Two University of Iowa researchers recently tested the ability of the world’s most advanced weather forecasting models to predict the Sept. 9-16, 2013 extreme rainfall that caused severe flooding in Boulder, Colo.
The dark blue areas over Colorado indicate regions that received more than 1,000 percent of their normal rainfall for Sept. 10-16, 2013. Courtesy of the U.S. National Weather Service Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service.
The results, published in the December 2013 issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters, indicated the forecasting models generally performed well, but also left room for improvement.
David Lavers and Gabriele Villarini, researchers at IIHR—Hydroscience and Engineering, a world-renowned UI research facility, evaluated rainfall forecasts from eight different global numerical weather prediction (NWP) models.
During September 2013, Boulder County and surrounding areas experienced severe flooding and heavy rain resulting in fatalities, the loss of homes and businesses, and the declaration of a major disaster.
After the storms had subsided, Lavers and Villarini decided to examine how well some of the leading NWP models had done. As a constantly improving science, NWP involves integrating current weather conditions through mathematical models of the atmosphere-ocean system to forecast future weather. For their study, the researchers selected the actual rainfall forecasts made by eight state-of-the-art global NWP models for the period of the Colorado floods.
“At an early lead time to the event, the rainfall forecasts failed to capture the persistent nature of the event’s rainfall,” says Lavers, corresponding author and an IIHR postdoctoral researcher. “However, the rainfall forecasts from Sept. 9 (the first day of the event) did provide guidance indicating a significant period of rainfall in Colorado.”
“Overall, these models tended to underestimate rainfall amounts and placed the rainfall in the wrong area, even though they provided an indication that a period of heavy rainfall was going to affect parts of Colorado,” says Gabriele Villarini, study co-author, assistant professor in the UI College of Engineering Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and assistant research engineer at IIHR.
In their study, Lavers and Villarini used a reasonably coarse (having a relatively low number of pixels) global model output. The UI researchers emphasize that higher spatial resolution NWP models are likely to have captured the rainfall to a greater extent.
Says Lavers: “It is hoped that the continuing development of finer resolution NWP models that resolve the complex atmospheric motions in mountainous terrain, such as the Rocky Mountains, will make it possible to improve the forecasting capabilities of such extreme rainfall events.”
The paper is formally titled: “Were global numerical weather prediction systems capable of forecasting the extreme Colorado rainfall of 9-16 September 2013?”
The research was supported by IIHR, the Iowa Flood Center, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Institute for Water Resources.
ContactsDavid Lavers, IIHR--Hydroscience and Engineering, 319-335-5237
Gary Galluzzo | EurekAlert!
New insights into the ancestors of all complex life
29.05.2017 | University of Bristol
A 3-D look at the 2015 El Niño
29.05.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.
The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...
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....
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....
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...
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...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
30.05.2017 | Life Sciences
30.05.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
29.05.2017 | Earth Sciences