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Elizabeth M. Page
,
Samuel S. P. Shen
, and
Richard C. J. Somerville
Open access
Diana Bernstein
Open access
Till Kuhlbrodt
,
Ranjini Swaminathan
,
Paulo Ceppi
, and
Thomas Wilder

Abstract

In the year 2023, we have seen extraordinary extrema in high sea surface temperature (SST) in the North Atlantic and in low sea ice extent in the Southern Ocean, outside the 4σ envelope of the 1982–2011 daily time series. Earth’s net global energy imbalance (12 months up to September 2023) amounts to +1.9 W m−2 as part of a remarkably large upward trend, ensuring further heating of the ocean. However, the regional radiation budget over the North Atlantic does not show signs of a suggested significant step increase from less negative aerosol forcing since 2020. While the temperature in the top 100 m of the global ocean has been rising in all basins since about 1980, specifically the Atlantic basin has continued to further heat up since 2016, potentially contributing to the extreme SST. Similarly, salinity in the top 100 m of the ocean has increased in recent years specifically in the Atlantic basin, and in addition in about 2015 a substantial negative trend for sea ice extent in the Southern Ocean began. Analyzing climate and Earth system model simulations of the future, we find that the extreme SST in the North Atlantic and the extreme in Southern Ocean sea ice extent in 2023 lie at the fringe of the expected mean climate change for a global surface-air temperature warming level (GWL) of 1.5°C, and closer to the average at a 3.0°C GWL. Understanding the regional and global drivers of these extremes is indispensable for assessing frequency and impacts of similar events in the coming years.

Open access
Xubin Zeng
,
Hui Su
,
Svetla Hristova-Veleva
,
Derek J. Posselt
,
Robert Atlas
,
Shannon T. Brown
,
Ross D. Dixon
,
Eric Fetzer
,
Thomas J. Galarneau Jr.
,
Michael Hardesty
,
Jonathan H. Jiang
,
Pekka P. Kangaslahti
,
Amir Ouyed
,
Thomas S. Pagano
,
Oliver Reitebuch
,
Remy Roca
,
Ad Stoffelen
,
Sara Tucker
,
Anna Wilson
,
Longtao Wu
, and
Igor Yanovsky

Abstract

It is challenging to accurately characterize the three-dimensional distribution of horizontal wind vectors (known as 3D winds). Feature-matching satellite cloud top or water vapor fields have been used for decades to retrieve atmospheric motion vectors, but this approach is mostly limited to a single and uncertain pressure level at a given time. Satellite wind lidar measurements are expected to provide more accurate data and capture the line-of-sight wind for clear skies, within cirrus clouds, and above thick clouds, but only along a curtain parallel to the satellite track. Here we propose Vientos—a new satellite mission concept that combines two or more passive water vapor sounders with Doppler wind lidar to measure 3D winds. The need for 3D wind observations is highlighted by inconsistencies in reanalysis estimates, particularly under precipitating conditions. Recent studies have shown that 3D winds can be retrieved using water vapor observations from two polar-orbiting satellites separated by 50 min, with the help of advanced optical flow algorithms. These winds can be improved through the incorporation of a small number of collocated higher-accuracy measurements via machine learning. The Vientos concept would enable simultaneous measurements of 3D winds, temperature, and humidity, and is expected to have a significant impact on scientific research, weather prediction, and other applications. For example, it can help better understand and predict the preconditions for organized convection. This article summarizes recent results, presents the Vientos mission architecture, and discusses implementation scenarios for a 3D wind mission under current budget constraints.

Open access
David A. Randall
and
Kerry Emanuel

Abstract

The atmospheric science community includes both weather and climate scientists. These two groups interact much less than they should, particularly in the United States. The schism is widespread and has persisted for 50 years or more. It is found in academic departments, laboratories, professional societies, and even funding agencies. Mending the schism would promote better, faster science. We sketch the history of the schism and suggest ways to make our community whole.

Open access
Stefanie Kremser
,
Andrew Charlton-Perez
,
Jadwiga H. Richter
,
Jose Santos
,
Julia Danzer
, and
Stefanie Hölbling

Abstract

As the global research enterprise grapples with the challenge of a low-carbon future, a key challenge is the future of international conferences. An emerging initiative that combines elements of the traditional in-person conference and a virtual conference is a multi-hub approach. Here we report on a real-world trial of a multi-hub approach, the World Climate Research Programme/Stratosphere-Troposphere Processes and their Role in Climate (WCRP/SPARC) General Assembly held in Qingdao–Reading–Boulder during the last week of October 2022 with more than 400 participants. While there are other examples of conferences run in dual-hub or hybrid online and in-person formats, we are not aware of other large atmospheric science conferences held in this format. Based on travel surveys of participants, we estimate that the multi-hub approach reduced the carbon footprint from travel by between a factor of 2.3 and 4.1 times the footprint when hosting the conference in a single location. This resulted in a saving of at least 288 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2eq) and perhaps as much as 683 tCO2eq, compared to having the conference in one location only. Feedback from participants, collected immediately after the conference, showed that the majority would again attend another conference in a similar format. There are many ways that the format of the SPARC General Assembly could have been improved, but this proof of concept provides an inspiration to other groups to give the multi-hub format a try.

Open access
Christina Greene
and
Daniel B. Ferguson

Abstract

Drought is a complex hazard, with many interconnected impacts on environment and society. Droughts are difficult to monitor as they are slow-moving events with impacts that are not always visible. There is an increasing call to study and monitor droughts as a human–environment process and to provide climate services that can inform proactive decision-making on drought. While climate services strive to make droughts visible and therefore manageable for society, many of the equity issues that arise during periods of drought remain largely invisible. In this article we explore inequity in drought impacts in the U.S. Southwest, focusing on agriculture, household water security, and wildfires. Drawing from lessons in the literature on equity, environmental justice, and climate services as well as our experience researching drought impacts in the Southwest, we recommend that climate services can support drought decision-making that addresses equity issues by 1) integrating both physical and social dimensions of drought in climate services, 2) investing in engagement and trust building with diverse communities, and 3) better integrating place-based knowledge to reconcile scaling challenges. With the acceleration of the warming and drying of many parts of the world, there is an ever-increasing need to focus on reducing inequities in drought preparedness and response, which we propose starts with production of drought information that is more reflective of how droughts are experienced across all parts of society.

Open access
Paul J. Roebber
and
Stephan Smith

Abstract

The National Weather Service (NWS) Office of Science and Technology Integration commissioned a report to assess the status of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) activity within the agency with a view toward identifying existing obstacles and recommending future directions. The purpose of this essay is to communicate the steps that the NWS plans to take to realize the potential benefits of AI in operations. AI activities are growing rapidly within atmospheric sciences, and the NWS is part of this growth. However, the activity is fragmented and lacks the needed infrastructure for improved coordination of effort. Current obstacles to progress include insufficient workforce training in AI/ML, a lack of curated datasets and software that can be used for development and evaluation of these approaches, the absence of a centralized clearing house available to NWS personnel for technical expertise and consultation, limited operational compute resources, and a lack of a clear end-to-end project pathway that encompasses exploration, development, testbed/proving ground, and operational implementation. These limitations are addressable. Training materials specific to NWS interests can be developed through collaboration with existing NOAA centers. Establishing a reference library staffed with AI/ML consultants tasked with collaborating with operational units would reduce siloed efforts and enhance productivity. Establishing funding vehicles for theme-based projects with a sustainable pathway through operational implementation would help bridge the research-to-operations “valley of death.” Given the growth of AI/ML across the U.S. Weather Enterprise and the already substantial involvement of academic and private sector entities, these developments within the NWS will be of interest to the atmospheric science field.

Open access
Kwang-Hyung Kim
,
Chris D. Hewitt
,
Hideki Kanamaru
,
Jorge Alvar-Beltrán
,
Ana Heureux
,
Sook-Young Park
,
Min-Hye Jung
, and
Robert Stefanski

Abstract

Agricultural stakeholders can effectively manage the risks and opportunities arising from climate change and variability by enhancing climate services in agriculture. Key to understanding and addressing the climate challenge is the provision and the use of climate information to aid decision-makers and policy-makers. Climate services are now integral to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Assessment Reports, governments’ national adaptation plans, funding bodies, and a growing number of sectors and industries worldwide. The article provides our personal perspective, experience, and views on the important and timely issue of managing better the risks and opportunities to the agriculture sector and community that are arising from changes in climate. We describe a framework to help drive action to tackle the climate challenge comprising enhanced knowledge and information products, efficient information delivery and use, and assured policy and institutional support, in an iterative loop.

Open access
John A. Knox

Abstract

Data on the number and economic status of bachelor’s degree recipients are harder to access for the atmospheric sciences than for other similar fields. The U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard provides a new, comprehensive, and annually updated way to obtain these data. Five years of College Scorecard data are analyzed, revealing that from 2015 to 2019 the number of bachelor’s recipients in the United States was at least 700 annually, with a downward trend of about 13% over the period. Institution-specific data allow for a ranking of undergraduate programs by number of bachelor’s recipients that has been impossible to compile since the demise of the American Meteorological Society (AMS)–University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) Curricula publication in the mid-2000s. Early career earnings data for federally aided students from larger programs compiled in the College Scorecard indicate that median first-year annual salaries by the end of the 2010s averaged about $35,000, with an increase to $45,000 by the third year. Median debt at graduation during the same period averaged slightly less than $25,000. In the future, College Scorecard data could be used to provide regular updates on atmospheric sciences students, graduates, and early career professionals at all degree levels. The AMS should partner with the American Institute of Physics’ Statistical Research Center to create and disseminate such reports.

Open access