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NCAR joins international field campaign to study extreme rainfall in Pacific

NCAR experts and instruments support summer field project based in Taiwan

Jun 9, 2022 - by Ali Branscombe

A field campaign to study extreme rainfall is underway this summer, bringing together an international team of atmospheric experts in one of the wettest areas of the globe. Based out of western Taiwan and a southern island of Japan, the Prediction of Rainfall Extremes Campaign in the Pacific (PRECIP) research team, including experts from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), will be carefully collecting data and observations of the extreme storms and monsoons that are common in this region.

“Extreme rainfall events are gravely disruptive to society,” said Rosimar Ríos-Berríos, NCAR scientist and one of the principal investigators for PRECIP. “Yet we know little about what causes extreme rainfall in some cases versus light to moderate rainfall in other cases.”

Though the field campaign is taking place in the Pacific, the impacts of extreme rainfall – like mudslides and flooding – affect much of the globe. The information gathered from PRECIP will lead to improved forecasting capabilities. “Knowing what factors distinguish these different events could be incredibly helpful for improving our ability to forecast extreme rainfall well in advance,” said Ríos-Berríos.

PRECIP is supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation and led by Colorado State University scientists Michael Bell and Kristen Rasmussen, with seven other partners from U.S. academic institutions and several international partners in Taiwan, Japan, and Korea.

The field campaign will employ a suite of ground- and air-based technologies that will record detailed information on the storms and precipitation observed. Among the fleet of technologies is NCAR’s S-PolKa radar, and MicroPulse DIAL instruments to measure water vapor. Ríos-Berríos will be particularly focused on identifying the model errors that result in inaccurate forecasts for extreme rain. To reach this objective, the scientists will use real-time forecasts with NCAR’s Model for Prediction Across Scales–Atmosphere (MPAS-A) with a special Taiwan-centered configuration, combined with the Weather and Forecasting Model (WRF) ensemble forecasts produced by a team at Pennsylvania State University.

Read Colorado State University’s press release

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