Browse

You are looking at 11 - 20 of 24 items for :

  • Modern-Era Retrospective analysis for Research and Applications version 2 (MERRA-2) x
  • Refine by Access: All Content x
Clear All
V. Buchard, C. A. Randles, A. M. da Silva, A. Darmenov, P. R. Colarco, R. Govindaraju, R. Ferrare, J. Hair, A. J. Beyersdorf, L. D. Ziemba, and H. Yu

Abstract

The Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications, version 2 (MERRA-2), is NASA’s latest reanalysis for the satellite era (1980 onward) using the Goddard Earth Observing System, version 5 (GEOS-5), Earth system model. MERRA-2 provides several improvements over its predecessor (MERRA-1), including aerosol assimilation for the entire period. MERRA-2 assimilates bias-corrected aerosol optical depth (AOD) from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer and the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer instruments. Additionally, MERRA-2 assimilates (non bias corrected) AOD from the Multiangle Imaging SpectroRadiometer over bright surfaces and AOD from Aerosol Robotic Network sunphotometer stations. This paper, the second of a pair, summarizes the efforts to assess the quality of the MERRA-2 aerosol products. First, MERRA-2 aerosols are evaluated using independent observations. It is shown that the MERRA-2 absorption aerosol optical depth (AAOD) and ultraviolet aerosol index (AI) compare well with Ozone Monitoring Instrument observations. Next, aerosol vertical structure and surface fine particulate matter (PM2.5) are evaluated using available satellite, aircraft, and ground-based observations. While MERRA-2 generally compares well to these observations, the assimilation cannot correct for all deficiencies in the model (e.g., missing emissions). Such deficiencies can explain many of the biases with observations. Finally, a focus is placed on several major aerosol events to illustrate successes and weaknesses of the AOD assimilation: the Mount Pinatubo eruption, a Saharan dust transport episode, the California Rim Fire, and an extreme pollution event over China. The article concludes with a summary that points to best practices for using the MERRA-2 aerosol reanalysis in future studies.

Full access
Lawrence Coy, Paul A. Newman, Steven Pawson, and Leslie R. Lait

Abstract

A significant disruption of the quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) occurred during the Northern Hemisphere (NH) winter of 2015/16. Since the QBO is the major wind variability source in the tropical lower stratosphere and influences the rate of ascent of air entering the stratosphere, understanding the cause of this singular disruption may provide new insights into the variability and sensitivity of the global climate system. Here this disruptive event is examined using global reanalysis winds and temperatures from 1980 to 2016. Results reveal record maxima in tropical horizontal momentum fluxes and wave forcing of the tropical zonal mean zonal wind over the NH 2015/16 winter. The Rossby waves responsible for these record tropical values appear to originate in the NH and were focused strongly into the tropics at the 40-hPa level. Two additional NH winters, 1987/88 and 2010/11, were also found to have large tropical lower-stratospheric momentum flux divergences; however, the QBO westerlies did not change to easterlies in those cases.

Full access
Kevin Hodges, Alison Cobb, and Pier Luigi Vidale

Abstract

Tropical cyclones (TCs) are identified and tracked in six recent reanalysis datasets and compared with those from the IBTrACS best-track archive. Results indicate that nearly every cyclone present in IBTrACS over the period 1979–2012 can be found in all six reanalyses using a tracking and matching approach. However, TC intensities are significantly underrepresented in the reanalyses compared to the observations. Applying a typical objective TC identification scheme, it is found that the largest uncertainties in TC identification occur for the weaker storms; this is exacerbated by uncertainties in the observations for weak storms and lack of consistency in operational procedures. For example, certain types of storms, such as tropical depressions, subtropical cyclones, and monsoon depressions, are not included in the best-track data for all reporting agencies. There are definite improvements in how well TCs are represented in more recent, higher-resolution reanalyses; in particular MERRA-2 is comparable with the NCEP-CFSR and JRA-55 reanalyses, which perform significantly better than the older MERRA reanalysis.

Full access
Ronald Gelaro, Will McCarty, Max J. Suárez, Ricardo Todling, Andrea Molod, Lawrence Takacs, Cynthia A. Randles, Anton Darmenov, Michael G. Bosilovich, Rolf Reichle, Krzysztof Wargan, Lawrence Coy, Richard Cullather, Clara Draper, Santha Akella, Virginie Buchard, Austin Conaty, Arlindo M. da Silva, Wei Gu, Gi-Kong Kim, Randal Koster, Robert Lucchesi, Dagmar Merkova, Jon Eric Nielsen, Gary Partyka, Steven Pawson, William Putman, Michele Rienecker, Siegfried D. Schubert, Meta Sienkiewicz, and Bin Zhao

Abstract

The Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications, version 2 (MERRA-2), is the latest atmospheric reanalysis of the modern satellite era produced by NASA’s Global Modeling and Assimilation Office (GMAO). MERRA-2 assimilates observation types not available to its predecessor, MERRA, and includes updates to the Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS) model and analysis scheme so as to provide a viable ongoing climate analysis beyond MERRA’s terminus. While addressing known limitations of MERRA, MERRA-2 is also intended to be a development milestone for a future integrated Earth system analysis (IESA) currently under development at GMAO. This paper provides an overview of the MERRA-2 system and various performance metrics. Among the advances in MERRA-2 relevant to IESA are the assimilation of aerosol observations, several improvements to the representation of the stratosphere including ozone, and improved representations of cryospheric processes. Other improvements in the quality of MERRA-2 compared with MERRA include the reduction of some spurious trends and jumps related to changes in the observing system and reduced biases and imbalances in aspects of the water cycle. Remaining deficiencies are also identified. Production of MERRA-2 began in June 2014 in four processing streams and converged to a single near-real-time stream in mid-2015. MERRA-2 products are accessible online through the NASA Goddard Earth Sciences Data Information Services Center (GES DISC).

Full access
Young-Kwon Lim, Robin M. Kovach, Steven Pawson, and Guillaume Vernieres

Abstract

The 2015/16 El Niño is analyzed using atmospheric and oceanic analysis produced using the Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS) data assimilation systems. As well as describing the structure of the event, a theme of this work is to compare and contrast it with two other strong El Niños, in 1982/83 and 1997/98. These three El Niño events are included in the Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA) and in the more recent MERRA-2 reanalyses. MERRA-2 allows a comparison of fields derived from the underlying GEOS model, facilitating a more detailed comparison of physical forcing mechanisms in the El Niño events. Various atmospheric and oceanic structures indicate that the 2015/16 El Niño maximized in the Niño-3.4 region, with a large region of warming over most of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. The eastern tropical Indian Ocean, Maritime Continent, and western tropical Pacific are found to be less dry in boreal winter, compared to the earlier two strong events. Whereas the 2015/16 El Niño had an earlier occurrence of the equatorial Pacific warming and was the strongest event on record in the central Pacific, the 1997/98 event exhibited a more rapid growth due to stronger westerly wind bursts and the Madden–Julian oscillation during spring, making it the strongest El Niño in the eastern Pacific. Compared to 1982/83 and 1997/98, the 2015/16 event had a shallower thermocline over the eastern Pacific with a weaker zonal contrast of subsurface water temperatures along the equatorial Pacific. While the three major ENSO events have similarities, each is unique when looking at the atmosphere and ocean surface and subsurface.

Full access
Rolf H. Reichle, Clara S. Draper, Q. Liu, Manuela Girotto, Sarith P. P. Mahanama, Randal D. Koster, and Gabrielle J. M. De Lannoy

Abstract

The MERRA-2 atmospheric reanalysis product provides global, 1-hourly estimates of land surface conditions for 1980–present at ~50-km resolution. MERRA-2 uses observations-based precipitation to force the land (unlike its predecessor, MERRA). This paper evaluates MERRA-2 and MERRA land hydrology estimates, along with those of the land-only MERRA-Land and ERA-Interim/Land products, which also use observations-based precipitation. Overall, MERRA-2 land hydrology estimates are better than those of MERRA-Land and MERRA. A comparison against GRACE satellite observations of terrestrial water storage demonstrates clear improvements in MERRA-2 over MERRA in South America and Africa but also reflects known errors in the observations used to correct the MERRA-2 precipitation. Validation against in situ measurements from 220–320 stations in North America, Europe, and Australia shows that MERRA-2 and MERRA-Land have the highest surface and root zone soil moisture skill, slightly higher than that of ERA-Interim/Land and higher than that of MERRA (significantly for surface soil moisture). Snow amounts from MERRA-2 have lower bias and correlate better against reference data from the Canadian Meteorological Centre than do those of MERRA-Land and MERRA, with MERRA-2 skill roughly matching that of ERA-Interim/Land. Validation with MODIS satellite observations shows that MERRA-2 has a lower snow cover probability of detection and probability of false detection than MERRA, owing partly to MERRA-2’s lower midwinter, midlatitude snow amounts and partly to MERRA-2’s revised snow depletion curve parameter compared to MERRA. Finally, seasonal anomaly R values against naturalized streamflow measurements in the United States are, on balance, highest for MERRA-2 and ERA-Interim/Land, somewhat lower for MERRA-Land, and lower still for MERRA (significantly in four basins).

Full access
Krzysztof Wargan, Gordon Labow, Stacey Frith, Steven Pawson, Nathaniel Livesey, and Gary Partyka

Abstract

The assimilated ozone product from the Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications, version 2 (MERRA-2), produced at NASA’s Global Modeling and Assimilation Office (GMAO) spanning the time period from 1980 to the present is described herein, and its quality is assessed. MERRA-2 assimilates partial column ozone retrievals from a series of Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet Radiometer (SBUV) instruments on NASA and NOAA spacecraft between January 1980 and September 2004: starting in October 2004, retrieved ozone profiles from the Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) and total column ozone from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument on NASA’s EOS Aura satellite are assimilated. The MERRA-2 ozone is compared with independent satellite and ozonesonde data, focusing on the representation of the spatial and temporal variability of stratospheric and upper-tropospheric ozone and on implications of the change in the observing system from SBUV to EOS Aura. The comparisons show agreement within 10% (standard deviation of the difference) between MERRA-2 profiles and independent satellite data in most of the stratosphere. The agreement improves after 2004, when EOS Aura data are assimilated. The standard deviation of the differences between the lower-stratospheric and upper-tropospheric MERRA-2 ozone and ozonesondes is 11.2% and 24.5%, respectively, with correlations of 0.8 and above, indicative of a realistic representation of the near-tropopause ozone variability in MERRA-2. The agreement improves significantly in the EOS Aura period; however, MERRA-2 is biased low in the upper troposphere with respect to the ozonesondes. Caution is recommended when using MERRA-2 ozone for decadal changes and trend studies.

Full access
Rolf H. Reichle, Q. Liu, Randal D. Koster, Clara S. Draper, Sarith P. P. Mahanama, and Gary S. Partyka

Abstract

The Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications, version 2 (MERRA-2), features several major advances from the original MERRA reanalysis, including the use, outside of high latitudes, of observations-based precipitation data products to correct the precipitation falling on the land surface in the MERRA-2 system. The method for merging the observed precipitation into MERRA-2 has been refined from that of the (land-only) MERRA-Land reanalysis. This paper describes the method and evaluates the MERRA-2 land surface precipitation. Compared to monthly GPCPv2.2 observations, the corrected MERRA-2 precipitation (M2CORR) is better than the precipitation generated by the atmospheric models within the cycling MERRA-2 and MERRA systems. M2CORR is also better than MERRA-Land precipitation over Africa because in MERRA-2 a merged satellite–gauge precipitation product is used instead of the gauge-only data used for MERRA-Land. Compared to 3-hourly TRMM observations, the M2CORR diurnal cycle has better amplitude but less realistic phasing than MERRA-2 model-generated precipitation. Because correcting the precipitation within the coupled atmosphere–land modeling system allows the MERRA-2 near-surface air temperature and humidity to respond to the improved precipitation forcing, MERRA-2 provides more self-consistent surface meteorological data than were available from MERRA-Land, which is important for applications such as land-only modeling studies. Where precipitation observations of sufficient quality are available for use in the reanalysis, the corrections facilitate the seamless spinup of the land surface initial conditions across the MERRA-2 production streams. At high latitudes, however, the lack of reliable precipitation observations results in undesirable land spinup effects that impact mostly the first published year of each MERRA-2 stream (1980, 1992, 2001, and 2011).

Full access
Michael G. Bosilovich, Franklin R. Robertson, Lawrence Takacs, Andrea Molod, and David Mocko

Abstract

Closing and balancing Earth’s global water cycle remains a challenge for the climate community. Observations are limited in duration, global coverage, and frequency, and not all water cycle terms are adequately observed. Reanalyses aim to fill the gaps through the assimilation of as many atmospheric water vapor observations as possible. Former generations of reanalyses have demonstrated a number of systematic problems that have limited their use in climate studies, especially regarding low-frequency trends. This study characterizes the NASA Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications version 2 (MERRA-2) water cycle relative to contemporary reanalyses and observations. MERRA-2 includes measures intended to minimize the spurious global variations related to inhomogeneity in the observational record. The global balance and cycling of water from ocean to land is presented, with special attention given to the water vapor analysis increment and the effects of the changing observing system. While some systematic regional biases can be identified, MERRA-2 produces temporally consistent time series of total column water and transport of water from ocean to land. However, the interannual variability of ocean evaporation is affected by the changing surface-wind-observing system, and precipitation variability is closely related to the evaporation. The surface energy budget is also strongly influenced by the interannual variability of the ocean evaporation. Furthermore, evaluating the relationship of temperature and water vapor indicates that the variations of water vapor with temperature are weaker in satellite data reanalyses, not just MERRA-2, than determined by observations, atmospheric models, or reanalyses without water vapor assimilation.

Full access
Allison B. Marquardt Collow, Michael G. Bosilovich, and Randal D. Koster

Abstract

Observations indicate that over the last few decades there has been a statistically significant increase in precipitation in the northeastern United States and that this can be attributed to an increase in precipitation associated with extreme precipitation events. Here a state-of-the-art atmospheric reanalysis is used to examine such events in detail. Daily extreme precipitation events defined at the 75th and 95th percentile from gridded gauge observations are identified for a selected region within the Northeast. Atmospheric variables from the Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications, version 2 (MERRA-2), are then composited during these events to illustrate the time evolution of associated synoptic structures, with a focus on vertically integrated water vapor fluxes, sea level pressure, and 500-hPa heights. Anomalies of these fields move into the region from the northwest, with stronger anomalies present in the 95th percentile case. Although previous studies show tropical cyclones are responsible for the most intense extreme precipitation events, only 10% of the events in this study are caused by tropical cyclones. On the other hand, extreme events resulting from cutoff low pressure systems have increased. The time period of the study was divided in half to determine how the mean composite has changed over time. An arc of lower sea level pressure along the East Coast and a change in the vertical profile of equivalent potential temperature suggest a possible increase in the frequency or intensity of synoptic-scale baroclinic disturbances.

Full access