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!
Smart Data Transformation – Surfing the Big Wave
02.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT
Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections
18.11.2016 | University of Vermont
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy