Spatiotemporal variability of hourly precipitation over the Eastern contiguous United States from stage IV multisensor analyses

Ana L. Kursinski, Steven L. Mullen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The statistical character of precipitation events from hourly stage IV analyses is documented for the eastern United States during the cool [December February (DJF)] and the warm [June-August (JJA)] seasons for the four years of 2002-05. Isotropic e-folding distances and in situ e-folding times are computed for mesh sizes that vary from 4 km (the minimal stage IV pixel size) to 32 km for two thresholds: light (1 mm h-1) and heavy (5 mm h-1) precipitation rates. Marked seasonal variability characterizes the e-folding times. They typically run between 2 and 3 h during winter and 1 and 2 h during summer for light events, and they run an hour shorter for heavy rainfall during both seasons. Spatial decorrelation estimates also reveal considerable seasonal and geographical variability; e-folding distances typically lie between 60 and 180 km during the winter and between 30 and 60 km during the summer for light episodes, and they are approximately a factor of 2 to 3 shorter for heavy events. Anisotropic statistics are estimated by a simple geometric model. Hourly precipitation patterns show a preference for a southwest-northeast orientation during both seasons with greater elongation during the winter. Mean propagation velocities of precipitating systems are faster and are more closely aligned with the dilatation axis during the winter. These statistics should provide useful guidance for diagnosing and improving the spatiotemporal variance characteristics of precipitation for downscaling algorithms and numerical models of hydrometeorological prediction systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-21
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Hydrometeorology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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