Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Probing the Southwest’s Summer Rains

02.08.2004


From Mazatlán to Tucson, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is analyzing moisture-laden skies through September as part of the largest study yet of the North American Monsoon. Each year the midsummer arrival of quenching rains plays a vital role in dryland farming, ranching, and wildfire control across the southwest United States and northwest Mexico. The monsoon may also hold useful clues for predicting summer rainfall elsewhere in the United States.



“A long-term goal of the project is to produce forecasts of the monsoon’s onset with perhaps more than a week of lead time,” says NCAR’s David Gochis, one of the principal investigators for the North American Monsoon Experiment (NAME). "We’re exploring the limits of predictability.”

As with other monsoons around the world, the North American Monsoon develops in late spring and early summer as intensifying sunlight heats dry inland areas. The rising air across Mexico’s Sierra Madre and Central Plateau helps pull moisture from the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and the adjacent gulfs of California and Mexico, eventually triggering intense rains.


During June and July, the northward progress of intense summer heat pulls moisture in its wake, bringing showers and thunderstorms as far north as Colorado. However, the timing and strength of the monsoon varies from year to year, and its relationship to other weather features across North America is not well understood, according to Gochis. “We’re trying to link, on a continental scale, what have previously been viewed as somewhat disparate atmospheric systems,” says Gochis.

NAME is an eight-year study led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Mexico’s national weather service. The project’s major field campaign, which runs from July through September, involves scientists from more than 30 universities, laboratories, and agencies in the United States, Mexico, and Central America.

NCAR’s S-Pol Doppler radar is stationed near Mazatlán this summer for NAME. Elsewhere across northwest Mexico, three sets of profilers (upward-pointing radars) and radiometers will analyze winds and moisture aloft. Weather balloons, to be launched by undergraduate meteorology students from the United States and Mexico, will collect more detail on upper-level winds, temperature, and moisture. NCAR’s tools will join a host of others, including NOAA’s P-3 aircraft and a research vessel from the Mexican navy. NCAR’s parent organization, the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, is helping with logistics for the sprawling field program. UCAR’s Joint Office for Science Support is hosting the NAME Project Office and maintaining the project’s online data catalog.

To prepare for NAME, Gochis oversaw the deployment of 100 rain gauges now being monitored by water managers and volunteers across Mexico’s Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range. He and his colleagues are investigating how the intense summer rains in this area modulate the central U.S. climate.

Meanwhile, the radar and upper-air data will help Steven Rutledge (Colorado State University), Richard Carbone (NCAR), and their CSU and NCAR colleagues to describe and understand the daily rains in and near the Sierra Madre Occidental and the cloud physics and dynamics that shape them. "All of this is to help us better represent rainfall processes in global weather and climate models," says Carbone.

In Tucson, Arizona, the monsoon’s arrival on July 8--five days later than average--was among the 12 latest in the last half-century. A late start to the monsoon, says Gochis, can stress water resources in the Southwest and reduce yields for dryland farmers in Mexico. "This is a great year to look at how we define the onset of the monsoon," says Gochis. "For a good portion of Mexico, the monsoon circulation was quite delayed in coming on."

NAME’s main goal this summer is to sample the atmospheric processes behind the monsoon in enough detail to create better computer models of its evolution. Over the next several years, NAME scientists will study possible links between the monsoon and neighboring weather regimes. The project is also strengthening ties between the U.S. and Mexican weather services, says NOAA’s José Meitín, a visiting scientist at UCAR and director of the NAME Operations Center in Mazatlán. "Both of the weather services are forecasting for NAME, and a combined assessment is being issued as the official forecast each day," Meitín says.

UCAR manages NCAR under primary sponsorship by the National Science Foundation. Opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

| newswise
Further information:
http://www.ucar.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Antarctic Ice Sheet mass loss has increased
14.06.2018 | Technische Universität Dresden

nachricht WAKE-UP provides new treatment option for stroke patients | International study led by UKE
17.05.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf

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: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

Im Focus: Photoexcited graphene puzzle solved

A boost for graphene-based light detectors

Light detection and control lies at the heart of many modern device applications, such as smartphone cameras. Using graphene as a light-sensitive material for...

Im Focus: Water is not the same as water

Water molecules exist in two different forms with almost identical physical properties. For the first time, researchers have succeeded in separating the two forms to show that they can exhibit different chemical reactivities. These results were reported by researchers from the University of Basel and their colleagues in Hamburg in the scientific journal Nature Communications.

From a chemical perspective, water is a molecule in which a single oxygen atom is linked to two hydrogen atoms. It is less well known that water exists in two...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Novel method for investigating pore geometry in rocks

18.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

Diamond watch components

18.06.2018 | Process Engineering

New type of photosynthesis discovered

18.06.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>