WDT meteorologists Dr. Richard Carpenter, Dr. Chris Porter, and Noah Lock recently developed a research project for undergraduate students at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma (USAO), located in Chickasha, Oklahoma. The project involves the estimation of precipitation using a variety of observational platforms: rain gauge, radar, and satellite. It’s a difficult problem because, while each of the sources of information are generally quite accurate (particularly so for gauges and radar), they suffer from various limitations. For instance, gauges will not report accurately in freezing conditions, while radar beams can be blocked by terrain or significantly overshoot surface locations in between radars.
Dr. Quan Tran, Associate Professor of Mathematics at USAO, is using this project in his course this year. The goal of PIC Math - Preparation for Industrial Careers in Mathematical Sciences courses like this is to engage students with mathematical research problems that come directly from businesses, industry and/or government. Students enrolled in the course present the results of their research at national mathematics conferences.
The figure below shows radar-based estimates (in millimeters) on a 250-m grid overlaid with rain gauge measurements (small circles). The data have been provided to the students, who will use it to research data analysis and error minimization techniques.
For more information about WDT’s real-time, high-resolution precipitation estimates, see WDT and MetStat Introduce Collaborative Effort: SkyWise MetStorm.