Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Framework could improve southeast rainfall forecasts

21.11.2013
Summer rainfall in the southeastern United States is vitally important to the region's agriculture, economy and ecology. But accurately forecasting how much rain may fall in an upcoming season can be tricky because of the complicated physical processes and environmental factors that determine its intensity.

A new study by two Duke University scientists may help improve seasonal forecasts by providing a new statistical "framework" that meteorologists can use to predict the likely intensity of rainfall for the coming summer.

"Using our new framework, we found that the characteristics of southeastern U.S. rainfall are influenced by multiple climate factors," said Laifang Li, a PhD student in climatology at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment. "By identifying which of these climate factors or conditions is occurring, we can make more accurate rainfall intensity forecasts."

The intensity of light rainfall is associated with the combined effects of La Nina and the tri-pole sea surface temperature anomaly (SSTA) pattern over the North Atlantic, she explained. Strong, heavy rainfall is more likely to occur in years when there is a horseshoe-like SSTA pattern over the north Atlantic. In contrast, moderate rainfall is more likely caused by internal dynamics in the atmosphere and is less correlated with the SSTA.

Li developed the new statistical modeling framework with her doctoral advisor, Wenhong Li, assistant professor of climatology at the Nicholas School.

"Traditionally, probability models treat rainfall samples with a single cluster. These models cannot capture the multi-mode feature of summer rainfall and associated factors that influence precipitation over the Southeast. Our new framework, by comparison, is based on a configuration of a three-cluster finite normal mixture model and is realized using Bayesian inference. Each cluster reflects the characteristics of light, moderate or heavy rainfall," Laifang Li explained.

By using a three-cluster framework, Li and Li found they can better identify the characteristics of rainfall and its underlying physical processes. This allows them to make more accurate seasonal forecasts.

While their current framework is designed specifically to forecast rainfall intensity in the Southeast during the months of June to August, they believe it can be adjusted and extended to other regions and seasons, as well.

"This could be a very useful tool to help us better understand the response of regional hydrology to climate variability and climate change in similar areas around the world," Wenhong Li said.

Li and Li published their finding in a peer-reviewed study in the online, open-access journal Environmental Research Letters.

Funding for the research came from a National Science Foundation grant (AGS-1147608).

CITATION: "Southeastern United States Summer Rainfall Framework and Its Implication for Seasonal Predictions," Laifang Li, Wenhong Li. Environmental Research Letters, Oct. 28, 2013. DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/8/4/044017

Tim Lucas | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.duke.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement

26.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Smooth propagation of spin waves using gold

26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Switchable DNA mini-machines store information

26.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>