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Hilde Haakenstad, Øyvind Breivik, Birgitte R. Furevik, Magnar Reistad, Patrik Bohlinger, and Ole Johan Aarnes

Abstract

The 3-km Norwegian Reanalysis (NORA3) is a 15-yr mesoscale-permitting atmospheric hindcast of the North Sea, the Norwegian Sea, and the Barents Sea. With a horizontal resolution of 3 km, the nonhydrostatic numerical weather prediction model HARMONIE–AROME runs explicitly resolved deep convection and yields hindcast fields that realistically downscale the ERA5 reanalysis. The wind field is much improved relative to its host analysis, in particular in mountainous areas and along the improved grid-resolving coastlines. NORA3 also performs much better than the earlier hydrostatic 10-km Norwegian Hindcast Archive (NORA10) in complex terrain. NORA3 recreates the detailed structures of mesoscale cyclones with sharp gradients in wind and with clear frontal structures, which are particularly important when modeling polar lows. In extratropical windstorms, NORA3 exhibits significantly higher maximum wind speeds and compares much better to observed maximum wind than do NORA10 and ERA5. The activity of the model is much more realistic than that of NORA10 and ERA5, both over the ocean and in complex terrain.

Open access
Domingo Muñoz-Esparza, Hyeyum Hailey Shin, Teddie L. Keller, Kyoko Ikeda, Robert D. Sharman, Matthias Steiner, Jeff Rawdon, and Gary Pokodner

Abstract

Takeoff and landing maneuvers can be particularly hazardous at airports surrounded by complex terrain. To address this situation, the Federal Aviation Administration has developed a precipitous terrain classification as a way to impose more restrictive terrain clearances in the vicinity of complex terrain and to mitigate possible altimeter errors and pilot control problems experienced while executing instrument approach procedures. The current precipitous point value (PPV) algorithm relies on the terrain characteristics within a local area of 2 n mi (3.7 km) in radius and is therefore static in time. In this work, we investigate the role of meteorological effects leading to potential aviation hazards over complex terrain, namely, turbulence, altimeter-setting errors, and density-altitude deviations. To that end, we combine observations with high-resolution numerical weather forecasts within a 2° × 2° region over the Rocky Mountains in Colorado containing three airports that are surrounded by precipitous terrain. Both available turbulence reports and model’s turbulence forecasts show little correlation with the PPV algorithm for the region analyzed, indicating that the static terrain characteristics cannot generally be used to reliably capture hazardous low-level turbulence events. Altimeter-setting errors and density-altitude effects are also found to be only very weakly correlated with the PPV algorithm. Altimeter-setting errors contribute to hazardous conditions mainly during cold seasons, driven by synoptic weather systems, whereas density-altitude effects are on the contrary predominantly present during the spring and summer months and follow a very well-marked diurnal evolution modulated by surface radiative effects. These findings demonstrate the effectiveness of high-resolution weather forecast information in determining aviation-relevant hazardous conditions over complex terrain.

Open access
Virendra P. Ghate, Maria P. Cadeddu, Xue Zheng, and Ewan O’Connor

Abstract

Marine stratocumulus clouds are intimately coupled to the turbulence in the boundary layer and drizzle is known to be ubiquitous within them. Six years of data collected at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement’s (ARM) Eastern North Atlantic (ENA) site are utilized to characterize turbulence in the marine boundary layer and air motions below stratocumulus clouds. Profiles of variance of vertical velocity binned by wind direction (wdir) yielded that the boundary layer measurements are affected by the island when the wdir is between 90° and 310° (measured clockwise from the north from where air is coming). Data collected during the marine conditions (wdir < 90° or wdir > 310°) showed that the variance of vertical velocity was higher during the winter months than during the summer months because of higher cloudiness, wind speeds, and surface fluxes. During marine conditions the variance of vertical velocity and cloud fraction exhibited a distinct diurnal cycle with higher values during the nighttime than during the daytime. Detailed analysis of 32 cases of drizzling marine stratocumulus clouds showed that, for a similar amount of radiative cooling at the cloud top, within the subcloud layer 1) drizzle increasingly falls within downdrafts with increasing rain rates, 2) the strength of the downdrafts increases with increasing rain rates, and 3) the correlation between vertical air motion and rain rate is highest in the middle of the subcloud layer. The results presented herein have implications for climatological and model evaluation studies conducted at the ENA site, along with efforts to accurately represent drizzle–turbulence interactions in a range of atmospheric models.

Open access
L. Mahrt, H. J. S Fernando, and O. Acevedo

Abstract

Our study examines the horizontal variation of the nocturnal surface air temperature by analyzing measurements from four contrasting networks of stations with generally modest topography. The horizontal extent of the networks ranges from 1 to 23 km. For each network, we investigate the general relationship of the horizontal variation of temperature to the wind speed, wind direction, near-surface stratification, and turbulence. As an example, the horizontal variation of temperature generally increases with increasing stratification and decreases with increasing wind speed. However, quantitative details vary significantly between the networks. Needed changes of the observational strategy are discussed.

Open access
Xiaoxiong Lu, Qinglan Li, Wei Zhao, Aiguo Xiao, Guangxin Li, and Zifeng Yu

Abstract

Based on daily meteorological observation data in South China (SC) from 1967 to 2018, the spatiotemporal characteristics of the precipitation in SC over the past 52 years were studied. Only 8% of the stations showed a significant increase in annual rainfall, and there was no significant negative trend at any weather stations at a confidence level of 90%. Monthly rainfall showed the most significant decreasing and increasing trends in April and November, respectively. During the entire flooding season from April to September, the monthly rainfall at the weather stations in the coastal areas showed almost no significant change. The annual rainfall gradually decreased toward the inland area with the central and coastal areas of Guangdong Province as the high-value rainfall center. By using the empirical orthogonal function decomposition method, it was found that the two main monthly rainfall modes had strong annual signals. The first modal spatial distribution was basically consistent with the average annual rainfall distribution. Based on the environmental background analysis, it was found that during the flooding season the main water vapor to SC was transported by the East Asian summer monsoon and the Indian summer monsoon. In late autumn and winter, the prevailing wind from northeastern China could not bring much water vapor to SC and led to little precipitation in these two seasons. The spatial distribution of precipitation in SC during summer was more consistent with the moisture flux divergence distribution of the bottom layer from 925 to 1000 hPa rather than that of the layer from 700 to 1000 hPa.

Open access
Natalia Odnoletkova and Tadeusz W. Patzek

Abstract

We have analyzed the long-term temperature trends and extreme temperature events in Saudi Arabia between 1979 and 2019. Our study relies on high-resolution, consistent, and complete ERA5 reanalysis data from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF). We evaluated linear trends in several climate descriptors, including temperature, dewpoint temperature, thermal comfort, and extreme event indices. Previous works on this topic used data from weather station observations over limited time intervals and did not include temperature data for recent years. The years 2010–19 have been the warmest decade ever observed by instrumental temperature monitoring and are the eight warmest years on record. Therefore, the earlier results may be incomplete, and their results may no longer be relevant. Our findings indicate that, over the past four decades, Saudi Arabia has warmed up at a rate that is 50% higher than the rest of the landmass in the Northern Hemisphere. Moreover, moisture content of the air has significantly increased in the region. The increases of temperature and humidity have resulted in the soaring of dewpoint temperature and thermal discomfort across the country. These increases are more substantial during summers, which are already very hot relative to winters. Such changes may be dangerous to people over vast areas of the country. If the current trend persists into the future, human survival in the region will be impossible without continuous access to air conditioning.

Open access
Baojuan Huai, Michiel R. van den Broeke, Carleen H. Reijmer, and John Cappellen

Abstract

This paper estimates rainfall totals at 17 Greenland meteorological stations, subjecting data from in situ precipitation gauge measurements to seven different precipitation phase schemes to separate rainfall and snowfall amounts. To correct the resulting snow/rain fractions for undercatch, we subsequently use a dynamic correction model (DCM) for automatic weather stations (AWS, Pluvio gauges) and a regression analysis correction method for staffed stations (Hellmann gauges). With observations ranging from 5% to 57% for cumulative totals, rainfall accounts for a considerable fraction of total annual precipitation over Greenland’s coastal regions, with the highest rain fraction in the south (Narsarsuaq). Monthly precipitation and rainfall totals are used to evaluate the regional climate model RACMO2.3. The model realistically captures monthly rainfall and total precipitation (R = 0.3–0.9), with generally higher correlations for rainfall for which the undercatch correction factors (1.02–1.40) are smaller than those for snowfall (1.27–2.80), and hence the observations are more robust. With a horizontal resolution of 5.5 km and simulation period from 1958 to the present, RACMO2.3 therefore is a useful tool to study spatial and temporal variability of rainfall in Greenland, although further statistical downscaling may be required to resolve the steep rainfall gradients.

Open access
Christoph Böhm, Jan H. Schween, Mark Reyers, Benedikt Maier, Ulrich Löhnert, and Susanne Crewell

Abstract

In many hyperarid ecosystems, such as the Atacama Desert, fog is the most important freshwater source. To study biological and geological processes in such water-limited regions, knowledge about the spatiotemporal distribution and variability of fog presence is necessary. In this study, in situ measurements provided by a network of climate stations equipped, inter alia, with leaf wetness sensors are utilized to create a reference fog dataset that enables the validation of satellite-based fog retrieval methods. Further, a new satellite-based fog-detection approach is introduced that uses brightness temperatures measured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) as input for a neural network. Such a machine learning technique can exploit all spectral information of the satellite data and represent potential nonlinear relationships. Relative to a second fog-detection approach based on MODIS cloud-top height retrievals, the neural network reaches a higher detection skill (Heidke skill score of 0.56 as compared with 0.49). A suitable representation of temporal variability on subseasonal time scales is provided with correlations mostly greater than 0.7 between fog occurrence time series derived from the neural network and the reference data for individual climate stations, respectively. Furthermore, a suitable spatial representativity of the neural-network approach to expand the application to the whole region is indicated. Three-year averages of fog frequencies reveal similar spatial patterns for the austral winter season for both approaches. However, differences are found for the summer and potential reasons are discussed.

Open access
Brittany N. Carson-Marquis, Jianglong Zhang, Peng Xian, Jeffrey S. Reid, and Jared W. Marquis

Abstract

When unaccounted for in numerical weather prediction (NWP) models, heavy aerosol events can cause significant unrealized biases in forecast meteorological parameters such as surface temperature. To improve near-surface forecasting accuracies during heavy aerosol loadings, we demonstrate the feasibility of incorporating aerosol fields from a global chemical transport model as initial and boundary conditions into a higher-resolution NWP model with aerosol–meteorological coupling. This concept is tested for a major biomass burning smoke event over the northern Great Plains region of the United States that occurred during summer of 2015. Aerosol analyses from the global Navy Aerosol Analysis and Prediction System (NAAPS) are used as initial and boundary conditions for Weather Research and Forecasting Model with Chemistry (WRF-Chem) simulations. Through incorporating more realistic aerosol direct effects into the WRF-Chem simulations, errors in WRF-Chem simulated surface downward shortwave radiative fluxes and near-surface temperature are reduced when compared with surface-based observations. This study confirms the ability to decrease biases induced by the aerosol direct effect for regional NWP forecasts during high-impact aerosol episodes through the incorporation of analyses and forecasts from a global aerosol transport model.

Open access
Christopher P. Loughner, Benjamin Fasoli, Ariel F. Stein, and John C. Lin

Abstract

The Hybrid Single-Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory model (HYSPLIT) is a state-of-the-science atmospheric dispersion model that is developed and maintained at the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s Air Resources Laboratory. In the early 2000s, HYSPLIT served as the starting point for development of the Stochastic Time-Inverted Lagrangian Transport (STILT) model that emphasizes backward-in-time dispersion simulations to determine source regions of receptors. STILT continued its separate development and gained a wide user base. Since STILT was built on a now outdated version of HYSPLIT and lacks long-term institutional support to maintain the model, incorporating STILT features into HYSPLIT allows these features to stay up to date. This paper describes the STILT features incorporated into HYSPLIT, which include a new vertical interpolation algorithm for WRF-derived meteorological input files, a detailed algorithm for estimating boundary layer height, a new turbulence parameterization, a vertical Lagrangian time scale that varies in time and space, a complex dispersion algorithm, and two new convection schemes. An evaluation of these new features was performed using tracer release data from the Cross Appalachian Tracer Experiment and the Across North America Tracer Experiment. Results show that the dispersion module from STILT, which takes up to double the amount of time to run, is less dispersive in the vertical direction and is in better agreement with observations when compared with the existing HYSPLIT option. The other new modeling features from STILT were not consistently statistically different than existing HYSPLIT options. Forward-time simulations from the new model were also compared with backward-in-time equivalents and were found to be statistically comparable to one another.

Open access