ARTMIP-early start comparison of atmospheric river detection tools: how many atmospheric rivers hit northern California's Russian River watershed?

TitleARTMIP-early start comparison of atmospheric river detection tools: how many atmospheric rivers hit northern California's Russian River watershed?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsRalph FM, Wilson A.M, Shulgina T., Kawzenuk B., Sellars S., Rutz J.J, Lamjiri M.A, Barnes E.A, Gershunov A, Guan B., Nardi K.M, Osborne T., Wick GA
JournalClimate Dynamics
Volume52
Pagination4973-4994
Date Published2019/04
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0930-7575
Accession NumberWOS:000467187600065
Keywordsamerica; extreme precipitation; frequency; Meteorology & Atmospheric Sciences; moisture; multimodel; transport; tropospheric rivers; vapor signature; weather; west-coast
Abstract

Many atmospheric river detection tools (ARDTs) have now been developed. However, their relative performance is not well documented. This paper compares a diverse set of ARDTs by applying them to a single location where a unique 12-year-long time-series from an atmospheric river observatory at Bodega Bay, California is available. The study quantifies the sensitivity of the diagnosed number, duration, and intensity of ARs at this location to the choice of ARDT, and to the choice of reanalysis data set. The ARDTs compared here represent a range of methods that vary in their use of different variables, fixed vs. percentile-based thresholds, geometric shape requirements, Eulerian vs. Lagrangian approaches, and reanalyses. The ARDTs were evaluated first using the datasets documented in their initial publication, which found an average annual count of 19 +/- 7. Applying the ARDTs to the same reanalysis dataset yields an average annual count of 19 +/- 4. Applying a single ARDT to three reanalyses of varying grid sizes (0.5 degrees, 1.0 degrees-2.5 degrees) showed little sensitivity to the choice of reanalysis. While the annual average AR event count varied by about a factor of two (10-25 per year) depending on the ARDT, average AR duration and maximum intensity varied by less than +/- 10%, i.e., 24 +/- 2h duration; 458 +/- 44kg m(-1) s(-1) maximum IVT. ARDTs that use a much higher threshold for integrated vapor transport were compared separately, and yielded just 1-2 ARs annually on average. Generally, ARDTs that include either more stringent geometric criteria or higher thresholds identified the fewest AR events.

DOI10.1007/s00382-018-4427-5
Short TitleClim. Dyn.
Student Publication: 
No