Investigating Atmospheric Rivers using GPS TPW during CalWater 2015

Friday, 18 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Vanessa Almanza1, James H Foster2 and Steven Businger1, (1)University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI, United States, (2)University of Hawaii, Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, Honolulu, HI, United States
Ship-based Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers have been successful in obtaining millimeter accuracy total precipitable water (TPW). We apply this technique with a field experiment using a GPS meteorology system installed on board the R/V Ronald Brown during the CalWater 2015 project. The goal of CalWater is to monitor atmospheric river (AR) events over the Eastern Pacific Ocean and improve forecasting of the extreme precipitation events they can produce. During the 30-day cruise, TPW derived from radiosonde balloons released from the Ron Brown are used to verify the accuracy of shipboard GPS TPW. The results suggest that ship-based GPS TPW offers a cost-effective approach for acquiring accurate real-time meteorological observations of TPW in AR’s over remote oceans, as well as near the coastlines where satellites algorithms have limited accuracy. The results have implications for augmenting operational observing networks to improve weather prediction and nowcasting of ARs, thereby supporting hazard response and mitigation efforts associated with coastal flooding events.