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Daniel B. Wright, Constantine Samaras, and Tania Lopez-Cantu

Abstract

Intensification of extreme rainfall due to climate change means that federally published rainfall metrics such as the “100-yr storm” are outdated throughout much of the United States. Given their central role in a wide range of infrastructure designs and risk management decisions, updating these metrics to reflect recent and future changes is essential to protect communities. There have been considerable advances in recent years in data collection, statistical methods, and climate modeling that can now be brought to bear on the problem. Scientists must take a lead in this updating process, which should be open, inclusive, and leverage recent scientific advances.

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Weihong Qian, Jun Du, and Yang Ai

Abstract

Comparisons between anomaly and full-field methods have been carried out in weather analysis and forecasting over the last decade. Evidence from these studies has demonstrated the superiority of anomaly to full field in the following four aspects: depiction of weather systems, anomaly forecasts, diagnostic parameters, and model prediction. To promote the use and further discussion of the anomaly approach, this article summarizes those findings. After examining many types of weather events, anomaly weather maps show at least five advantages in weather system depiction: 1) less vagueness in visually connecting the location of an event with its associated meteorological conditions, 2) clearer and more complete depictions of vertical structures of a disturbance, 3) easier observation of time and spatial evolution of an event and its interaction or connection with other weather systems, 4) simplification of conceptual models by unifying different weather systems into one pattern, and 5) extension of model forecast length due to earlier detection of predictors. Anomaly verification is also mentioned. The anomaly forecast is useful for raising one’s awareness of potential societal impact. Combining the anomaly forecast with an ensemble is emphasized, where a societal impact index is discussed. For diagnostic parameters, two examples are given: an anomalous convective instability index for convection, and seven vorticity and divergence related parameters for heavy rain. Both showed positive contributions from the anomalous fields. For model prediction, the anomaly version of the beta-advection model consistently outperformed its full-field version in predicting typhoon tracks with clearer physical explanation. Application of anomaly global models to seasonal forecasts is also reviewed.

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Markus Rapp, Bernd Kaifler, Andreas Dörnbrack, Sonja Gisinger, Tyler Mixa, Robert Reichert, Natalie Kaifler, Stefanie Knobloch, Ramona Eckert, Norman Wildmann, Andreas Giez, Lukas Krasauskas, Peter Preusse, Markus Geldenhuys, Martin Riese, Wolfgang Woiwode, Felix Friedl-Vallon, Björn-Martin Sinnhuber, Alejandro de la Torre, Peter Alexander, Jose Luis Hormaechea, Diego Janches, Markus Garhammer, Jorge L. Chau, J. Federico Conte, Peter Hoor, and Andreas Engel

Abstract

The southern part of South America and the Antarctic peninsula are known as the world’s strongest hotspot region of stratospheric gravity wave (GW) activity. Large tropospheric winds are deflected by the Andes and the Antarctic Peninsula and excite GWs that might propagate into the upper mesosphere. Satellite observations show large stratospheric GW activity above the mountains, the Drake Passage, and in a belt centered along 60°S. This scientifically highly interesting region for studying GW dynamics was the focus of the Southern Hemisphere Transport, Dynamics, and Chemistry–Gravity Waves (SOUTHTRAC-GW) mission. The German High Altitude and Long Range Research Aircraft (HALO) was deployed to Rio Grande at the southern tip of Argentina in September 2019. Seven dedicated research flights with a typical length of 7,000 km were conducted to collect GW observations with the novel Airborne Lidar for Middle Atmosphere research (ALIMA) instrument and the Gimballed Limb Observer for Radiance Imaging of the Atmosphere (GLORIA) limb sounder. While ALIMA measures temperatures in the altitude range from 20 to 90 km, GLORIA observations allow characterization of temperatures and trace gas mixing ratios from 5 to 15 km. Wave perturbations are derived by subtracting suitable mean profiles. This paper summarizes the motivations and objectives of the SOUTHTRAC-GW mission. The evolution of the atmospheric conditions is documented including the effect of the extraordinary Southern Hemisphere sudden stratospheric warming (SSW) that occurred in early September 2019. Moreover, outstanding initial results of the GW observation and plans for future work are presented.

Open access
Cheng Liu, Meng Gao, Qihou Hu, Guy P. Brasseur, and Gregory R. Carmichael

Abstract

Monitoring and modeling/predicting air pollution are crucial to understanding the links between emissions and air pollution levels, to supporting air quality management, and to reducing human exposure. Yet, current monitoring networks and modeling capabilities are unfortunately inadequate to understand the physical and chemical processes above ground and to support attribution of sources. We highlight the need for the development of an international stereoscopic monitoring strategy that can depict three-dimensional (3D) distribution of atmospheric composition to reduce the uncertainties and to advance diagnostic understanding and prediction of air pollution. There are three reasons for the implementation of stereoscopic monitoring: 1) current observation networks provide only partial view of air pollution, and this can lead to misleading air quality management actions; 2) satellite retrievals of air pollutants are widely used in air pollution studies, but too often users do not acknowledge that they have large uncertainties, which can be reduced with measurements of vertical profiles; and 3) air quality modeling and forecasting require 3D observational constraints. We call on researchers and policymakers to establish stereoscopic monitoring networks and share monitoring data to better characterize the formation of air pollution, optimize air quality management, and protect human health. Future directions for advancing monitoring and modeling/predicting air pollution are also discussed.

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Paulina Ćwik, Renee A. McPherson, and Harold E. Brooks

Abstract

The term “tornado outbreak” appeared in the meteorological literature in the 1950s and was used to highlight severe weather events with multiple tornadoes. The exact meaning of “tornado outbreak,” however, evolved over the years. Depending on the availability of scientific data, technological advancements, and the intended purpose of these definitions, authors offered a diverse set of approaches to shape the perception and applications of the term “tornado outbreak.” This paper reviews over 200 peer-reviewed publications—by decade—to outline the evolving nature of the “tornado outbreak” definition and to examine the changes in the “tornado outbreak” definition or its perception. A final discussion highlights the importance, limitations, and potential future evolution of what defines a “tornado outbreak.”

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Mark W. Maier, Frank W. Gallagher III, Karen St. Germain, Richard Anthes, Cinzia Zuffada, Robert Menzies, Jeffrey Piepmeier, David Di Pietro, Monica M. Coakley, and Elena Adams

Abstract

Between 2014 and 2018, the NOAA Office of Systems Architecture and Advanced Planning (OSAAP) conducted the NOAA Satellite Observing System Architecture (NSOSA) study to plan the long-term future of the NOAA constellation of operational environmental satellites. This constellation of satellites (which may include space capabilities acquired in lieu of U.S. government satellites) will follow the current GOES-R and JPSS satellite programs, beginning about 2030. This was an opportunity to design a modern architecture with no preconceived notions regarding instruments, platforms, orbits, etc., but driven by user needs, new technology, and exploiting emerging space business models. In this paper we describe how the study was structured, review major results, show how observation priorities and estimated costs drove next-generation choices, and discuss important challenges for implementing the next generation of U.S. civil environmental remote sensing satellites.

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Marina Baldissera Pacchetti, Suraje Dessai, Seamus Bradley, and David A. Stainforth

Abstract

There are now a plethora of data, models, and approaches available to produce regional and local climate information intended to inform adaptation to a changing climate. There is, however, no framework to assess the quality of these data, models, and approaches that takes into account the issues that arise when this information is produced. An evaluation of the quality of regional climate information is a fundamental requirement for its appropriate application in societal decision-making. Here, an analytical framework is constructed for the quality assessment of science-based statements and estimates about future climate. This framework targets statements that project local and regional climate at decadal and longer time scales. After identifying the main issues with evaluating and presenting regional climate information, it is argued that it is helpful to consider the quality of statements about future climate in terms of 1) the type of evidence and 2) the relationship between the evidence and the statement. This distinction not only provides a more targeted framework for quality, but also shows how certain evidential standards can change as a function of the statement under consideration. The key dimensions to assess regional climate information quality are diversity, completeness, theory, adequacy for purpose, and transparency. This framework is exemplified using two research papers that provide regional climate information and the implications of the framework are explored.

Open access
Gretchen L. Mullendore, Mary C. Barth, Petra M. Klein, and James H. Crawford

Abstract

Historically, atmospheric field campaigns typically focused on either meteorology or chemistry with very limited complementary observations from the other discipline. In contrast, a growing number of researchers are working across subdisciplines to include meteorological and chemical measurements when planning field campaigns to increase the value of the collected datasets for subsequent analyses. Including select trace gas measurements should be intrinsic to certain dynamics campaigns, as they can add insights into dynamical processes. This paper highlights the mutual benefits of joint dynamics–chemistry campaigns by reporting on a small sample of examples across a broad range of meteorological scales to demonstrate the value of this strategy, with focus on the Deep Convective Clouds and Chemistry (DC3) campaign as a recent example. General recommendations are presented as well as specific recommendations of chemical species appropriate for a range of meteorological temporal and spatial scales.

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José Vicencio, Roberto Rondanelli, Diego Campos, Raúl Valenzuela, René Garreaud, Alejandra Reyes, Rodrigo Padilla, Ricardo Abarca, Camilo Barahona, Rodrigo Delgado, and Gabriela Nicora

Abstract

In late May 2019, at least seven tornadoes were reported within a 24-h period in southern Chile (western South America, 36°–38°S), including EF1 and EF2 events causing substantial damage to infrastructure, dozens of injuries, and one fatality. Despite anecdotal evidence and chronicles of similar historical events, the threat from tornadoes in Chile was regarded with skepticism until the 2019 outbreak. Herein, we describe the synoptic-scale features instrumental in the development of these tornadic storms, including an extended southwest–northeast trough along the South Pacific, with a large postfrontal instability area. Tornadic storms appear to be embedded in a modestly unstable environment (positive convective available potential energy but less than 1,000 J kg−1) and strong low- and midlevel wind shear, with high near-surface storm-relative helicity values (close to −200 m2 s−2), clearly differing from the Great Plains tornadoes in North America (with highly unstable environments) but resembling cold-season tornadoes previously observed in the midlatitudes of North America, Australia, and Europe. Reanalyzing rainfall and lightning data from the last 10 years, we found that tornadic storms in our region occur associated with locally extreme values of both CAPE and low-level wind shear, where a combination of the two in a low-level vorticity generation parameter appears as a simple first-order discriminant between tornadic and nontornadic environments. Future research should thoroughly examine historical events worldwide to assemble a database of high-shear, low-CAPE midlatitude storms and help improve our understanding of these storms’ underlying physics.

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Jessica Spaccio, Arthur DeGaetano, and Nolan Doesken
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