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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 1, 2024
  2. Abstract

    Climate-driven changes in precipitation amounts and their seasonal variability are expected in many continental-scale regions during the remainder of the 21st century. However, much less is known about future changes in the predictability of seasonal precipitation, an important earth system property relevant for climate adaptation. Here, on the basis of CMIP6 models that capture the present-day teleconnections between seasonal precipitation and previous-season sea surface temperature (SST), we show that climate change is expected to alter the SST-precipitation relationships and thus our ability to predict seasonal precipitation by 2100. Specifically, in the tropics, seasonal precipitation predictability from SSTs is projected to increase throughout the year, except the northern Amazonia during boreal winter. Concurrently, in the extra-tropics predictability is likely to increase in central Asia during boreal spring and winter. The altered predictability, together with enhanced interannual variability of seasonal precipitation, poses new opportunities and challenges for regional water management.

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  3. Abstract

    Understanding the nature and origin of errors in satellite precipitation products is important for applications and product improvement. Here we propose a new error decomposition scheme incorporating precipitation event (continuous rainy periods) information to characterize satellite errors. Under this framework, the errors are attributed to the inaccuracies in event occurrence, timing (event start/end time), and intensity. The Integrated MultisatellitE Retrieval for Global Precipitation Measurement (IMERG) is used as our test product to apply the method over CONUS. The above‐listed factors contribute approximately 30%, 20%, and 50% to the total bias, respectively. Significant asymmetry exists in the temporal distribution of biases throughout events: early event endings cause threefold more precipitation amount bias than late event beginnings, while early event beginnings cause fourfold more bias than late event endings. Dominant contributors vary across seasons and regions. The proposed error decomposition provides insight into sources of error for improved retrievals.

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  4. Abstract Changing wildfire regimes in the western US and other fire-prone regions pose considerable risks to human health and ecosystem function. However, our understanding of wildfire behavior is still limited by a lack of data products that systematically quantify fire spread, behavior and impacts. Here we develop a novel object-based system for tracking the progression of individual fires using 375 m Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite active fire detections. At each half-daily time step, fire pixels are clustered according to their spatial proximity, and are either appended to an existing active fire object or are assigned to a new object. This automatic system allows us to update the attributes of each fire event, delineate the fire perimeter, and identify the active fire front shortly after satellite data acquisition. Using this system, we mapped the history of California fires during 2012–2020. Our approach and data stream may be useful for calibration and evaluation of fire spread models, estimation of near-real-time wildfire emissions, and as means for prescribing initial conditions in fire forecast models. 
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  5. Abstract. This paper presents the results of the ensemble Riemannian data assimilation for relatively high-dimensional nonlinear dynamical systems, focusing on the chaotic Lorenz-96 model and a two-layer quasi-geostrophic (QG) model of atmospheric circulation. The analysis state in this approach is inferred from a joint distribution that optimally couples the background probability distribution and the likelihood function, enabling formal treatment of systematic biases without any Gaussian assumptions. Despite the risk of the curse of dimensionality in the computation of the coupling distribution, comparisons with the classic implementation of the particle filter and the stochastic ensemble Kalman filter demonstrate that, with the same ensemble size, the presented methodology could improve the predictability of dynamical systems. In particular, under systematic errors, the root mean squared error of the analysis state can be reduced by 20 % (30 %) in the Lorenz-96 (QG) model. 
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  6. Abstract As more global satellite-derived precipitation products become available, it is imperative to evaluate them more carefully for providing guidance as to how well precipitation space-time features are captured for use in hydrologic modeling, climate studies and other applications. Here we propose a space-time Fourier spectral analysis and define a suite of metrics which evaluate the spatial organization of storm systems, the propagation speed and direction of precipitation features, and the space-time scales at which a satellite product reproduces the variability of a reference “ground-truth” product (“effective resolution”). We demonstrate how the methodology relates to our physical intuition using the case study of a storm system with rich space-time structure. We then evaluate five high-resolution multi-satellite products (CMORPH, GSMaP, IMERG-early, IMERG-final and PERSIANN-CCS) over a period of two years over the southeastern US. All five satellite products show generally consistent space-time power spectral density when compared to a reference ground gauge-radar dataset (GV-MRMS), revealing agreement in terms of average morphology and dynamics of precipitation systems. However, a deficit of spectral power at wavelengths shorter than 200 km and periods shorter than 4 h reveals that all satellite products are excessively “smooth”. The products also show low levels of spectral coherence with the gauge-radar reference at these fine scales, revealing discrepancies in capturing the location and timing of precipitation features. From the space-time spectral coherence, the IMERG-final product shows superior ability in resolving the space-time dynamics of precipitation down to 200 km and 4 h scales compared to the other products. 
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  7. Abstract

    Predicting the transport of bedload tracer particles is a problem of significant theoretical and practical interest. Yet, little understanding exists for transport in rivers in the presence of bedforms, which may trap grains and thereby influence travel distance. In a series of flume experiments with a sandy gravel bed in a large experimental flume, bed elevation and tracer travel distances were measured at high resolution for a range of discharges. As discharge increased, bedform height increased and bedform length decreased, increasing bedform steepness. For all tracer sizes and flow conditions, bedforms act as primary controls on the tracer travel distances. Bedform trapping increases linearly with the ratio of bedform height to tracer grain size, with 50% trapping efficiency for a ratio of two and 90% trapping efficiency for a ratio of four. A theoretical model based on the extended active layer formulation for sediment transport is able to capture much of the distribution of measured travel distances for all tracer sizes and discharges, providing a first connection between tracer transport theory and bedform trapping and indicating normal diffusion of tracers at relatively small timescales. Variable bedform geometry can influence trap efficiency for individual bedforms and the theoretical model can help identify “preferential trapping” conditions. The distribution of tracer travel distances for a mixture of grain sizes and variable discharge, as expected in natural rivers, displays heavy tail characteristics.

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