Meteorologists have known for some time that rainfall forecasts have flaws, as failure to take into account factors such as evaporation can affect their accuracy. Now, researchers from the University of Missouri have developed a system that improves the precision of forecasts by accounting for evaporation in rainfall estimates, particularly for locations 30 miles or more from the nearest National Weather Service radar.
“Right now, forecasts are generally not accounting for what happens to a raindrop after it is picked up by radar,” said Neil Fox, associate professor of atmospheric science in the School of Natural Resources at MU. “Evaporation has a substantial impact on the amount of rainfall that actually reaches the ground. By measuring that impact, we can produce more accurate forecasts that give farmers, agriculture specialists and the public the information they need.”