Evaluating the Large-Scale Environment of Extreme Events Using Reanalyses

Friday, 19 December 2014
Michael G Bosilovich1, Siegfried D Schubert2, Randal D Koster1, Arlindo M da Silva Jr.3 and Andrew Eichmann3, (1)NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Global Modeling and Assimilation Office, Greenbelt, MD, United States, (2)Global Modeling and Assimilation Office, Greenbelt, MD, United States, (3)NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States
Extreme conditions and events have always been a long standing concern in weather forecasting and national security. While some evidence indicates extreme weather will increase in global change scenarios, extremes are often related to the large scale atmospheric circulation, but also occurring infrequently. Reanalyses assimilate substantial amounts of weather data and a primary strength of reanalysis data is the representation of the large-scale atmospheric environment. In this effort, we link the occurrences of extreme events or climate indicators to the underlying regional and global weather patterns. Now, with greater than 3o years of data, reanalyses can include multiple cases of extreme events, and thereby identify commonality among the weather to better characterize the large-scale to global environment linked to the indicator or extreme event. Since these features are certainly regionally dependent, and also, the indicators of climate are continually being developed, we outline various methods to analyze the reanalysis data and the development of tools to support regional evaluation of the data.

Here, we provide some examples of both individual case studies and composite studies of similar events. For example, we will compare the large scale environment for Northeastern US extreme precipitation with that of highest mean precipitation seasons. Likewise, southerly winds can shown to be a major contributor to very warm days in the Northeast winter. While most of our development has involved NASA’s MERRA reanalysis, we are also looking forward to MERRA-2 which includes several new features that greatly improve the representation of weather and climate, especially for the regions and sectors involved in the National Climate Assessment.