesting possible intermittent negative effects of seeding upwind. Although the development of these differences in space and time suggests that seeding may have been partially responsible for their generation, the results do not have strong inferential (P-value) support.

Abstract

The second phase of the Florida Area Cumulus Experiment (FACE-2) has been completed and an exploratory analysis has been conducted to investigate the possibility that cloud seeding may have affected the rainfall outside the intended target. Rainfall was estimated over a 3.5×105 km2 area centered on the target using geosynchronous, infrared satellite imagery and the Griffith-Woodley rain estimation technique. This technique was derived in South Florida by calibrating infrared images using raingage and radar observations to produce an empirical, diagnostic (a posteriori), satellite rain estimation technique. The satellite rain estimates for the extended area were adjusted based on comparisons of raingage and satellite rainfall estimates for the entire FACE target (1.3×104 km2). All daily rainfall estimates were composited in two ways: 1) in the original coordinate system and 2) in a relative coordinate system that rotates the research area as a function of wind direction. After compositing, seeding effects were sought as a function of space and time.

The results show more rainfall (in the mean) on seed than no seed days both in and downwind of the target but lesser rainfall upwind. All differences (averaging 20% downwind and −10% upwind) are confined in space to within 200 km of the center of the FACE target and in time to the 8 h period after initial treatment. In addition, the positive correlation between untreated upwind rainfall and target rainfall is degraded on seed days, suggesting possible intermittent negative effects of seeding upwind. Although the development of these differences in space and time suggests that seeding may have been partially responsible for their generation, the results do not have strong inferential (P-value) support.

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