CalWater 2015 — Atmospheric Rivers and Aerosol Impacts on Precipitation

Thursday, December 17, 2015 - 16:00
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The CalWater 2015 field experiment was conducted between January and March and consisted of more than fifty science flights, a major research cruise, and continuous ground-based observations coordinated to study phenomena driving the incidence of extreme precipitation events and the variability of water supply along the West Coast of the United States. CalWater 2015 examined key processes linked to (1) atmospheric rivers (ARs) in delivering much of the precipitation associated with major winter storms, and (2) aerosols, originating from local sources as well as from remote continents, within and between storms and their modulating effects on precipitation on the U.S. West Coast. As part of a large interagency field effort including NOAA, DOE, NASA, NSF, and the Naval Research Laboratory, four research aircraft from three government agencies were deployed in coordination with the oceangoing NOAA Ronald H. Brown and were equipped with meteorological and chemical observing systems in near-shore regions of California and the eastern Pacific. At the same time, ground-based measurements from NOAA’s HydroMeteorological Testbed (HMT) network on the U.S. West Coast and a major NSF-supported observing site for aerosols and microphysics at Bodega Bay, California provided continuous near surface-level meteorological and chemical observations, respectively, during CalWater 2015. The DOE-sponsored ARM Cloud Aerosol and Precipitation Experiment (ACAPEX) was executed in close coordination with NOAA and NASA facilities and deployed airborne and ship-based observing systems. This presentation summarizes the objectives, implementation strategy, data acquisitions, and some preliminary results from CalWater 2015 addressing science gaps associated with (1) the evolution and structure of ARs including cloud and precipitation processes and air-sea interaction, and (2) aerosol interaction with ARs and the impact on precipitation, including locally-generated aerosol effects on orographic precipitation along the U.S. West Coast. CalWater 2015 is part of a broad, five-year interagency vision called CalWater 2 (http://esrl.noaa.gov/psd/calwater) that includes proposed West Coast observations for multiple winter seasons to address these science gaps.