Elsner J.B.

A Statistical Method for Forecasting Rainfall over Puerto Rico

Carter MM, Elsner JB. 1997. A statistical method for forecasting rainfall over Puerto Rico. Weather Forecasting 12: 515–525.

Using results from a factor analysis regionalization of nontropical storm convective rainfall over the island of Puerto Rico, a statistical methodology is investigated for its potential to forecast rain events over limited areas. Island regionalization is performed on a 15-yr dataset, while the predictive model is derived from 3 yr of surface and rainfall data. The work is an initial attempt at improving objective guidance for operational rainfall forecasting in Puerto Rico. Surface data from two first-order stations are used as input to a partially adaptive classification tree to predict the occurrence of heavy rain. Results from a case study show that the methodology has skill above climatology—the leading contender in such cases. The algorithm also achieves skill over persistence. Comparisons of forecast skill with a linear discriminant analysis suggest that classification trees are an easier and more natural way to handle this kind of forecast problem. Synthesis of results confirms the notion that despite the very local nature of tropical convection, synoptic-scale disturbances are responsible for prepping the environment for rainfall. Generalizations of the findings and a discussion of a more realistic forecast setting in which to apply the technology for improving tropical rainfall forecasts are given.

Convective rainfall regions in puerto rico

Carter, M.M., 1995. Convective Rainfall Regions in Puerto Rico.
Masters thesis, Florida State University, Tallahassee, 75pp.

Geographical regions of covariability in hourly precipitation over the island of Puerto Rico are exposed using factor analysis. It is argued that the data are consistent with a common factor model when an orthgonal rotation is applied to the factor loading matrix. The results suggest that Puerto Rico can be divided into six regions, with each region having a similar covariance structure of summer season convective rainfall. The six regions can be grouped into a western area and an eastern area based on contrasting diurnal rainfall signatures. The study is the first step in developing improved forecast guidance for precipitation over the island. It is believed to be one of the first studies attempting geographical regionalization of precipitation on the convective scale.
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