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Chunying Liu
,
Eric Freeman
,
Elizabeth C. Kent
,
David I. Berry
,
Steven J. Worley
,
Shawn R. Smith
,
Boyin Huang
,
Huai-min Zhang
,
Thomas Cram
,
Zaihua Ji
,
Mathieu Ouellet
,
Isabelle Gaboury
,
Frank Oliva
,
Axel Andersson
,
William E. Angel
,
Angela R. Sallis
, and
Adedoja Adeyeye

Abstract

This paper describes the new International Comprehensive Ocean–Atmosphere Data Set (ICOADS) near-real-time (NRT) release (R3.0.2), with greatly enhanced completeness over the previous version (R3.0.1). R3.0.1 had been operationally produced monthly from January 2015 onward, with input data from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Global Telecommunication Systems (GTS) transmissions in the Traditional Alphanumeric Codes (TAC) format. Since the release of R3.0.1, however, many observing platforms have changed, or are in the process of transitioning, to the Binary Universal Form for Representation of Meteorological Data (BUFR) format. R3.0.2 combines input data from both BUFR and TAC formats. In this paper, we describe input data sources; the BUFR decoding process for observations from drifting buoys, moored buoys, and ships; and the data quality control of the TAC and BUFR data streams. We also describe how the TAC and BUFR streams were merged to upgrade R3.0.1 into R3.0.2 with duplicates removed. Finally, we compare the number of reports and spatial coverage of essential climate variables (ECVs) between R3.0.1 and R3.0.2. ICOADS NRT R3.0.2 shows both quantitative and qualitative gains from the inclusion of BUFR reports. The number of observations in R3.0.2 increased by nearly 1 million reports per month, and the coverage of buoy and ship sea surface temperatures (SSTs) on monthly 2° × 2° grids increased by 20%. The number of reported ECVs also increased in R3.0.2. For example, observations of SST and sea level pressure (SLP) increased by around 30% and 20%, respectively, as compared to R3.0.1, and salinity is a new addition to the ICOADS NRT product in R3.0.2.

Significance Statement

The International Comprehensive Ocean–Atmosphere Data Set (ICOADS) is the largest collection of surface marine observations spanning from 1662 to the present. A new version, ICOADS near-real-time 3.0.2, includes data transmitted in the Binary Universal Form for Representation of Meteorological Data (BUFR) format, in combination with Traditional Alphanumeric Codes (TAC) data. Many of the organizations that report observations in near–real time have moved to BUFR, so this update brings ICOADS into alignment with collections and archives of these international data distributions. By including the BUFR reports, the number of observations in the upgraded version of ICOADS increased by nearly one million reports per month and spatial coverage of buoy and ship SSTs increased by 20% over the previous version.

Open access
Alejandro Cáceres-Euse
,
Anne Molcard
,
Natacha Bourg
,
Dylan Dumas
,
Charles-Antoine Guérin
, and
Giovanni Besio

Abstract

To assess the contribution of wind drag and Stokes drift on the near-surface circulation, a methodology to isolate the geostrophic surface current from high-frequency radar data is developed. The methodology performs a joint analysis utilizing wind field and in situ surface currents along with an unsupervised neuronal network. The isolation method seems robust in the light of comparisons with satellite altimeter data, presenting a similar time variability and providing more spatial detail of the currents in the coastal region. Results show that the wind-induced current is around 2.1% the wind speed and deflected from the wind direction in the range [18°, 23°], whereas classical literature suggests higher values. The wave-induced currents can represent more than 13% of the ageostrophic current component as function of the wind speed, suggesting that the Stokes drift needs to be analyzed as an independent term when studying surface sea currents in the coastal zones. The methodology and results presented here could be extended worldwide, as complementary information to improve satellite-derived surface currents in the coastal regions by including the local physical processes recorded by high-frequency radar systems. The assessment of the wave and wind-induced currents have important applications on Lagrangian transport studies.

Restricted access
Richard M. Schulte
and
Christian D. Kummerow

Abstract

Satellite-based oceanic precipitation estimates, particularly those derived from the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) satellite and CloudSat, suffer from significant disagreement over regions of the globe where warm rain processes are dominant. GPM estimates of average rain rate tend to be lower than CloudSat estimates, due in part to GPM being less sensitive to shallow and/or light precipitation. Using coincident observations between GPM and CloudSat, we find that the GPM_2BCMB product misses about two-thirds of total accumulated warm rain compared to the CloudSat 2C-RAIN-PROFILE product. This difference becomes much smaller when products are compared at 1000 m above the surface (mitigating surface clutter issues) and when forcing the frequency of rain from CloudSat to match the frequency from GPM (mitigating sensitivity issues). However, even then a gap of about 25% remains. Using an optimal estimation retrieval algorithm on the underlying data, we retrieve a similar result, but find that the remaining difference between the GPM and CloudSat retrieved rain rates can be almost entirely accounted for by inconsistent assumptions about the shape of the drop size distribution (DSD) that are made in the two retrievals. We conclude that DSD assumptions contribute significantly to the relative underestimation of warm rain by GPM compared to CloudSat. Because the choice of DSD model has such a large effect on retrieved rain rates, more work is needed to determine whether the DSD models assumed by either the GPM_2BCMB or 2C-RAIN-PROFILE algorithms are actually appropriate for warm rain.

Restricted access
Li Zhao
,
Tao Xie
,
William Perrie
,
Ming Ma
,
Jingsong Yang
,
Chengzu Bai
, and
Rick Danielson

Abstract

Sea surface temperature (SST) fronts are important for fisheries and marine ecology, as well as upper-ocean dynamics, weather forecasting, and climate monitoring. In this paper, we propose a new approach to detect SST fronts from RADARSAT-2 ScanSAR images, based on the correlation of SAR-derived wind speeds using the gray level cooccurrence matrix (GLCM) approach. Due to the large differences between the correlation of wind speeds for SST fronts compared to other areas, SST fronts can be detected by the threshold method. To eliminate small-scale features (or noise), the 30 km scale is used as the length threshold for the detection of the SST fronts. The proposed method is effective when wind speeds are between 3 and 13 m s−1. The overall accuracy of our method is about 93.6%, which is sufficient for operational applications.

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Erica L. McGrath-Spangler
,
Will McCarty
,
N. C. Privé
,
Isaac Moradi
,
Bryan M. Karpowicz
, and
Joel McCorkel

Abstract

An observing system simulation experiment (OSSE) was performed to assess the impact of assimilating hyperspectral infrared (IR) radiances from geostationary orbit on numerical weather prediction, with a focus on the proposed sounder on board the Geostationary Extended Observations (GeoXO) program’s central satellite. Infrared sounders on a geostationary platform would fill several gaps left by IR sounders on polar-orbiting satellites, and the increased temporal resolution would allow the observation of weather phenomena evolution. The framework for this OSSE was the Global Modeling and Assimilation Office (GMAO) OSSE system, which includes a full suite of meteorological observations. The experiment additionally assimilated four identical IR sounders from geostationary orbit to create a “ring” of vertical profiling observations. Based on the experimentation, assimilation of the IR sounders provided a beneficial impact on the analyzed mass and wind fields, particularly in the tropics, and produced an error reduction in the initial 24–48 h of the subsequent forecasts. Specific attention was paid to the impact of the GeoXO Sounder (GXS) over the contiguous United States (CONUS) as this is a region that is well-observed and as such difficult to improve. The forecast sensitivity to observation impact (FSOI) metric, computed across all four synoptic times over the CONUS, reveals that the GXS had the largest impact on the 24-h forecast error of the assimilated hyperspectral infrared satellite radiances as measured using a moist energy error norm. Based on this analysis, the proposed GXS has the potential to improve numerical weather prediction globally and over the CONUS.

Significance Statement

The purpose of this study is to understand the impact of the proposed geostationary hyperspectral infrared sounder as part of the Geostationary Extended Observations (GeoXO) program on numerical weather prediction. The evaluation was done using a simulated environment, and showed a beneficial impact on the tropical mass and wind fields and an error reduction in the initial 24–48 h forecasts. Over the contiguous United States, the GeoXO Sounder (GXS) performed well and had the largest impact of the assimilated infrared satellite radiances on the 24 h forecast as measured by a moist energy error norm. Based on the results of this study, the proposed GXS has the potential to improve numerical weather prediction.

Restricted access
Viktor Gouretski
,
Lijing Cheng
, and
Tim Boyer

Abstract

Nansen bottle casts served as the main oceanographic instrumentation type for more than a century since the establishing of the technique in the late 1890s. Between the end of the 1960s and the end of the 1990s Nansen cast technique has been gradually replaced by electronic sensor profilers (CTD). Both instrumentation types are considered as the most accurate among other oceanographic instruments and are often used as the unbiased reference. We conducted a comprehensive investigation of the consistency of the temperature data from Nansen casts and CTD profilers analyzing the quasi-collocated bottle and CTD data between the 1960s and the 1990s when both instrumentation types overlap. We found that Nansen casts tend to overestimate the sample depth with reversing mercury-in-glass thermometer temperatures being on average slightly lower compared to CTD data. Respectively, depth and temperature corrections are provided. Further, we estimated the ocean heat content changes between 1955 and 1990 using (along with all other instrumentation types) corrected and uncorrected Nansen cast data. These calculations show that for the upper 2 km layer the global average warming trend for this time period increases from 0.20 ± 0.05 W m−2 for the uncorrected data to 0.28 ± 0.06 W m−2 for the corrected data at the 90% confidence level. Finally, we suggest that the Nansen bottle cast profiles be put into a separate instrumentation group within the World Ocean Database.

Restricted access
Zijin Zhang
,
Xiaolong Dong
, and
Di Zhu

Abstract

The O2-band channel configuration of existing microwave radiometers is not optimal for surface pressure retrieval, which limits the surface pressure retrieval accuracy. In this study, we present the results of theoretically what might be the optimal microwave channels for surface pressure retrieval. An improved iterative selection method is used to select the channels that contain the highest cumulative content of surface pressure information. The selected optimal channel set comprises 16 channels, among which 10 channels are centered at the 50–60 GHz oxygen absorption band and 6 channels are centered around the 118.75 GHz oxygen absorption line. Two representative spaceborne microwave radiometers are used for comparisons, the Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS) on board the Suomi National Polar-Orbiting Partnership (SNPP) satellite and the Microwave Humidity and Temperature Sounder (MWHTS) on board the Chinese Fengyun-3C (FY-3C) satellite. The results of information content analysis show that the optimal channel set contains more surface pressure information than that of the combination of SNPP/ATMS and FY-3C/MWHTS (SNPP/ATMS+FY-3C/MWHTS) channels. A representative dataset from the ERA5 data is input into the plane-parallel Microwave Radiative Transfer model to obtain the simulated brightness temperature observations of the selected optimal channels and the SNPP/ATMS+FY-3C/MWHTS channels. Using the simulated observations, retrieval experiments are performed. Experimental results show that retrieval accuracies of the optimal channel set are 1.09 and 1.64 hPa for clear-sky and cloudy conditions, respectively. The retrieval accuracies are 0.60 and 0.65 hPa better than that of the SNPP/ATMS+FY-3C/MWHTS channels for clear-sky and cloudy conditions, respectively.

Restricted access
Imke Durre
,
Anthony Arguez
,
Carl J. Schreck III
,
Michael F. Squires
, and
Russell S. Vose

Abstract

In this paper, a new set of daily gridded fields and area averages of temperature and precipitation is introduced that covers the contiguous United States (CONUS) from 1951 to present. With daily updates and a grid resolution of approximately 0.0417° (nominally 5 km), the product, named nClimGrid-Daily, is designed to be used particularly in climate monitoring and other applications that rely on placing event-specific meteorological patterns into a long-term historical context. The gridded fields were generated by interpolating morning and midnight observations from the Global Historical Climatology Network–Daily dataset using thin-plate smoothing splines. Additional processing steps limit the adverse effects of spatial and temporal variations in station density, observation time, and other factors on the quality and homogeneity of the fields. The resulting gridded data provide smoothed representations of the point observations, although the accuracy of estimates for individual grid points and days can be sensitive to local spatial variability and the ability of the available observations and interpolation technique to capture that variability. The nClimGrid-Daily dataset is therefore recommended for applications that require the aggregation of estimates in space and/or time, such as climate monitoring analyses at regional to national scales.

Significance Statement

Many applications that use historical weather observations require data on a high-resolution grid that are updated daily. Here, a new dataset of daily temperature and precipitation for 1951–present is introduced that was created by interpolating irregularly spaced observations to a regular grid with a spacing of 0.0417° across the contiguous United States. Compared to other such datasets, this product is particularly suitable for monitoring climate and drought on a daily basis because it was processed so as to limit artificial variations in space and time that may result from changes in the types and distribution of observations used.

Restricted access
Coltin Grasmick
,
Bart Geerts
,
Jeffrey R. French
,
Samuel Haimov
, and
Robert M. Rauber

Abstract

Properties of frozen hydrometeors in clouds remain difficult to sense remotely. Estimates of number concentration, distribution shape, ice particle density, and ice water content are essential for connecting cloud processes to surface precipitation. Progress has been made with dual-frequency radars, but validation has been difficult because of lack of particle imaging and sizing observations collocated with the radar measurements. Here, data are used from two airborne profiling (up and down) radars, the W-band Wyoming Cloud Radar and the Ka-band Profiling Radar, allowing for Ka–W-band dual-wavelength ratio (DWR) profiles. The aircraft (the University of Wyoming King Air) also carried a suite of in situ cloud and precipitation probes. This arrangement is optimal for relating the “flight-level” DWR (an average from radar gates below and above flight level) to ice particle size distributions measured by in situ optical array probes, as well as bulk properties such as minimum snow particle density and ice water content. This comparison reveals a strong relationship between DWR and the ice particle median-volume diameter. An optimal range of DWR values ensures the highest retrieval confidence, bounded by the radars’ relative calibration and DWR saturation, found here to be about 2.5–7.5 dB. The DWR-defined size distribution shape is used with a Mie scattering model and an experimental mass–diameter relationship to test retrievals of ice particle concentration and ice water content. Comparison with flight-level cloud-probe data indicate good performance, allowing microphysical interpretations for the rest of the vertical radar transects.

Restricted access
Martin Schön
,
Keri Anne Nicoll
,
Yann Georg Büchau
,
Stefan Chindea
,
Andreas Platis
, and
Jens Bange

Abstract

Atmospheric electricity measurements made from small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) are rare but are of increasing interest to the atmospheric science community due to the information that they can provide about aerosol and turbulence characteristics of the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL). Here we present the first analysis of a new dataset of space charge and meteorology measurements made from the small, electric, fixed-wing UAS model MASC-3. Two distinct experiments are discussed: 1) Flights past a 99 m metal tower to test the response of the charge sensor to a fixed distortion of the electric field caused by the geometry of the tower. Excellent agreement is found between the charge sensor response from the MASC-3 and modeled electric field around the tower. 2) Vertical profiles up to an altitude of 2500 m to study the evolution of the ABL with the time of day. These flights demonstrated close agreement between the space charge profiles and temperature, relative humidity, and turbulence parameters, as would be expected on a fair-weather day with summertime convection. Maximum values of space charge measured were of order 70 pC m−3, comparable with other measurements in the literature from balloon platforms. These measurements demonstrate the suitability of small UAS for atmospheric electrical measurements, provided that care is taken over the choice of aircraft platform, sensor placement, minimization of electrical interference, and careful choice of the flight path. Such aircraft are typically more cost-effective than manned aircraft and are being increasingly used for atmospheric science purposes.

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