UCLA Scientist honored by DWR for Large Storm Forecasting Efforts in Conjunction with NASA

UCLA Scientist Dr. Bin Guan is the Department of Water Resources (DWR) 2018 Climate Science Service Award honoree for his tool that identifies atmospheric rivers in weather models. Dr. Guan is employed by the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) at the Joint Institute for Regional Earth System Science and Engineering, a scientific collaboration between UCLA and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). This scientific collaboration partners UCLA and JPL in an effort to improve understanding and develop future projections about global climate change and its effect on regional climates and environments.

DWR contracts with NASA to develop forecasts earlier than National Weather Service models can provide. Dr. Guan’s work supports experimental forecasts of these large storms earlier than current models. Whereas current models only forecast weather patterns up to two weeks in advance, identifying and preparing for atmospheric rivers that bring heavy rain will help water managers balance water supply and flood control operations of their reservoirs.

“DWR is pleased to recognize Dr. Guan’s work in evaluating atmospheric rivers in global weather models and using that information to help develop experimental predictions for atmospheric storms at longer lead times,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth.

The award was presented to Dr. Guan by DWR’s Interstate Resources Manager Jeanine Jones at the Dec. 5 DWR/Water Education Foundation workshop in Irvine. The topic of the workshop was improving sub-seasonal to seasonal precipitation forecasting.

DWR’s annual Climate Science Service Award recognizes ongoing assistance provided by researchers who work closely with DWR on climate science projects. These projects and partnerships fuel innovations that help DWR and other water agencies respond to greater demands for water efficiency as climate change, along with California’s growing population and a myriad of other issues, put greater pressure on the California’s water supply and delivery system.

The 2017 Climate Science Service Award recipients included:

  • Dr. Jason Cordeira, Plymouth State University,who developed an analytical tool for characterizing the forecasted probability of atmospheric river storms (a main source of California’s extreme precipitation) making landfall on the West Coast.
  • Dr. David Meko, University of Arizona, who has reconstructed past droughts in the paleo climate record using tree ring data to analyze the duration and severity of big droughts prior to California’s historical record.
  • Dr. Duane Waliser, JPL, NASA, who has led the development of experimental forecasts of atmospheric storms at a sub-seasonal time scale, which would provide several weeks’ advance notice beyond the two-week period available from operational weather forecasts.

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