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

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

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 the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>