Jason Otkin

Jason Otkin
University of Wisconsin–Madison | UW · Space Sciences and Engineering Center

PhD

About

131
Publications
29,714
Reads
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4,606
Citations
Citations since 2016
70 Research Items
3579 Citations
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20162017201820192020202120220200400600800
20162017201820192020202120220200400600800
20162017201820192020202120220200400600800
Introduction
My research expertise focuses on three main areas: drought monitoring and forecasting, data assimilation and numerical modeling, and model verification. Satellite observations are a critical component of each of these research themes. I have extensive experience writing research proposals and peer-reviewed publications, and have authored or co-authored more than 80 publications covering diverse topics.
Additional affiliations
October 2015 - present
University of Wisconsin–Madison
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
September 2013 - September 2015
University of Wisconsin–Madison
Position
  • Research Assistant
January 2010 - August 2013
University of Wisconsin–Madison
Position
  • Researcher
Education
September 2000 - May 2003
University of Wisconsin–Madison
Field of study
  • Atmospheric Science

Publications

Publications (131)
Article
Full-text available
1] A regional-scale Observing System Simulation Experiment was used to examine the impact of water vapor (WV) sensitive infrared brightness temperature observations on the analysis and forecast accuracy during a high impact weather event across the central U.S. Ensemble data assimilation experiments were performed using the ensemble Kalman filter a...
Article
Full-text available
Reliable indicators of rapid drought onset can help to improve the effectiveness of drought early warning systems. In this study, the evaporative stress index (ESI), which uses remotely sensed thermal infrared imagery to estimate evapotranspiration (ET), is compared to drought classifications in the U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) and standard precipit...
Article
Full-text available
A regional-scale Observing System Simulation Experiment is used to examine how changes in the horizontal covariance localization radius employed during the assimilation of infrared brightness temperature observations in an ensemble Kalman filter assimilation system impacts the accuracy of atmospheric analyses and short-range model forecasts. The ca...
Article
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Flash droughts, characterized by their unusually rapid intensification, have garnered increasing attention within the weather, climate, agriculture, and ecological communities in recent years due to their large environmental and socioeconomic impacts. Because flash droughts intensify quickly, they require different early warning capabilities and ma...
Article
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The influence of the Unified Noah and Noah‐MP land surface models (LSMs) on the evolution of cumulus clouds reaching convective initiation (CI) is assessed using infrared brightness temperatures (BT) from GOES‐16. Cloud properties from individual cloud objects are examined using output from high‐resolution (500 m horizontal grid spacing) model simu...
Article
Agricultural production in the U.S. Midwest is vulnerable to drought, and specialty crop producers are an underserved audience for monitoring information and decision-support tools. We investigate the decision-making needs of apple, grape, and cranberry growers using a participatory process to develop crop-specific decision calendars. The process h...
Article
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The increasing occurrence of flash droughts with rapid onsets poses a great threat to food security and ecosystem productivity. While temporal trends in flash droughts have been extensively studied, the contributions of climate warming, vegetation greening, and the physiological effect of rising CO2 to trends in flash drought characteristics remain...
Article
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In this study, a polarimetric radar forward model operator was developed for the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model that was based on a scattering algorithm using the T-matrix methodology. Three microphysics schemes—Thompson, Morrison 2-moment, and Milbrandt-Yau 2-moment—were supported in the operator. This radar forward operator used the...
Article
A method is presented to generate quantitative precipitation estimates over Alaska using kriging to merge sparse, unevenly distributed rain gauge observations with quantitative precipitation forecasts from a 3-member ensemble of high-resolution numerical weather prediction models. The estimated error variance of the analysis is computed by starting...
Article
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The present study introduces the online non‐linear bias correction for the assimilation of all‐sky GOES‐16 Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) channel 9 (6.9 μm) radiances in a rapidly cycled EnKF for convective scale data assimilation (DA). This study is the first to explore the use of the radar reflectivity as the anchoring observation for ABI all sky...
Article
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Gross primary productivity (GPP) is the largest flux in the global carbon cycle and satellite‐based GPP estimates have long been used to study the trends and interannual variability of GPP. With recent updates to geostationary satellites, we can now explore the diurnal variability of GPP at a comparable spatial resolution to polar‐orbiting satellit...
Article
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In this paper, we report on the frequency of false onsets of wet season rainfall in the case of the Northern Australian wet season and investigate the role of large‐scale tropical climate processes such as the El Nino‐Southern Oscillation, Indian Ocean Dipole and Madden‐Julian Oscillation. A false onset occurs when a wet season rainfall onset crite...
Article
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The impact of several land surface models (LSMs) and microphysics (MP), planetary boundary layer (PBL), and surface layer schemes on the accuracy of simulated brightness temperatures (BTs) from water vapor (WV) sensitive bands was examined via comparison with observations from the GOES-16 Advanced Baseline Imager. Nine parameterization configuratio...
Article
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Recent years have seen growing appreciation that rapidly intensifying "flash droughts" are significant climate hazards with major economic and ecological impacts. This has motivated efforts to inventory, monitor, and forecast flash drought events. Here we consider the question of whether the term "flash drought" comprises multiple distinct classes...
Article
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Flash drought is characterized by a period of rapid drought intensification with impacts on agriculture, water resources, ecosystems, and the human environment. Addressing these challenges requires a fundamental understanding of flash drought occurrence. This study identifies global hotspots for flash drought from 1980–2015 via anomalies in evapora...
Article
Characteristics and predictability of drought in the Midwestern United States, spanning the Great Plains to the Ohio Valley, at local and regional scales are examined during 1916-2015. Given vast differences in hydroclimatic variability across the Midwest, drought is evaluated in four regions identified using a hierarchical clustering algorithm app...
Article
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Satellite infrared (IR) sounder and imager measurements have become one of the main sources of data used by data assimilation systems to generate initial conditions for numerical weather prediction (NWP) models and atmospheric analysis/reanalysis. This paper reviews the development of satellite IR data assimilation in NWP in recent years, especiall...
Article
Probabilistic forecasts of changes in soil moisture and an Evaporative Stress Index (ESI) on sub-seasonal time scales over the contiguous U.S. are developed. The forecasts use the current land surface conditions and numerical weather prediction forecasts from the Sub-seasonal to Seasonal (S2S) Prediction Project. Changes in soil moisture are quite...
Article
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The flash drought and its associated heat wave that affected western Russia in the summer of 2010 had significant cascading agricultural and socioeconomic impacts. Drought indicators sensitive to soil moisture and evapotranspiration (ET) showed that the flash drought began in June 2010, then intensified rapidly and expanded to cover much of western...
Article
Full-text available
Infrared brightness temperatures (BTs) from the Geostationary Observing Environmental Satellite‐16 Advanced Baseline Imager are used to examine the ability of several microphysics and planetary boundary layer (PBL) schemes, as well as land surface models (LSM) and surface layers, to simulate upper‐level clouds. Six parameterization configurations w...
Article
Full-text available
Environmental science is increasingly reliant on remotely sensed observations of the Earth's surface and atmosphere. Observations from polar-orbiting satellites have long supported investigations on land cover change, ecosystem productivity, hydrology, climate, the impacts of disturbance, and more and are critical for extrapolating (upscaling) grou...
Article
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Flash droughts are characterized by a period of rapid intensification over sub-seasonal time scales that culminates in the rapid emergence of new or worsening drought impacts. This study presents a new flash drought intensity index (FDII) that accounts for both the unusually rapid rate of drought intensification and its resultant severity. The FDII...
Article
Full-text available
Soil moisture deficiency is a major factor in determining crop yields in water-limited agricultural production regions. Evapotranspiration (ET), which consists of crop water use through transpiration and water loss through direct soil evaporation, is a good indicator of soil moisture availability and vegetation health. ET therefore has been an inte...
Article
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During 2017-2019, drought existed in many parts of Australia with varying degrees of severity and varied timing of development and intensification. In a broad sense, the surface climate conditions went from anomalously wet in 2016 to an official government-declared drought from the end of 2017. The drought subsequently intensified further to become...
Article
Full-text available
The term “flash drought” is frequently invoked to describe droughts that develop rapidly over a relatively short timescale. Despite extensive and growing research on flash drought processes, predictability, and trends, there is still no standard quantitative definition that encompasses all flash drought characteristics and pathways. Instead, divers...
Article
The evolution of model-based cloud top brightness temperatures (BT) associated with convective initiation (CI) are assessed for three bulk cloud microphysics schemes in the Weather Research and Forecasting model. Using a composite-based analysis, cloud objects derived from high-resolution (500 m) model simulations are compared to 5-min GOES-16 imag...
Article
Current state-of-the art regional numerical weather forecasts are run at horizontal grid spacings of a few kilometers, which permits medium to large-scale convective systems to be represented explicitly in the model. With the convection parameterization no longer active, much uncertainty in the formulation of subgrid-scale processes moves to other...
Preprint
Full-text available
Environmental science is increasingly reliant on remotely-sensed observations of the Earth's surface and atmosphere. Observations from polar-orbiting satellites have long supported investigations on land cover change, ecosystem productivity, hydrology, climate, the impacts of disturbance, and more, and are critical for extrapolating (upscaling) gro...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Flash drought poses a great threat to terrestrial ecosystems and influences carbon dynamics due to its unusually rapid onset and increasing frequency in a warming climate. Understanding the response of regional terrestrial carbon dynamics to flash drought requires long-term observations of carbon fluxes and soil moisture at a large sca...
Article
Full-text available
The 2010 western Russian heatwave was characterized by historically high surface temperatures that led to devastating impacts on the environment, economy, and society. Recent studies have attributed a quasi-stationary upper level ridge, sensible heat advection, and land-atmosphere temperature coupling as the primary components for the development o...
Article
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The seasonal cycle of the Evaporative Stress Index (ESI) over Australia, and its relationship to observed rainfall and temperature, is examined. The ESI is defined as the standardized anomaly of the ratio of actual evapotranspiration to potential evapotranspiration, and as such, is a measure of vegetation moisture stress associated with agricultura...
Preprint
Full-text available
The term flash drought is frequently invoked to describe droughts that develop rapidly over a relatively short timescale. Despite extensive and growing research on flash drought processes, predictability, and trends, there is still no standard quantitative definition that encompasses all flash drought characteristics and pathways. Instead, diverse...
Article
Full-text available
In this study, bias-corrected temperature and moisture retrievals from the Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer (AERI) were assimilated using the Data Assimilation Research Testbed ensemble adjustment Kalman filter to assess their impact on Weather Research and Forecasting model analyses and forecasts of a severe convective weather (SCW) eve...
Article
Full-text available
Despite the key importance of soil moisture – evapotranspiration (ET) coupling in the climate system, limited availability of soil moisture and ET observations poses a major impediment for investigation of this coupling regarding spatio-temporal characteristics and potential modifications under climate change. To better understand and quantify soil...
Article
In this study, infrared brightness temperatures (BTs) are used to examine how applying stochastic perturbed parameter (SPP) methodology to the widely-used Thompson-Eidhammer cloud microphysics scheme impacts the cloud field in high-resolution forecasts. Modifications are made to add stochastic perturbations to three parameters controlling cloud gen...
Article
Flash droughts are extreme phenomenon that have been identified using two different approaches. The first approach identifies these events based on unusually rapid intensification rates, whereas the second approach implicitly identifies short-term features. This latter approach classifies flash droughts into two types, namely, precipitation deficit...
Article
Full-text available
Rapid intensification toward drought, also known as flash drought, is a subseasonal feature of the climate system whereby the persistence of extreme atmospheric anomalies for several weeks can quickly deplete soil moisture and dramatically increase evaporative stress on the environment. These events can lead to significant impacts on agricultural p...
Article
Full-text available
The connection between drought early warning information and the timing of rangeland managers’ response actions is not well understood. This study investigates U.S. Northern Plains range and livestock managers’ decision-making in response to the 2016 flash drought, by means of a postdrought survey of agricultural landowners and using the Protective...
Article
Ensemble data assimilation experiments were performed to assess the ability of satellite all-sky infrared brightness temperatures and different bias correction (BC) predictors to improve the accuracy of short-range forecasts used as the model background during each assimilation cycle. Satellite observations sensitive to clouds and water vapor in th...
Article
Full-text available
During 2012, flash drought developed and subsequently expanded across large areas of the Central United States (US) with severe impacts to overall water resources and warm-season agricultural production. Recent efforts have yielded a methodology to detect and quantify flash drought occurrence and rate of intensification from climatological datasets...
Article
Full-text available
Flash drought is a term and concept that has gained increasing attention in the research literature and media since it was first coined in the United States in the early 2000s to describe a drought that has undergone rapid intensification. In Australia the term has recently been used in reference to the 2017/18 drought in eastern Australia. Due to...
Article
Full-text available
With the increasing use of the term “flash drought” within the scientific community, Otkin et al. provide a general definition that identifies flash droughts based on their unusually rapid rate of intensification. This study presents an objective percentile-based methodology that builds upon that work by identifying flash droughts using standardize...
Article
This study examines the evolution of soil moisture, evapotranspiration, vegetation, and atmospheric conditions during an unusual flash drought-flash recovery sequence that occurred across the south-central United States during 2015. This event was characterized by a period of rapid drought intensification (flash drought) during late summer that was...
Article
Full-text available
The advanced infrared (IR) and microwave (MW) sounding systems have been providing atmospheric sounding information critical for nowcasting and improving weather forecasts through data assimilation in numerical weather prediction. In recent years, advanced IR and MW sounder systems are being proposed to be onboard CubeSats that are much more cost e...
Article
Full-text available
This study uses correlation analyses to explore relationships between the satellite-derived Evaporative Stress Index (ESI) – which depicts standardized anomalies in an actual to reference evapotranspiration (ET) fraction – and various land and atmospheric variables that impact ET. Correlations between the ESI and forcing variable anomalies calculat...
Article
Full-text available
The evolution of a flash drought event, characterized by a period of rapid drought intensification, is assessed using standard drought monitoring datasets and on-the-ground reports obtained via a written survey of agricultural stakeholders after the flash drought occurred. The flash drought impacted agricultural production across a five-state regio...
Article
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Many research and societal applications such as surface solar irradiance assessment and forecasting require accurate short-term cloudiness forecasts at kilometre and hourly scales. Today limited-area numerical weather prediction models have the potential to provide such forecasts by simulating clouds at high spatial and temporal resolutions. Howeve...
Article
In this study, a statistical method is developed to generate probabilistic forecasts of U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM)-depicted drought intensification over two-, four-, and six-week time periods using recent observations and forecast model output from the Climate Forecasting System (CFS). The predictors used include weekly anomalies in precipitation,...
Article
Full-text available
The Evaporative Stress Index (ESI) quantifies temporal anomalies in a normalized evapotranspiration (ET) metric describing the ratio of actual-to-reference ET (fRET) as derived from satellite remote sensing. At regional scales (3–10 km pixel resolution), the ESI has demonstrated the capacity to capture developing crop stress and impacts on regional...