AMS Annual Meeting

The Hydrology Committee sponsors the following sessions at the AMS Annual Meeting:
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Advances in Evaporation and Evaporative Demand:

Advances in the estimation of evapotranspiration (ET) and atmospheric evaporative demand (Eo) are made across a broad range of scales and techniques, from in-situ observations to remote sensing and modeling. Specific topics for this session may include but are not limited to: (1) estimating ET from various perspectives: remote sensing platforms, ground-based point observations and parameterizations, plant-based experimentation, and water budgets; (2) operational ET estimation; (3) land surface-atmosphere feedbacks; (4) future remote sensing missions and needs for ET; (5) Eo as an input to operational LSMs to derive ET, schedule crop irrigation, and as a metric of hydroclimatic trends and variability.

Drought analysis and prediction:

Drought is a multi-faceted phenomenon that challenges our current prediction capabilities. Taking drought prediction and hydrological applications to the next level requires advances in understanding, monitoring, communications and water resources management. Specific topics addressed by presenters could include but are not limited to: Current drought prediction science and skill at various lead times; innovative management uses of that science; and case studies illustrating advances in understanding, monitoring and prediction of drought and drought impacts. Further, papers addressing gaps and deficiencies in our current methods for predicting droughts and estimating its effects on vegetation, water resources, and human populations are also invited. 

Flood Prediction, Analysis, Decision Support, & Management:

A number of new regional and national real-time flood forecasting systems are emerging for a variety of applications. These new systems are taking advantage of new national hydrologic data standards, new advances in supercomputing availability and improvements in model parameterizations and meteorological forcing datasets. This session encourages contributions from academic, government and the private sector groups who have built and deployed such systems. Additionally, contributions are welcome from researchers who have developed novel methodologies to sense and model fast response dynamics including very high resolution hydraulics models. Presentations on hydrologic data assimilation methodologies for flood prediction and presentations summarizing results from recent real-time flood prediction projects such as the NOAA Flash Flood and intense Rainfall (FFaiR) experiment and National Flood Interoperability Experiment (NFIE) among others are also encouraged.

Hydrological Processes with Application to Urban Environments:

The Hydrology Committee and the AMS Board on Urban Environment will jointly host a conference session that solicits papers on experimental measurements, numerical modeling, and theoretical advances in understanding hydrological processes with applications to urban environments. Topics of interests include urban hydroclimate forecasting, hydrological modeling in built environments, water resources management in cities, and water-energy nexus in sustainable urban development. Of particular interest, this joint session invites papers that address: (1) The complex geographic effect due to the presence of heterogeneous land use land covers; (2) The impact of engineered materials and structures on the coupled energy and water cycles; (3) The regulating power of man-made hydrological/hydraulic systems on environmental sustainability, including green infrastructure, irrigation schemes, retention ponds, etc.; and (4) Mitigation and adaptation strategies to emerging urban hydrometeorological patterns and extremes. 

Hydrometeorological Extremes:

High-impact hydrometeorological events produce the most destructive and costly outcomes of any weather-driven phenomena world-wide. Furthermore, despite significant progress over the last several decades, forecasting and warning for these events still lacks the precision that could minimize loss of property and life, especially in developing nations. Excessive precipitation or runoff associated with tropical cyclones/convection, land-based convection, atmospheric rivers, ENSO, and even slow-moving non-convective systems results in both flash-flooding and large-river system floods whose characteristics often depend on local soils, vegetation/agriculture, and topography. Excessive snow-melt, including rain-on-snow, as well as ice-breakup, can also result in destructive flood events. Conversely, severe droughts create deleterious impacts on crop/food production and the water supply. In this session, papers are invited that contribute to our ability to improve real-time/operational forecasts and warnings for these kinds of extremes, including observational as well as modeling approaches that may vary depending upon differing societal contexts. In addition, papers that address promising and innovative methods of assessing and modeling the statistics of hydrometeorological extremes as applied to real-time/operational forecasting/warning systems are encouraged. Papers that document forecast system performance and/or needed improvements in case studies of extreme events are also solicited.

Land-Atmosphere interactions:

Land-climate interactions play a key role in the climate system. The land’s role in the climate system – its impact on atmospheric means and variability across a broad range of timescales, ranging from hours to centuries, for past, present, and future climates – has been the subject of much recent exploratory research. The meteorological, hydrological, biophysical, biogeochemical, ecosystem processes and the boundary-layer processes that underlie the connections between climate and soil moisture, soil temperature, vegetation, snow, and frozen soil, however, are not yet fully understood. The scarcity of relevant observations, the complexity of the underlying processes and feedbacks, and the wide range of scales involved make the necessary investigations challenging. This session focuses on (1) interfaces between climate, ecosystems, and the land branches of the energy, water, and carbon cycles and the impact of land processes on climate variability and change as well as on extreme events (such as droughts and flooding); (2) dynamic, physical, and biogeochemical mechanisms by which the land surface (e.g., soil moisture and temperature, albedo, snow, frozen soil, vegetation) influences atmospheric processes and climate; (3) predictability associated with land-surface/atmosphere/ocean interaction and land initialization; (4) impacts of land-cover and land use change on climate; (5) land-climate interactions in the context of climate variability and change, and (6) application and analyses of large scale field data and observational networks (such as FLUXNET) for land/atmosphere studies.

Land Data Assimilation Techniques and Systems:

This session highlights advances in development and applications of land data assimilation systems (LDAS), which merge ground- or satellite-based land surface observations with estimates from coupled or off-line land surface models, and can be used to initialize weather and seasonal climate forecasts, monitor and predict extreme events, provide improved background information for atmospheric data assimilation, improve process understanding, and support model development.  Contributions may include studies that evaluate or improve land DA methods, assess the impact of the assimilation on the quality of the LDAS products, or use LDAS for the above-mentioned applications.  Moreover, contributions may address the simultaneous assimilation of multiple observation types, use of current and planned hydrology satellite missions, or focus on operational and other routinely-run systems for land-hydrology analysis, forecasting and related purposes.

Land Model Benchmarking: Benchmarking, Verification and Validation in Terrestrial Hydrology:

There are significant challenges associated with assessing the quality and informativeness of both models and data products that are largely related to scale, heterogeneity, complexity, and representativeness. These challenges compound when assessing spatially and temporally distributed model/data products. This session solicits contributions related to innovative methods for: (1) Assessing quality of model/data products, and (2) Assessing the fidelity of models of complex terrestrial hydrologic systems. The former might include methods for measuring or interpreting accuracy, precision, uncertainty, information content, reliability, observability, etc., while the latter recognizes that models are valuable beyond simply their ability to make accurate predictions. Related to the latter we encourage contributions on model diagnostics, identification, and benchmarking. We are particularly interested in benchmarking studies that focus on evaluating the performance of models using a priori metrics and expectations of performance. The use of novel techniques to assess distributed data or models that focus on impacts to and understanding of coupled land atmosphere and hydrometeorological processes and prediction is also encouraged.

Precipitation Processes and Observations for Atmospheric, Land Surface, and Hydrological Modeling:

This session focuses on precipitation observation, modeling, estimation, and applications of in situ and remotely sensed precipitation products. Topics include, but are not limited to (1) precipitation processes and modeling? (2) advances in remote sensing of precipitation from satellite and radar platforms; (3) recent development pertaining to fusion and down-scaling of precipitation products; (4) assimilation of precipitation and precipitation related variables in NWP models; and (5) impacts of improving precipitation estimates on hydrologic and land surface modeling. We particularly encourage novel work related to assimilation of precipitation products into numerical weather prediction models.

Regional climate modeling predicting future changes in extreme precipitation events - Towards More Resilient Engineering Design:

Extreme precipitation estimates used for engineering design of runoff control structures in the United States are largely based on a series of Hydrometeorological Reports by the National Weather Service which include storm data up to the 1970s. While the scientific community now has a better understanding of the physical processes responsible for extreme storms than it did in the 1970s, the application of this understanding to estimating design values has been lagging. Furthermore, given observed and future projected changes in precipitation extremes in a changing climate, the engineering design of hydraulic structures based solely on statistics of past observations is no longer defensible. Regional climate models (RCMs) can play an important role in downscaling global climate model information to the regional and local scale - at which local stakeholders and decision makers operate. In this session we solicit talks related to understanding historical characteristics/trends and future changes in extreme precipitation of relevance to engineering design, with a particular focus on the most extreme values - from 50-100-year return periods to Probable Maximum Precipitation (PMP) values. We welcome talks focusing on historical observations and new observational analyses, modeling (including mesoscale and cloud-resolving models), theoretical/dynamical constraints, and methods to convey uncertainty including actionable information for stakeholders. More general application of RCMs to hydrological, ecological, agricultural and water resources management problems, including the prediction of hydrologic extremes, are also welcome.

Remote sensing applications in hydrology

The session will focus on science and applications of remote sensing in land surface hydrologic sciences. The remotely sensed measurements related to hydrological parameters are from satellite, radar, airborne, or other platforms. We are hoping to increase the discussions on: (1) the current and future requirements for the data sets; (2) the current state of the science for measuring hydrologic parameters using remote sensing platforms; (3) how hydrological models or downstream applications use the remotely sensed data products for decision support; (4) areas where current science methodology does not adequately address the needs of the broader hydrologic community; and (5) new methods and/or new remote sensing technologies that offer potential for improving hydrologic (including land surface parameter) remote sensing.

Water: Too Much, too Little. How Climate Information Supports Community Preparedness:

Precipitation patterns across the nation are changing, but not in the same way everywhere. Some places are experiencing new record extreme precipitation events, while others are coping with drought. As the climate continues to warm it is expected that historical precipitation patterns can no longer be reliably used to plan for the future. The uncertainty about future precipitation places new risks on community infrastructure essential for the livelihoods and safety of its residents.This session will explore how communities are using hydrological information in the context of a changing climate to prepare for an uncertain future for their water, either too much or too little. Presentations should focus on direct applications of climate and hydrological information and tools that inform decision making for community preparedness. Community preparedness can include:(1) Improvements to the built environment, including land use changes, to address changing water resources based on climate information; (2) Policy changes, such as updates to emergency response protocols, water utility planning, and water restriction measures; (3) Help to decision makers to communicate their water related risk management decisions to the public and improve community support and compliance for their decisions. In addition to showing how current information and tools can be used, it is encouraged to demonstrate what additional information would be useful, but is not readily available. Public, academic, and private sector decision support services and tools are welcomed. Key questions each presentation should address include:(a) How is hydrological information in the context of a changing climate being used to inform risk management decisions that improve community preparedness for water too much, and/or water too little? (b) What lessons learned or best practices emerged from your example that could be applied to other communities? (c) Who did you partner with and were these the right partners to improve community preparedness? (4) What additional information could the decision makers in your example have used that is not yet available?