Browse

You are looking at 101 - 110 of 14,457 items for :

  • Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences x
  • All content x
Clear All
Reuben Demirdjian, Richard Rotunno, Bruce D. Cornuelle, Carolyn A. Reynolds, and James D. Doyle

Abstract

An analysis of the influence and sensitivity of moisture in an idealized two-dimensional moist semigeostrophic frontogenesis model is presented. A comparison between a dry (relative humidity RH = 0%) version and a moist (RH = 80%) version of the model demonstrates that the impact of moisture is to increase frontogenesis, strengthen the transverse circulation (u ag, w), generate a low-level potential-vorticity anomaly, and develop a low-level jet. The idealized model is compared with a real case simulated with the full-physics three-dimensional Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere Mesoscale Prediction System (COAMPS) model, establishing good agreement and thereby confirming that the idealized model retains the essential physical processes relevant for improving understanding of midlatitude frontogenesis. Optimal perturbations of mixing ratio are calculated to quantify the circulation response of the model through the computation of singular vectors, which determines the fastest-growing modes of a linearized version of the idealized model. The vertical velocity is found to respond strongly to initial-condition mixing-ratio perturbations such that small changes in moisture lead to large changes in the ascent. The progression of physical processes responsible for this nonlinear growth is (in order) jet/front transverse circulation → moisture convergence ahead of the front → latent heating at mid- to low elevations → reduction in static stability ahead of the front → strengthening of the transverse circulation, and the feedback cycle repeats. Together, these physical processes represent a pathway by which small perturbations of moisture can have a strong impact on a forecast involving midlatitude frontogenesis.

Open access
Zhonghai Jin and Andrew Lacis

Abstract

A computationally efficient method is presented to account for the horizontal cloud inhomogeneity by using a radiatively equivalent plane-parallel homogeneous (PPH) cloud. The algorithm can accurately match the calculations of the reference (rPPH) independent column approximation (ICA) results but uses only the same computational time required for a single plane-parallel computation. The effective optical depth of this synthetic sPPH cloud is derived by exactly matching the direct transmission to that of the inhomogeneous ICA cloud. The effective scattering asymmetry factor is found from a precalculated albedo inverse lookup table that is allowed to vary over the range from −1.0 to 1.0. In the special cases of conservative scattering and total absorption, the synthetic method is exactly equivalent to the ICA, with only a small bias (about 0.2% in flux) relative to ICA resulting from imperfect interpolation in using the lookup tables. In principle, the ICA albedo can be approximated accurately regardless of cloud inhomogeneity. For a more complete comparison, the broadband shortwave albedo and transmission calculated from the synthetic sPPH cloud and averaged over all incident directions have RMS biases of 0.26% and 0.76%, respectively, for inhomogeneous clouds over a wide variation of particle size. The advantages of the synthetic PPH method are that 1) it is not required that all the cloud subcolumns have uniform microphysical characteristic, 2) it is applicable to any 1D radiative transfer scheme, and 3) it can handle arbitrary cloud optical depth distributions and an arbitrary number of cloud subcolumns with uniform computational efficiency.

Restricted access
Ryan Eastman, Christopher R. Terai, Daniel P. Grosvenor, and Robert Wood

Abstract

A Lagrangian framework is developed to show the daily-scale time evolution of low clouds over the eastern subtropical oceans. An identical framework is applied to two general circulation models (GCMs): the CAM5 and UKMET and a set of satellite observations. This approach follows thousands of parcels as they advect downwind in the subtropical trade winds, comparing cloud evolution in time and space. This study tracks cloud cover, in-cloud liquid water path (CLWP), droplet concentration N d, planetary boundary layer (PBL) depth, and rain rate as clouds transition from regions with predominately stratiform clouds to regions containing mostly trade cumulus. The two models generate fewer clouds with greater N d relative to observations. Models show stronger Lagrangian cloud cover decline and greater PBL deepening when compared with observations. In comparing frequency distributions of cloud variables over time, it is seen that models generate increasing frequencies of nearly clear conditions at the expense of overcast conditions, whereas observations show transitions from overcast to cloud amounts between 50% and 90%. Lagrangian decorrelation time scales (e-folding time τ) of cloud cover and CLWP are between 11 and 19 h for models and observations, although they are a bit shorter for models. A Lagrangian framework applied here resolves and compares the time evolution of cloud systems as they adjust to environmental perturbations in models and observations. Increasing subsidence in the overlying troposphere leads to declining cloud cover, CLWP, PBL depth, and rain rates in models and observations. Modeled cloud responses to other meteorological variables are less consistent with observations, suggesting a need for continuing mechanical improvements in GCMs.

Restricted access
Kuniaki Inoue, Michela Biasutti, and Ann M. Fridlind

Abstract

The column moist static energy (MSE) budget equation approximates the processes associated with column moistening and drying in the tropics, and is therefore predictive of precipitation amplification and decay. We use ERA-Interim (ERA-I) and TRMM 3B42 data to investigate day-to-day convective variability and distinguish the roles of horizontal MSE (or moisture) advection versus vertical advection, sources, and sinks. Over tropical convergence zones, results suggest that horizontal moisture advection is a primary driver of day-to-day precipitation fluctuations; when drying via horizontal moisture advection is smaller (greater) than Chikira’s “column process,” precipitation tends to amplify (decay). In the absence of horizontal moisture advection, precipitation tends to increase spontaneously almost universally through a positive column process feedback. This bulk positive feedback is characterized by negative effective gross moist stability (GMS), which is maintained throughout the tropical convergence zones. How this positive feedback is achieved varies geographically, depending on the shape of vertical velocity (omega) profiles. In regions where omega profiles are top-heavy, the effective GMS is negative primarily owing to strong feedbacks between convection and diabatic MSE sources (radiative and surface fluxes). In these regions, vertical MSE advection stabilizes the atmosphere (positive vertical GMS). Where omega profiles are bottom-heavy, by contrast, a positive feedback is primarily driven by import of MSE through a shallow circulation (negative vertical GMS). The diabatic feedback and vertical GMS are in a seesaw balance, offsetting one another. Our results suggest that ubiquitous convective variability is amplified by the same mechanism as moisture-mode instability.

Restricted access
Laura Shedd, Matthew R. Kumjian, Ian Giammanco, Tanya Brown-Giammanco, and B. Ross Maiden

Abstract

Hailstone growth results in a variety of hailstone shapes. These shapes hold implications for modeling of hail processes, hailstone fall behaviors including fall speeds, and remote sensing signatures of hail. This study is an in-depth analysis of natural hailstone shapes, using a large dataset of hailstones collected in the field over a 6-yr period. These data come from manual measurements with digital calipers and three-dimensional infrared laser scans. Hailstones tend to have an ellipsoidal geometry with minor-to-major axis ratios ranging from 0.4 to 0.8, and intermediate-to-major axis ratios between 0.8 and 1.0. These suggest hailstones are better represented as triaxial ellipsoids as opposed to spheres or spheroids, which is commonly assumed. The laser scans allow for precise sphericity measurements, for the first time. Hailstones become increasingly nonspherical with increasing maximum dimension, with a typical range of sphericity values of 0.57 to 0.99. These sphericity values were used to estimate the drag coefficient, which was found to have a typical range of 0.5 to over 0.9. Hailstone maximum dimension tends to be 20%–50% larger than the equivalent-volume spherical diameter. As a step toward understanding and quantifying hailstone shapes, this study may aid in better parameterizations of hail in models and remote sensing hail detection and sizing algorithms.

Restricted access
Daniel R. Chavas and Daniel T. Dawson II

Abstract

This work develops a theoretical model for steady thermodynamic and kinematic profiles for severe convective storm environments, building off the two-layer static energy framework developed in work by Agard and Emanuel. The model is phrased in terms of static energy, and it allows for independent variation of the boundary layer and free troposphere separated by a capping inversion. An algorithm is presented to apply the model to generate a sounding for numerical simulations of severe convective storms, and the model is compared and contrasted with that of Weisman and Klemp. The model is then fit to a case-study sounding associated with the 3 May 1999 tornado outbreak, and its potential utility is demonstrated via idealized numerical simulation experiments. A long-lived supercell is successfully simulated with the historical sounding but not the analogous theoretical sounding. Two types of example experiments are then performed that do simulate a long-lived supercell: 1) a semitheoretical experiment in which a portion of the theoretical sounding is modified to match the real sounding (low-level moisture); 2) a fully theoretical experiment in which a model physical parameter is modified (free-tropospheric relative humidity). Overall, the construction of this minimal model is flexible and amenable to additional modifications as needed. The model offers a novel framework that may be useful for testing how severe convective storms depend on the vertical structure of the hydrostatic environment, as well as for linking variability in these environments to the physical processes that produce them within the climate system.

Open access
Satoki Tsujino, Kazuhisa Tsuboki, Hiroyuki Yamada, Tadayasu Ohigashi, Kosuke Ito, and Norio Nagahama

Abstract

Knowledge of the development and maintenance processes of double warm cores in tropical cyclones is important for full understanding of the dynamics of storm intensity changes. During its mature stage, Typhoon Lan (2017) had a clear double warm-core structure, which was observed by dropsondes. In this study, to investigate the intensification and maintenance of the double warm-core structure, a numerical simulation of the storm is performed with a cloud-resolving model and verified by dropsonde and satellite observations. A potential temperature budget and backward trajectories are diagnosed to examine intensification and maintenance processes in the simulated eye. The budget analysis indicates that, during the most rapidly intensifying stage, a double warm core is enhanced by axisymmetric subsidence warming in the eye. In the mature stage, upper-core warming is mostly canceled by ventilation due to vertical wind shear, but the lower core continues to warm by asymmetric advection, possibly associated with dynamical instability in the eyewall. The results raise a topic of interest: it is difficult to fully explain the axisymmetric subsidence warming process during the most rapidly intensifying stage by the dynamical response in an axisymmetric balanced vortex. The back-trajectory analysis indicates that the air mass associated with the subsidence is partly induced by inward acceleration in subgradient regions (unbalanced processes) in the eyewall.

Open access
Haile Xue and Marco A. Giorgetta

Abstract

The diurnally evolving trapped lee wave over a small-scale two-dimensional steep mountain is investigated in large-eddy simulations based on a fully compressible and nonhydrostatic model [Icosahedral Nonhydrostatic (ICON)] with triangular grids of 50-m-edge length. An idealized atmospheric profile derived from a realistic case is designed to account for influences from the stagnant layer near the surface, the stability of the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) and the upper-level jet. First, simulations were done to bridge from the linear regime to the nonlinear regime by increasing the mountain height, which showed that larger-amplitude lee waves with longer wavelength can be produced in the nonlinear regime than in the linear regime. Second, the effects of the stagnant layer near the surface and the ABL stability were explored, which showed that the stagnant layer or the stable ABL can play a similar wave-absorbing role in the nonlinear regime as in linear theories or simulations. Third, the role of the upper-level jet was explored, indicating that a stronger (weaker) upper-level jet can help to produce longer (shorter) lee waves. The stable ABL with a stagnant layer can more (less) efficiently absorb the longer (shorter) lee waves due to the stronger (weaker) jet, so that the wave response is more sensitive to the wave-absorption layer when an upper-level jet is present. Finally, the momentum budget was analyzed to explore the interaction between the upper and lower levels of the troposphere, which showed that the momentum flux due to the upward-propagating waves and trapped waves varies with the upper-level jet strength and low-level stagnancy and ABL stability.

Restricted access
Robert S. Schrom, Marcus van Lier-Walqui, Matthew R. Kumjian, Jerry Y. Harrington, Anders A. Jensen, and Yao-Sheng Chen

Abstract

The potential for polarimetric Doppler radar measurements to improve predictions of ice microphysical processes within an idealized model–observational framework is examined. In an effort to more rigorously constrain ice growth processes (e.g., vapor deposition) with observations of natural clouds, a novel framework is developed to compare simulated and observed radar measurements, coupling a bulk adaptive-habit model of vapor growth to a polarimetric radar forward model. Bayesian inference on key microphysical model parameters is then used, via a Markov chain Monte Carlo sampler, to estimate the probability distribution of the model parameters. The statistical formalism of this method allows for robust estimates of the optimal parameter values, along with (non-Gaussian) estimates of their uncertainty. To demonstrate this framework, observations from Department of Energy radars in the Arctic during a case of pristine ice precipitation are used to constrain vapor deposition parameters in the adaptive habit model. The resulting parameter probability distributions provide physically plausible changes in ice particle density and aspect ratio during growth. A lack of direct constraint on the number concentration produces a range of possible mean particle sizes, with the mean size inversely correlated to number concentration. Consistency is found between the estimated inherent growth ratio and independent laboratory measurements, increasing confidence in the parameter PDFs and demonstrating the effectiveness of the radar measurements in constraining the parameters. The combined Doppler and polarimetric observations produce the highest-confidence estimates of the parameter PDFs, with the Doppler measurements providing a stronger constraint for this case.

Restricted access
Tsz-Kin Lai, Eric A. Hendricks, Konstantinos Menelaou, and M. K. Yau

Abstract

Radar imagery of some double-eyewall tropical cyclones shows that the inner eyewalls became elliptical prior to their dissipation during the eyewall replacement cycles, indicating that the barotropic instability (BI) across the moat (also known as type-2 BI) may play a role. To further examine the physics of inner eyewall decay and outer eyewall intensification under the influence of the type-2 instability, three-dimensional numerical experiments are performed. In the moist full-physics run, the simulated vortex exhibits the type-2 instability and the associated azimuthal wavenumber-2 radial flow pattern. The absolute angular momentum (AAM) budget calculation indicates, after the excitation of the type-2 instability, a significant intensification in the negative radial advection of AAM at the inner eyewall. It is further shown that the changes in radial AAM advection largely result from the eddy processes associated with the type-2 instability and contribute significantly to the inner eyewall decay. The budget calculation also suggests that the type-2 instability can accelerate the inner eyewall decay in concert with the boundary layer cutoff effect. Another dry no-physics idealized experiment is conducted and the result shows that the type-2 instability alone is able to weaken the inner eyewall and also strengthen the outer eyewall with nonnegligible effect.

Restricted access