Modeled Precipitation Difference Between 2010 Snowmageddon Event and Winter of 2000
Released on January 31, 2012
Three major snowstorms hit the east coast of the United States in the winter of 2009-2010. Scientists then posed the following question: What was the role of climate variability during this extreme winter? Utilizing high end computing resources at the NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, scientists employed the use of the GEOS-5 atmospheric model in an ensemble of simulations to answer this question. Two case studies were produced. One was the winter of 2009-2010 and the other was the same months during the winter of 1999-2000. 50 member ensembles of high resolution simulations were run (each 3-months long beginning on December 1st for each winter).
The resulting findings were that GEOS-5 simulations forced with observed Sea Surface Temperatures (SST) reproduce observed changes, including enhanced storminess along the United States east coast. The ensemble members showed that this is a robust response, and verified that anomalous weather events over the U.S. are, to a large extent, driven by El Niño SST. Furthermore, North Atlantic SST contributes to the coolor (snow-producing) temperatures along the U.S. east coast.
By subtracting the results of the 1999-2000 runs from the 2009-2010 a difference map can be generated showing the areas that received more precipitation and areas that received less precipitation. Areas that received more precipitation in 2009-2010 over 1999-2000 are depicted in shades of green. Areas that received less precipitation between these two winters are depicted in shades of brown.
Animation showing total accumulated precipitation difference map from Dec. 1, 2009 to Feb. 28, 2010 minus Dec. 1, 1999 to Feb. 28, 2000. The resulting difference map shows the areas that received more precipitation in shades of green, and areas that received less precipitation in shades of brown. (NOTE: The information shown here is obtained from model output and should not be confused with observed measurements.)
GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation:
Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version 184.108.40.206.0