AbstractIntermittency is a core characteristic of precipitation, not well described by data and very poorly modeled. Detailed analyses are made of near-global gridded (about 1°) hourly or 3-hourly precipitation rates from two updated observational datasets (TRMM 3B42v7 3-hourly, and CMORPH v1.0 CRT hourly), and from special runs of the CESM model from January 1998 to December 2013 to obtain hourly values. The analyses explore the intermittency of precipitation: the frequency, intensity, duration and amounts. A comparison is made for all products using several metrics with a focus on the duration of events, and a new metric is proposed based upon the ratio of the frequency of precipitation at certain rates (0.2 to 2 mm h−1) for hourly vs 3-hourly vs daily. For all seasons and rain rates TRMM values are similar in pattern to CMORPH but durations are about 80 to 85%. It is mainly over land in the monsoons that CMORPH exceeds TRMM rain durations. Observed duration of precipitation events in CMORPH over oceans are 12 to 15 hours in the tropics and subtropics, much less than the 20 or so hours for CESM. Hence the observational results differ somewhat but both are considerably different from the model, which has too much precipitation overall, and it precipitates far too often at low rates and not enough for intense rates, with the divide about 1 to 2 mm h−1. There is a need to properly represent precipitation phenomena and processes either explicitly or implicitly (parameterized).
Journal of Hydrometeorology – American Meteorological Society
Published: Mar 1, 2017
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