Antarctic Atmospheric Rivers – UROP Spring Symposium 2021

Antarctic Atmospheric Rivers

Namitha Kumar


Pronouns: she/hers

Research Mentor(s): Ashley Payne, Assistant Professor
Research Mentor School/College/Department: Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering, College of Engineering
Presentation Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Session: Session 6 (4pm-4:50pm)
Breakout Room: Room 15
Presenter: 5

Event Link


Atmospheric Rivers (ARs) are long and narrow areas of concentrated moisture found within the first few kilometers of the atmosphere. When they make landfall, this moisture is released in the form of rain or snow, at times transporting moisture from the tropics or subtropics. Due to their impacts at landfall, there has been an explosion of interest in characterizing ARs. However, the AR definition is largely qualitative and relies on regionally specific case studies from the North Pacific, therefore, a number of AR detection algorithms exist. I will be focusing on the region of Antarctica because there is little studied from that region, and there are large differences between algorithms when applied to that region. The Atmospheric River Tracking Method Intercomparison Project (ARTMIP) aims to identify and quantify the uncertainty in AR science due to algorithm choice. The focus of this project is on a set of AR catalogues from ten algorithms run on MERRA-2 reanalysis (1 hour time intervals and 0.5 degree latitude and longitude intervals). This project seeks to understand and quantify the differences between regional and global algorithms when applied to the region of Antarctica by examining how the number of AR events changes with algorithm and comparing algorithms along transects in Antarctica. We can cross analyze the output of each of the detection algorithms to identify areas of inconsistency in atmospheric river detection and understand the nature and source of those inconsistencies, which is the goal of this UROP project.

Authors: Namitha Kumar, Ashley Payne
Research Method: Computer Programming

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