Case Study: Severe Rainfall Events in Northwestern Peru (Visualization of Scattered Meteorological Data)

Lloyd A. Treinish
IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, NY


The ordinarily arid climate of coastal Peru is disturbed every few years by a phenomenon called El Niņo, characterized by a warming in the Pacific Ocean. Severe rainstorms are one of the consequences of El Niņo, which cause great damage. An examination of daily data from 66 rainfall stations in the Chiura-Piura region of northwestern Peru from late 1982 through mid-1983 (associated with an El Niņo episode) yields information on the mesoscale structure of these storms. These observational data are typical of a class that are scattered at irregular locations in two dimensions. The use of continuous realization techniques for qualitative visualization (e.g., surface deformation or contouring) requires an intermediate step to define a topological relationship between the locations of data to form a mesh structure. Several common methods are considered, and the results of their application to the study of the rainfall events are analyzed.


The data are available courtesy of NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland.

Rainfall movie (QT 4.9 Mbytes)


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Last modified on March 02, 1999, G. Scott Owen,