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!
Amputees can learn to control a robotic arm with their minds
28.11.2017 | University of Chicago Medical Center
The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.
Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences
15.12.2017 | Life Sciences