A comparison of atmospheric river catalogs in the northeastern United States

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Student Showcase of Research & Engagement Spring 2019
Duncan, Megan
The purpose of this study is to compare a subjectively identified catalog of Atmospheric Rivers (ARs) over the Northeast U.S. constructed during a Summer 2018 REU project (i.e., the Duncan catalog) to a published objectively identified catalog of ARs by Bin Guan (UCLA/JPL; i.e., the Guan Catalog). This work demonstrates that the Guan Catalog of AR events over the Northeast U.S. is comparable to the Duncan Catalog of AR events in the winter months. The catalogs are most different during the summer months. The Guan Catalog in most cases does not determine the difference between broad regions of enhanced horizontal water vapor transport and more narrow corridors of enhanced horizontal water vapor transport more common to AR events over the Northeast U.S. As a result, the subjective Duncan Catalog dataset is more accurate for determining AR events in the summer months in the Northeast U.S. as compared to the Guan Catalog. Validation of the subjective climatology of AR events in the Duncan Catalog is an important first step in identifying a proper AR dataset to study the relationship between ARs and their impacts over the Northeast U.S. (e.g., flooding).