4.3 Using NOAA CDRs and Satellite Data to Connect Phases of the El Niņo Southern Oscillation (ENSO) with Precipitation across Hawaii and the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands (USAPI)

Tuesday, 12 January 2016: 9:00 AM
Room 245 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Nicholas T. Luchetti, DEVELOP National Program, Asheville, NC; and J. Sutton and E. Wright

The United States Affiliated Pacific Islands (USAPI) are highly susceptible to extreme precipitation events such as drought and flooding, which directly affect their freshwater availability. Precipitation distribution differs by sub-region, and is predominantly influenced by phases of the El Niņo Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Forecasters currently rely on ENSO climatologies from sparse in situ station data to inform their precipitation outlooks. This project provided an updated ENSO-based climatology of long-term precipitation patterns for each USAPI Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) using the NOAA PERSIANN Climate Data Record (CDR). This data provided a 30-year record (1984-2015) of daily precipitation at 0.25° resolution, which was used to calculate monthly, seasonal, and yearly precipitation. Results indicated that while the PERSIANN precipitation accurately described the monthly, seasonal, and annual trends, it under-predicted the precipitation on the islands. Additionally, maps showing percent departure from normal (30 year average) were made for each three month season based on the Oceanic Niņo Index (ONI) for five ENSO phases (moderate-strong El Niņo and La Niņa, weak El Niņo and La Niņa, and neutral). Local weather service offices plan on using these results and maps to better prepare their communities for the likelihood of drought.
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