The relationship between total precipitable water and precipitation rate

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Monday, 18 January 2010
Kelly M. Howell, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO; and S. Q. Kidder and T. H. Vonder Haar

Handout (297.7 kB)

Atmospheric water vapor is a necessary condition for precipitation. In this paper, the statistical distributions of precipitable water and precipitation rate will be studied. Blended Total Precipitable Water (bTPW) from the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA) will be used for the water vapor data, and the Climate Prediction Center morphing method (CMORPH) will be used for the precipitation rate. Particular attention will be focused on deriving the conditional probabilities of precipitation rate given the total precipitable water. These relationships are potentially useful for several purposes, including predicting the probability of rain, analyzing the performance of models, and comparing satellite retrieval algorithms.