Browse

You are looking at 21 - 30 of 186 items for :

  • Meteorological Monographs x
  • Refine by Access: Content accessible to me x
Clear All
Stanley G. Benjamin, John M. Brown, Gilbert Brunet, Peter Lynch, Kazuo Saito, and Thomas W. Schlatter

Abstract

Over the past 100 years, the collaborative effort of the international science community, including government weather services and the media, along with the associated proliferation of environmental observations, improved scientific understanding, and growth of technology, has radically transformed weather forecasting into an effective global and regional environmental prediction capability. This chapter traces the evolution of forecasting, starting in 1919 [when the American Meteorological Society (AMS) was founded], over four eras separated by breakpoints at 1939, 1956, and 1985. The current state of forecasting could not have been achieved without essential collaboration within and among countries in pursuing the common weather and Earth-system prediction challenge. AMS itself has had a strong role in enabling this international collaboration.

Full access
Christa D. Peters-Lidard, Faisal Hossain, L. Ruby Leung, Nate McDowell, Matthew Rodell, Francisco J. Tapiador, F. Joe Turk, and Andrew Wood

Abstract

The focus of this chapter is progress in hydrology for the last 100 years. During this period, we have seen a marked transition from practical engineering hydrology to fundamental developments in hydrologic science, including contributions to Earth system science. The first three sections in this chapter review advances in theory, observations, and hydrologic prediction. Building on this foundation, the growth of global hydrology, land–atmosphere interactions and coupling, ecohydrology, and water management are discussed, as well as a brief summary of emerging challenges and future directions. Although the review attempts to be comprehensive, the chapter offers greater coverage on surface hydrology and hydrometeorology for readers of this American Meteorological Society (AMS) monograph.

Full access
V. Ramaswamy, W. Collins, J. Haywood, J. Lean, N. Mahowald, G. Myhre, V. Naik, K. P. Shine, B. Soden, G. Stenchikov, and T. Storelvmo

Abstract

We describe the historical evolution of the conceptualization, formulation, quantification, application, and utilization of “radiative forcing” (RF) of Earth’s climate. Basic theories of shortwave and longwave radiation were developed through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and established the analytical framework for defining and quantifying the perturbations to Earth’s radiative energy balance by natural and anthropogenic influences. The insight that Earth’s climate could be radiatively forced by changes in carbon dioxide, first introduced in the nineteenth century, gained empirical support with sustained observations of the atmospheric concentrations of the gas beginning in 1957. Advances in laboratory and field measurements, theory, instrumentation, computational technology, data, and analysis of well-mixed greenhouse gases and the global climate system through the twentieth century enabled the development and formalism of RF; this allowed RF to be related to changes in global-mean surface temperature with the aid of increasingly sophisticated models. This in turn led to RF becoming firmly established as a principal concept in climate science by 1990. The linkage with surface temperature has proven to be the most important application of the RF concept, enabling a simple metric to evaluate the relative climate impacts of different agents. The late 1970s and 1980s saw accelerated developments in quantification, including the first assessment of the effect of the forcing due to the doubling of carbon dioxide on climate (the “Charney” report). The concept was subsequently extended to a wide variety of agents beyond well-mixed greenhouse gases (WMGHGs; carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and halocarbons) to short-lived species such as ozone. The WMO and IPCC international assessments began the important sequence of periodic evaluations and quantifications of the forcings by natural (solar irradiance changes and stratospheric aerosols resulting from volcanic eruptions) and a growing set of anthropogenic agents (WMGHGs, ozone, aerosols, land surface changes, contrails). From the 1990s to the present, knowledge and scientific confidence in the radiative agents acting on the climate system have proliferated. The conceptual basis of RF has also evolved as both our understanding of the way radiative forcing drives climate change and the diversity of the forcing mechanisms have grown. This has led to the current situation where “effective radiative forcing” (ERF) is regarded as the preferred practical definition of radiative forcing in order to better capture the link between forcing and global-mean surface temperature change. The use of ERF, however, comes with its own attendant issues, including challenges in its diagnosis from climate models, its applications to small forcings, and blurring of the distinction between rapid climate adjustments (fast responses) and climate feedbacks; this will necessitate further elaboration of its utility in the future. Global climate model simulations of radiative perturbations by various agents have established how the forcings affect other climate variables besides temperature (e.g., precipitation). The forcing–response linkage as simulated by models, including the diversity in the spatial distribution of forcings by the different agents, has provided a practical demonstration of the effectiveness of agents in perturbing the radiative energy balance and causing climate changes. The significant advances over the past half century have established, with very high confidence, that the global-mean ERF due to human activity since preindustrial times is positive (the 2013 IPCC assessment gives a best estimate of 2.3 W m−2, with a range from 1.1 to 3.3 W m−2; 90% confidence interval). Further, except in the immediate aftermath of climatically significant volcanic eruptions, the net anthropogenic forcing dominates over natural radiative forcing mechanisms. Nevertheless, the substantial remaining uncertainty in the net anthropogenic ERF leads to large uncertainties in estimates of climate sensitivity from observations and in predicting future climate impacts. The uncertainty in the ERF arises principally from the incorporation of the rapid climate adjustments in the formulation, the well-recognized difficulties in characterizing the preindustrial state of the atmosphere, and the incomplete knowledge of the interactions of aerosols with clouds. This uncertainty impairs the quantitative evaluation of climate adaptation and mitigation pathways in the future. A grand challenge in Earth system science lies in continuing to sustain the relatively simple essence of the radiative forcing concept in a form similar to that originally devised, and at the same time improving the quantification of the forcing. This, in turn, demands an accurate, yet increasingly complex and comprehensive, accounting of the relevant processes in the climate system.

Full access
Sue Ellen Haupt, Robert M. Rauber, Bruce Carmichael, Jason C. Knievel, and James L. Cogan

Abstract

The field of atmospheric science has been enhanced by its long-standing collaboration with entities with specific needs. This chapter and the two subsequent ones describe how applications have worked to advance the science at the same time that the science has served the needs of society. This chapter briefly reviews the synergy between the applications and advancing the science. It specifically describes progress in weather modification, aviation weather, and applications for security. Each of these applications has resulted in enhanced understanding of the physics and dynamics of the atmosphere, new and improved observing equipment, better models, and a push for greater computing power.

Full access
Jeffrey L. Stith, Darrel Baumgardner, Julie Haggerty, R. Michael Hardesty, Wen-Chau Lee, Donald Lenschow, Peter Pilewskie, Paul L. Smith, Matthias Steiner, and Holger Vömel

Abstract

Although atmospheric observing systems were already an important part of meteorology before the American Meteorological Society was established in 1919, the past 100 years have seen a steady increase in their numbers and types. Examples of how observing systems were developed and how they have enabled major scientific discoveries are presented. These examples include observing systems associated with the boundary layer, the upper air, clouds and precipitation, and solar and terrestrial radiation. Widely used specialized observing systems such as radar, lidar, and research aircraft are discussed, and examples of applications to weather forecasting and climate are given. Examples drawn from specific types of chemical measurements, such as ozone and carbon dioxide, are included. Sources of information on observing systems, including other chapters of this monograph, are also discussed. The past 100 years has been characterized by synergism between societal needs for weather observations and the needs of fundamental meteorological research into atmospheric processes. In the latter half of the period, observing system improvements have been driven by the increasing demands for higher-resolution data for numerical models, the need for long-term measurements, and for more global coverage. This has resulted in a growing demand for data access and for integrating data from an increasingly wide variety of observing system types and networks. These trends will likely continue.

Full access
John E. Walsh, David H. Bromwich, James. E. Overland, Mark C. Serreze, and Kevin R. Wood

Abstract

The polar regions present several unique challenges to meteorology, including remoteness and a harsh environment. We summarize the evolution of polar meteorology in both hemispheres, beginning with measurements made during early expeditions and concluding with the recent decades in which polar meteorology has been central to global challenges such as the ozone hole, weather prediction, and climate change. Whereas the 1800s and early 1900s provided data from expeditions and only a few subarctic stations, the past 100 years have seen great advances in the observational network and corresponding understanding of the meteorology of the polar regions. For example, a persistent view in the early twentieth century was of an Arctic Ocean dominated by a permanent high pressure cell, a glacial anticyclone. With increased observations, by the 1950s it became apparent that, while anticyclones are a common feature of the Arctic circulation, cyclones are frequent and may be found anywhere in the Arctic. Technology has benefited polar meteorology through advances in instrumentation, especially autonomously operated instruments. Moreover, satellite remote sensing and computer models revolutionized polar meteorology. We highlight the four International Polar Years and several high-latitude field programs of recent decades. We also note outstanding challenges, which include understanding of the role of the Arctic in variations of midlatitude weather and climate, the ability to model surface energy exchanges over a changing Arctic Ocean, assessments of ongoing and future trends in extreme events in polar regions, and the role of internal variability in multiyear-to-decadal variations of polar climate.

Full access
Kerry Emanuel

Abstract

A century ago, meteorologists regarded tropical cyclones as shallow vortices, extending upward only a few kilometers into the troposphere, and nothing was known about their physics save that convection was somehow involved. As recently as 1938, a major hurricane struck the densely populated northeastern United States with no warning whatsoever, killing hundreds. In the time since the American Meteorological Society was founded, however, tropical cyclone research blossomed into an endeavor of great breadth and depth, encompassing fields ranging from atmospheric and oceanic dynamics to biogeochemistry, and the precision and scope of forecasts and warnings have achieved a level of success that would have been regarded as impossible only a few decades ago. This chapter attempts to document the extraordinary progress in tropical cyclone research over the last century and to suggest some avenues for productive research over the next one.

Full access
Robert A. Houze Jr.

Abstract

When cumulonimbus clouds aggregate, developing into a single entity with precipitation covering a horizontal scale of hundreds of kilometers, they are called mesoscale convective systems (MCSs). They account for much of Earth’s precipitation, generate severe weather events and flooding, produce prodigious cirriform anvil clouds, and affect the evolution of the larger-scale circulation. Understanding the inner workings of MCSs has resulted from developments in observational technology and modeling. Time–space conversion of ordinary surface and upper-air observations provided early insight into MCSs, but deeper understanding has followed field campaigns using increasingly sophisticated radars, better aircraft instrumentation, and an ever-widening range of satellite instruments, especially satellite-borne radars. High-resolution modeling and theoretical insights have shown that aggregated cumulonimbus clouds induce a mesoscale circulation consisting of air overturning on a scale larger than the scale of individual convective up- and downdrafts. These layers can be kilometers deep and decoupled from the boundary layer in elevated MCSs. Cooling in the lower troposphere and heating aloft characterize the stratiform regions of MCSs. As a result, long-lived MCSs with large stratiform regions have a top-heavy heating profile that generates potential vorticity in midlevels, thus influencing the larger-scale circulation within which the MCSs occur. Global satellite data show MCSs varying in structure, depending on the prevailing large-scale circulation and topography. These patterns are likely to change with global warming. In addition, environmental pollution affects MCS structure and dynamics subtly. Feedbacks of MCSs therefore need to be included or parameterized in climate models.

Full access
Carl Wunsch and Raffaele Ferrari

Abstract

The central change in understanding of the ocean circulation during the past 100 years has been its emergence as an intensely time-dependent, effectively turbulent and wave-dominated, flow. Early technologies for making the difficult observations were adequate only to depict large-scale, quasi-steady flows. With the electronic revolution of the past 50+ years, the emergence of geophysical fluid dynamics, the strongly inhomogeneous time-dependent nature of oceanic circulation physics finally emerged. Mesoscale (balanced), submesoscale oceanic eddies at 100-km horizontal scales and shorter, and internal waves are now known to be central to much of the behavior of the system. Ocean circulation is now recognized to involve both eddies and larger-scale flows with dominant elements and their interactions varying among the classical gyres, the boundary current regions, the Southern Ocean, and the tropics.

Full access
Keith L. Seitter, Jinny Nathans, and Sophie Mankins

Abstract

Over the past century, the atmospheric and related sciences have seen incredible advances in our understanding of Earth’s environment and our ability to monitor and predict its behavior. These advances have had a profound impact on society and have been integrated into every aspect of daily life. The American Meteorological Society (AMS) has been instrumental in supporting these advances throughout its first 100 years of existence as a scientific and professional society serving the community of professionals in the atmospheric and related oceanic and hydrologic sciences. AMS has provided opportunities for researchers and practitioners to share their scientific findings and build fruitful collaborations to further the science and its application. Through strategic initiatives at key points in its history, AMS has pushed the science forward—highlighting areas ripe for development, creating frameworks for interdisciplinary interactions, and providing innovative approaches to the dissemination of research results. As a society made up of the scientific community and led by many of the most prominent scientists of their time, AMS has been able to respond to, and often anticipate, the needs of its community.

Full access