Two University of Iowa researchers recently tested the ability of the world’s most advanced weather forecasting models to predict the Sept. 9-16, 2013 extreme rainfall that caused severe flooding in Boulder, Colo.
The dark blue areas over Colorado indicate regions that received more than 1,000 percent of their normal rainfall for Sept. 10-16, 2013. Courtesy of the U.S. National Weather Service Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service.
The results, published in the December 2013 issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters, indicated the forecasting models generally performed well, but also left room for improvement.
David Lavers and Gabriele Villarini, researchers at IIHR—Hydroscience and Engineering, a world-renowned UI research facility, evaluated rainfall forecasts from eight different global numerical weather prediction (NWP) models.
During September 2013, Boulder County and surrounding areas experienced severe flooding and heavy rain resulting in fatalities, the loss of homes and businesses, and the declaration of a major disaster.
After the storms had subsided, Lavers and Villarini decided to examine how well some of the leading NWP models had done. As a constantly improving science, NWP involves integrating current weather conditions through mathematical models of the atmosphere-ocean system to forecast future weather. For their study, the researchers selected the actual rainfall forecasts made by eight state-of-the-art global NWP models for the period of the Colorado floods.
“At an early lead time to the event, the rainfall forecasts failed to capture the persistent nature of the event’s rainfall,” says Lavers, corresponding author and an IIHR postdoctoral researcher. “However, the rainfall forecasts from Sept. 9 (the first day of the event) did provide guidance indicating a significant period of rainfall in Colorado.”
“Overall, these models tended to underestimate rainfall amounts and placed the rainfall in the wrong area, even though they provided an indication that a period of heavy rainfall was going to affect parts of Colorado,” says Gabriele Villarini, study co-author, assistant professor in the UI College of Engineering Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and assistant research engineer at IIHR.
In their study, Lavers and Villarini used a reasonably coarse (having a relatively low number of pixels) global model output. The UI researchers emphasize that higher spatial resolution NWP models are likely to have captured the rainfall to a greater extent.
Says Lavers: “It is hoped that the continuing development of finer resolution NWP models that resolve the complex atmospheric motions in mountainous terrain, such as the Rocky Mountains, will make it possible to improve the forecasting capabilities of such extreme rainfall events.”
The paper is formally titled: “Were global numerical weather prediction systems capable of forecasting the extreme Colorado rainfall of 9-16 September 2013?”
The research was supported by IIHR, the Iowa Flood Center, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Institute for Water Resources.
ContactsDavid Lavers, IIHR--Hydroscience and Engineering, 319-335-5237
Gary Galluzzo | EurekAlert!
Giant see-saw of monsoon rains detected
26.09.2016 | Potsdam-Institut für Klimafolgenforschung
A new 3D viewer for improved digital geoscience mapping
20.09.2016 | Uni Research
Optical quantum computers can revolutionize computer technology. A team of researchers led by scientists from Münster University and KIT now succeeded in putting a quantum optical experimental set-up onto a chip. In doing so, they have met one of the requirements for making it possible to use photonic circuits for optical quantum computers.
Optical quantum computers are what people are pinning their hopes on for tomorrow’s computer technology – whether for tap-proof data encryption, ultrafast...
The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP has been developing various applications for OLED microdisplays based on organic semiconductors. By integrating the capabilities of an image sensor directly into the microdisplay, eye movements can be recorded by the smart glasses and utilized for guidance and control functions, as one example. The new design will be debuted at Augmented World Expo Europe (AWE) in Berlin at Booth B25, October 18th – 19th.
“Augmented-reality” and “wearables” have become terms we encounter almost daily. Both can make daily life a little simpler and provide valuable assistance for...
With the help of artificial intelligence, chemists from the University of Basel in Switzerland have computed the characteristics of about two million crystals made up of four chemical elements. The researchers were able to identify 90 previously unknown thermodynamically stable crystals that can be regarded as new materials. They report on their findings in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.
Elpasolite is a glassy, transparent, shiny and soft mineral with a cubic crystal structure. First discovered in El Paso County (Colorado, USA), it can also be...
For the first time, Fraunhofer IKTS shows additively manufactured hardmetal tools at WorldPM 2016 in Hamburg. Mechanical, chemical as well as a high heat resistance and extreme hardness are required from tools that are used in mechanical and automotive engineering or in plastics and building materials industry. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Dresden managed the production of complex hardmetal tools via 3D printing in a quality that are in no way inferior to conventionally produced high-performance tools.
Fraunhofer IKTS counts decades of proven expertise in the development of hardmetals. To date, reliable cutting, drilling, pressing and stamping tools made of...
At AKL’16, the International Laser Technology Congress held in May this year, interest in the topic of process control was greater than expected. Appropriately, the event was also used to launch the Industry Working Group for Process Control in Laser Material Processing. The group provides a forum for representatives from industry and research to initiate pre-competitive projects and discuss issues such as standards, potential cost savings and feasibility.
In the age of industry 4.0, laser technology is firmly established within manufacturing. A wide variety of laser techniques – from USP ablation and additive...
27.09.2016 | Event News
23.09.2016 | Event News
20.09.2016 | Event News
27.09.2016 | Life Sciences
27.09.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
27.09.2016 | Life Sciences