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Ariana Marrero joined us this summer from the University of Puerto Rico in Mayaguez. With advisor Professor Eric Maloney, she did a climate modeling study of variability about the seasonal cycle in the tropical eastern pacific and Caribbean Sea.

She used two different model runs of the NCAR CAM3/RAS to compare variability in the Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) and the Caribbean Sea. The model was run with different precipitation sensitivities to free tropospheric humidity. Ariana then compared the climate model runs to daily 850 hPa observational data from NCEP/NCAR reanalysis for the years 1998-2006, and TRMM 3B42 data for the same period. The analysis concentrated on boreal summer (June-October), when mean precipitation and precipitation variability in this region is strongest. An analysis that compares the boreal summer to the all-season mean demonstrates the increased precipitation activity in this region during the summer months as compared to the annual cycle.

She found that a simulation with implementation of a moisture trigger that increases sensitivity of precipitation to free tropospheric humidity creates stronger precipitation and wind variance across the east Pacific as compared to the control simulation, and also a better variance distribution compared to observations. Representing adequate sensitivity of climate model precipitation to tropospheric moisture is critical because in nature, entraining convective elements may lose buoyancy and achieve lower heights in the presence of dry atmospheres. Deep convection is only supported in the presence of moist atmospheres, especially in regions of appropriate uplift.

Her study also showed that substantial model biases remain even with the moisture trigger employed, including excessive variance over southern Mexico, which may be contributed by the coarse representation of North and Central American topography. Ariana's research poster is here, Climate modeling Study of Variability about the Seasonal Cycle in the Tropical Eastern Pacific and the Caribbean Sea, 1MB PDF.

Ariana's research interests include tropical meteorology, studying huricanes and radar meteorology. Outside of her studies, she enjoys volleyball, gym, watching TV and spending time with family and friends.