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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
Georgios Fragkoulidis
and
Volkmar Wirth
Restricted access
Dong Wan Kim
and
Sukyoung Lee
Restricted access
Siqi Yang
,
Jiangyuan Zeng
,
Wenjie Fan
, and
Yaokui Cui

Abstract

Root-zone soil moisture (RZSM) is an important variable in land–atmosphere interactions, notably affecting the global climate system. Contrary to satellite-based acquisition of surface soil moisture, RZSM is generally obtained from model-based simulations. In this study, in situ observations from the Naqu and Pali networks that represent different climatic conditions over the Tibetan Plateau (TP) and a triple collocation (TC) method are used to evaluate model-based RZSM products, including Global Land Evaporation Amsterdam Model (GLEAM) (versions 3.5a and 3.5b), Global Land Data Assimilation System (GLDAS) (versions 2.1 and 2.2), and the fifth-generation European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts reanalysis (ERA5). The evaluation results based on in situ observations indicate that all products tend to overestimate but could generally capture the temporal variation, and ERA5 exhibits the best performance with the highest R (0.875) and the lowest unbiased RMSE (ubRMSE; 0.015 m3 m−3) against in situ observations in the Naqu network. In the TC analysis, similar results are obtained: ERA5 has the best performance with the highest TC-derived R (0.785) over the entire TP, followed by GLEAM v3.5a (0.746) and GLDAS-2.1 (0.682). Meanwhile, GLEAM v3.5a and GLDAS-2.1 outperform GLEAM v3.5b and GLDAS-2.2 over the entire TP, respectively. Besides, possible error causes in evaluating these RZSM products are summarized, and the effectiveness of TC method is also evaluated with two dense networks, finding that TC method is reliable since TC-derived R is close to ground-derived R, with only 6.85% mean relative differences. These results using both in situ observations and TC method may provide a new perspective for the soil moisture product developers to further enhance the accuracy of model-based RZSM over the TP.

Significance Statement

The purpose of this study is to better understand the quality and applicability of GLEAM, GLDAS, and ERA5 RZSM products over the TP using both in situ observations and the triple collocation (TC) method, making it better applied to climate and hydrological research. This study provides four standard statistical metrics evaluation based on in situ observations, as well as the reliable metric, that is, correlation coefficient (R) derived from TC method, and highlights that TC-based evaluation could supplement the ground-based validation, especially over the data-scarce TP region.

Restricted access
Masanori Saito
and
Ping Yang

Abstract

Atmospheric particles exhibit various sizes and nonspherical shapes, which are factors that primarily determine the physical–optical properties of particles. The “sizes” of nonspherical particles can be specified based on various size descriptors, such as those defined with respect to a volume-equivalent spherical radius, projected-area-equivalent spherical radius, geometric radius, or effective radius. Microphysical and radiative transfer simulations as well as remote sensing implementations often require the conversions of particle size distributions (PSDs) in terms of the number concentration, projected area, and volume. The various size descriptors cause ambiguity in the PSD interconversion, and thereby result in potentially misleading quantification of the physical–optical properties of atmospheric nonspherical particles. The present study aims to provide a generalized formula for interconversions of PSDs in terms of physical variables and size descriptors for arbitrary nonspherical particles with lognormal and gamma distributions. In contrast to previous studies, no empirical parameters are included, allowing intrinsic understanding of the nonspherical particle effects on the PSD interconversion. In addition, we investigate the impact of different size descriptors on the single-scattering properties of nonspherical particles. Consistent single-scattering properties among different nonspherical particles with the same size parameter are found when the size descriptor is the effective radius, whereby their mechanisms are suggested based on a modified anomalous diffraction theory. The overarching goal of this work is to eliminate the ambiguity associated with a choice of the size descriptor of nonspherical particles for Earth-atmosphere system models, cloud–aerosol remote sensing, and analyses of in situ measured atmospheric particles.

Significance Statement

Atmospheric dust and ice crystals have various sizes and mostly nonspherical shapes. Different definitions of these particle sizes and shapes cause uncertainties and even result in misleading solutions in the numerical modeling and remote sensing of atmospheric properties. We derived generalized analytical formulas to rigorously treat the sizes and shapes of particles in the atmosphere, and also investigated the importance of the treatment of particle sizes on the particle properties essential to the Earth–atmospheric climate system. This study aims to eliminate the ambiguity associated with particle sizes and shapes in atmospheric research.

Restricted access
Leonardo Alcayaga
,
Gunner Chr. Larsen
,
Mark Kelly
, and
Jakob Mann

Abstract

We investigate characteristics of large-scale coherent motions in the atmospheric boundary layer using field measurements made with two long-range scanning wind lidars. The joint scans provide quasi-instantaneous wind fields over a domain of ∼50 km2, at two heights above flat but partially forested terrain. Along with the two-dimensional wind fields, two-point statistics and spectra are used to identify and characterize the scales, shape, and anisotropy of coherent structures—as well as their influence on wind field homogeneity. For moderate to high wind speeds in near-neutral conditions, most of the observed structures correspond to narrow streaks of low streamwise momentum near the surface, extending several hundred meters in the streamwise direction; these are associated with positive vertical velocity ejections. For unstable conditions and moderate winds, these structures become large-scale rolls, with longitudinal extent exceeding the measuring domain (>∼5 km); they dominate the conventional surface-layer structures in terms of both physical scale and relative size of velocity-component variances, appearing as quasi-two-dimensional structures throughout the entire boundary layer. The observations shown here are consistent with numerical simulations of atmospheric flows, field observations, and laboratory experiments under similar conditions.

Significance Statement

Coherent structures have attracted the interest of researchers for decades, being viewed as the closest to “order” that we can find within the chaos of turbulence. In the turbulent atmospheric boundary layer, micro- and mesoscale coherent structures come in many shapes and sizes, such as convective cells, rolls, or streaks. In this study we used dual lidars (remote sensing measurements), developing analysis of their tandem usage to characterize in detail some of the large-scale coherent structures generated over flat terrain. This allowed us to better understand the mechanisms that generate such structures and describe their influence on the morphology of the turbulent atmospheric boundary layer across a good deal of its depth.

Open access
Qiyan Lin
and
Jiacan Yuan

Abstract

Humid heat extremes, taking account of both temperature and humidity, have adverse impacts on society, particularly on human health. It has been suggested that quasi-stationary waves (QSWs) with anomalously high amplitudes contribute to the occurrence of near-surface precipitation extremes and temperature extremes in the midlatitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. However, little attention has been paid to the linkages between amplified QSWs and humid heat extremes. Using the ERA5 dataset, we identify amplified QSWs of zonal wavenumbers 5–7 (Wave 5–7) in summer months from 1979 to 2020. These amplified QSWs show clear circumglobal wave patterns horizontally and nearly barotropic structure vertically. Linking amplified Wave 5–7 to wet-bulb temperature (WBT) extremes, we find that amplified QSWs preferentially induce prominently prolonged WBT extremes in specific regions: north-central North America for amplified Wave 5; western United States, south-central Asia, and eastern Asia for amplified Wave 6; and western Europe and the Caspian Sea region for amplified Wave 7. Analyses of physical processes indicate that, accompanied by the amplification of Wave 5–7, the changes in horizontal temperature advection, adiabatic heating associated with descending motion, downward solar radiation, moisture transport and moisture flux convergence, and surface latent heat fluxes largely account for the increase in persistence of WBT extremes.

Significance Statement

In the context of climate change, humid heat extremes exhibit different changes and impacts from high-temperature extremes, but the physical processes that may cause them remain unclear. This study aims to explore the atmospheric dynamic processes leading to the concurrence of humid heat extremes, which may exacerbate the risk from heat stress in today’s interconnected world. In specific regions over the Northern Hemisphere midlatitudes, durations of humid heat extremes are found to be elevated simultaneously by amplified quasi-stationary waves. We further identify the physical connections between amplified quasi-stationary waves and humid heat extremes over targeted regions. This would help in better understanding the role of changing atmospheric circulations in the humid heat extremes.

Open access
Mikhail D. Alexandrov
,
Alexander Marshak
,
Brian Cairns
, and
Andrew S. Ackerman

Abstract

We present a generalization of the binary-value Markovian model previously used for statistical characterization of cloud masks to a continuous-value model describing 1D fields of cloud optical thickness (COT). This model has simple functional expressions and is specified by four parameters: the cloud fraction, the autocorrelation (scale) length, and the two parameters of the normalized probability density function of (nonzero) COT values (this PDF is assumed to have gamma-distribution form). Cloud masks derived from this model by separation between the values above and below some threshold in COT appear to have the same statistical properties as in binary-value model described in our previous publications. We demonstrate the ability of our model to generate examples of various cloud-field types by using it to statistically imitate actual cloud observations made by the Research Scanning Polarimeter (RSP) during two field experiments.

Restricted access
Pengcheng Zhang
and
Nicholas J. Lutsko

Abstract

Although Earth’s troposphere does not superrotate in the annual mean, for most of the year—from October to May—the winds of the tropical upper troposphere are westerly. We investigate this seasonal superrotation using reanalysis data and a single-layer model for the winds of the tropical upper troposphere. We characterize the temporal and spatial structures of the tropospheric superrotation, and quantify the relationships between the superrotation and the leading modes of tropical interannual variability. We also find that the strength of the superrotation has remained roughly constant over the past few decades, despite the winds of the tropical upper troposphere decelerating (becoming more easterly) in other months. We analyze the monthly zonal-mean zonal momentum budget and use numerical simulations with an axisymmetric, single-layer model of the tropical upper troposphere to study the underlying dynamics of the seasonal superrotation. Momentum flux convergence by stationary eddies accelerates the superrotation, while cross-equatorial easterly momentum transport associated with the Hadley circulation decelerates the superrotation. The seasonal modulations of these two competing factors shape the superrotation. The single-layer model is able to qualitatively reproduce the seasonal progression of the winds in the tropical upper troposphere, and highlights the northward displacement of the intertropical convergence zone in the annual mean as a key factor responsible for the annual cycle of the tropical winds.

Restricted access
Lucas A. McMichael
,
David B. Mechem
, and
Thijs Heus

Abstract

Vertical wind shear has long been known to tilt convective towers and reduce thermal ascent rates. The purpose of this study is to better understand the physical mechanisms responsible for reduced ascent rates in shallow convection. In particular, the study focuses on cloud-edge mass flux to assess how shear impacts mass-flux profiles of both the ensemble and individual clouds of various depths. A compositing algorithm is used to distill large-eddy simulation (LES) output to focus on up- and down-shear cloud edges that are not influenced by complex cloud geometry or nearby clouds. A direct entrainment algorithm is used to estimate the mass flux through the cloud surface. We find that the dynamics on the up- and down-shear sides are fundamentally different, with the entrainment of environmental momentum and dilution of buoyancy being primarily responsible for the reduced down-shear ascent rates. Direct estimates of fluid flow through the cloud interface indicate a counter-shear organized flow pattern that entrains on the down-shear side and detrains on the up-shear side, resulting from the subcloud shear being lifted into the cloud layer by the updraft. In spite of organized regions of entrainment and detrainment, the overall net lateral mass flux remains unchanged with respect to the no shear run, with weak detrainment present throughout cloud depth.

Restricted access