JP2.5 Development of a public interface for multi-sensor precipitation estimates

Wednesday, 22 June 2005
Katherine L. Horgan, North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh, NC; and M. Gentry, R. P. Boyles, and S. Raman

Clients who contact the State Climate Office of North Carolina (SCO) are most frequently interested in the location, amount, and timing of precipitation. The current method of answering these requests is by supplying cooperative observer (daily) or ASOS/AWOS (hourly) observations. However, the lack of spatial density of surface gages forces the SCO and other offices to provide the public with observations from the closest station, which is often not close enough to provide an accurate representation of local precipitation. The National Weather Service's River Forecasting Centers have developed a product known as Multi-sensor Precipitation Estimates (MPE) consisting of gridded radar estimated precipitation on a 4-km grid, corrected with quality-controlled surface observations from available gages. The estimates are available on a 1h, 6h, and 24h basis. The National Center for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) provides the MPE data on a national grid in GRIB format, which is what was used in this instance. Using a combination of GrADS, PERL, and PHP scripting, a product was designed in order to allow the public to view this data and be able to access both numerical and graphical displays of precipitation over any latitude and longitude point or range in the continental United States. A website is now available through the SCO where this is possible. Research on precipitation variability and flash flooding is enhanced with convenient access to MPE through this service. The public also can benefit from improved estimates of precipitation values at their specific location of interest.
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