Global study of atmospheric rivers precipitation in remote sensing and reanalysis products

Alireza Arabzadeh, Reza Ehsani, Stella Heflin, and Ali Behrangi
Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences, The University of Arizona

Atmospheric rivers (ARs) are elongated narrow corridors of water vapor transport in the low-level jet layer of the atmosphere. ARs are typically longer than 2000 km and less than 1000 km wide and are often made of poleward and lateral moisture transport. Several studies have shown AR’s key contribution to total and extreme precipitation at the regional scale. In the present work, and in light of the availability of global data sets, we perform a global analysis of AR precipitation using various products covering an 18-year period (2001to 2018). More specifically we will: (1) investigate the frequency of AR occurrence, (2) compare precipitation intensity and volume of AR events with Non-AR events, and (3) focus on precipitation extremes and their relationship with the AR events. Here extreme events are defined as daily precipitation rates larger than 95th percentile of all daily precipitation rates in a year. We study the extreme events globally and zonally using remotely sensing and reanalysis products, then we focus on a few selected regions over land where ARs can have a large impact (e.g., due to floods resulted from extreme precipitation). Here we cross-compare AR precipitation from four widely used precipitation products. We also compare the results with two well-known reanalysis precipitation products to assess potential differences between satellite and reanalysis products with respect to capturing ARs’ precipitation features such as frequency, intensity, and extremes

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