Global Precipitation Experiment - A New World Climate Research Programme Lighthouse Activity

Journal Article
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 2024
Xubin Zeng, Lincoln Alves, Marie-Amélie Boucher, Annalisa Cherchi, Charlotte DeMott, A.P. Dimri, Andrew Gettelman, Edward Hanna, Takeshi Horinouchi, Jin Huang, Chris Lennard, L. Ruby Leung, Yali Luo, Meloth Thamban, Hindumathi Palanisamy, Sara C. Pryor, Marion Saint-Lu, Stefan P. Sobolowski, Detlef Stammer, Jakob Steiner, Bjorn Stevens, Stefan Uhlenbrook, Michael Wehner, Paquita Zuidema
Abstract The future state of the global water cycle and prediction of freshwater availability for humans around the world remain among the challenges of climate research and are relevant to several United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The Global Precipitation EXperiment (GPEX) takes on the challenge of improving the prediction of precipitation quantity, phase, timing and intensity, characteristics that are products of a complex integrated system. It will achieve this by leveraging existing World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) activities and community capabilities in satellite, surface-based, and airborne observations, modeling and experimental research, and by conducting new and focused activities. It was launched in October 2023 as a WCRP Lighthouse Activity. Here we present an overview of the GPEX Science Plan that articulates the primary science questions related to precipitation measurements, process understanding, model performance and improvements, and plans for capacity development. The central phase of GPEX is the WCRP Years of Precipitation for 2-3 years with coordinated global field campaigns focusing on different storm types (atmospheric rivers, mesoscale convective systems, monsoons, and tropical cyclones, among others) over different regions and seasons. Activities are planned over the three phases (before, during, and after the Years of Precipitation) spanning a decade. These include gridded data evaluation and development, advanced modeling, enhanced understanding of processes critical to precipitation, multi-scale prediction of precipitation events across scales, and capacity development. These activities will be further developed as part of the GPEX Implementation Plan.