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Thara Prabhakaran
,
P. Murugavel
,
Mahen Konwar
,
Neelam Malap
,
K. Gayatri
,
Shivsai Dixit
,
Soumya Samanta
,
Subharthi Chowdhuri
,
Sudarsan Bera
,
Mercy Varghese
,
J. Rao
,
J. Sandeep
,
P. D. Safai
,
A. K. Sahai
,
Duncan Axisa
,
A. Karipot
,
Darrel Baumgardner
,
Benjamin Werden
,
Ed Fortner
,
Kurt Hibert
,
Sathy Nair
,
Shivdas Bankar
,
Dinesh Gurnule
,
Kiran Todekar
,
Jerry Jose
,
V. Jayachandran
,
Pawan S. Soyam
,
Abhishek Gupta
,
Harish Choudhary
,
Aravindhavel
,
Suresh Babu Kantipudi
,
P. Pradeepkumar
,
R. Krishnan
,
K. Nandakumar
,
Peter F. DeCarlo
,
Doug Worsnop
,
G. S. Bhat
,
M. Rajeevan
, and
Ravi Nanjundiah

Abstract

The demand for effective methods to augment precipitation over arid regions of India has been increasing over the past several decades as the changing climate brings warmer average temperatures. In the fourth phase of the Cloud Aerosol Interaction and Precipitation Enhancement Experiment (CAIPEEX IV), a scientific investigation was conducted over a rain-shadow region of the Western Ghats mountains in India. The primary objective was to investigate the efficacy of hygroscopic seeding in convective clouds and to develop a cloud seeding protocol. CAIPEEX IV followed the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) recommendations in a peer-reviewed report with physical, statistical, and numerical investigations. The initial results of the campaign in the monsoon period of 2018 and 2019 with two instrumented aircraft, a ground-based dual-polarization C-band radar, a network of rain gauges, radiosondes, and surface aerosol measurements are reported here. The hygroscopic seeding material was detected in cloud droplets and key cloud microphysical processes in the seeding hypothesis were tracked. The formidable challenges of assessing seeding impacts in convective clouds and the results from 150 seed and 122 no-seed samples of randomized experiments are illustrated. Over 5,000 cloud passes from the airborne campaign provided details about the convective cloud properties as the key indicators for a seeding strategy and the evaluation protocol. The experimental results suggest that cloud seeding can be approached scientifically to reduce uncertainty. The results from this study should interest the scientific community and policymakers concerned with climate change’s impact on precipitation and how to mitigate rainfall deficiencies.

Open access
Stefanie Kremser
,
Andrew Charlton-Perez
,
Jadwiga H. Richter
,
Jose Santos
,
Julia Danzer
, and
Stefanie Hölbling

Abstract

As the global research enterprise grapples with the challenge of a low carbon future, a key challenge is the future of international conferences. An emerging initiative which combines elements of the traditional in-person and virtual conference is a multi-hub approach. Here we report on a real-world trial of a multi-hub approach, the World Climate Research Programme/Stratosphere-troposphere Processes And their Role in Climate (WCRP/SPARC) General Assembly held in Qingdao-Reading-Boulder during the last week of October 2022 with more than 400 participants. While there are other examples of conferences run in dual-hub or hybrid online and in-person formats, we are not aware of other large atmospheric science conferences held in this format.

Based on travel surveys of participants, we estimate that the multi-hub approach reduced the carbon footprint from travel by between a factor of 2.3 and 4.1 times the footprint when hosting the conference in a single location. This resulted in a saving of at least 288 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2eq) and perhaps as much as 683 tCO2eq, compared to having the conference in one location only. Feedback from participants, collected immediately after the conference, showed that the majority (85%) would again attend another conference in a similar format. There are many ways that the format of the SPARC General Assembly could have been improved, but this proof-of-concept provides an inspiration to other groups to give the multi-hub format a try.

Open access
Jordan Clark
,
Charles E. Konrad
, and
Andrew Grundstein

Abstract

Heat is the leading cause of weather-related death in the United States. Wet bulb globe temperature (WBGT) is a heat stress index commonly used among active populations for activity modification, such as outdoor workers and athletes. Despite widespread use globally, WBGT forecasts have been uncommon in the United States until recent years. This research assesses the accuracy of WBGT forecasts developed by NOAA’s Southeast Regional Climate Center (SERCC) and the Carolinas Integrated Sciences and Assessments (CISA). It also details efforts to refine the forecast by accounting for the impact of surface roughness on wind using satellite imagery. Comparisons are made between the SERCC/CISA WBGT forecast and a WBGT forecast modeled after NWS methods. Additionally, both of these forecasts are compared with in situ WBGT measurements (during the summers of 2019-2021) and estimates from weather stations to assess forecast accuracy. The SERCC/CISA WBGT forecast was within 0.6°C of observations on average and showed less bias than the forecast based on NWS methods across North Carolina. Importantly, the SERCC/CISA WBGT forecast was more accurate for the most dangerous conditions (WBGT > 31°C), although this resulted in higher false alarms for these extreme conditions compared to the NWS method. In particular, this work improved the forecast for sites more sheltered from wind by better accounting for the influences of land cover on 2-meter wind speed. Accurate forecasts are more challenging for sites with complex microclimates. Thus, appropriate caution is necessary when interpreting forecasts and onsite, real-time WBGT measurements remain critical.

Restricted access
Janice L. Bytheway
,
Elizabeth J. Thompson
,
Jie Yang
, and
Haonan Chen

Abstract

High-resolution oceanic precipitation estimates are needed to increase our understanding of and ability to monitor ocean–atmosphere coupled processes. Satellite multisensor precipitation products such as IMERG provide global precipitation estimates at relatively high resolution (0.1°, 30 min), but the resolution at which IMERG precipitation estimates are considered reliable is coarser than the nominal resolution of the product itself. In this study, we examine the ability of the Rainfall Autoregressive Model (RainFARM) statistical downscaling technique to produce ensembles of precipitation fields at relatively high spatial and temporal resolution when applied to spatially and temporally coarsened precipitation fields from IMERG. The downscaled precipitation ensembles are evaluated against in situ oceanic rain-rate observations collected by passive aquatic listeners (PALs) in 11 different ocean domains. We also evaluate IMERG coarsened to the same resolution as the downscaled fields to determine whether the process of coarsening then downscaling improves precipitation estimates more than averaging IMERG to coarser resolution only. Evaluations were performed on individual months, seasons, by ENSO phase, and based on precipitation characteristics. Results were inconsistent, with downscaling improving precipitation estimates in some domains and time periods and producing worse performance in others. While the results imply that the performance of the downscaled precipitation estimates is related to precipitation characteristics, it is still unclear what characteristics or combinations thereof lead to the most improvement or consistent improvement when applying RainFARM to IMERG.

Restricted access
Jason A. Sippel
,
Sarah D. Ditchek
,
Kelly Ryan
, and
Christopher W. Landsea

Abstract

This study describes both the research-to-operations process leading to a recent change in tropical cyclone (TC) reconnaissance sampling patterns as well as observing-system experiments that evaluated the impact of that change on numerical weather prediction model forecasts of TCs. A valuable part of this effort was having close, multi-pronged connections between the TC research and operational TC prediction communities at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Related to this work, NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) and National Hurricane Center (NHC) have a long history of close collaboration to improve TC reconnaissance. Similar connections between AOML and NOAA’s Environmental Modeling Center (EMC) also laid a foundation for the observing-system experiments conducted here.

More specifically, AOML and NHC collaborated in 2018 to change how NHC uses NOAA’s Gulfstream-IV (G-IV) jet during TC synoptic surveillance missions. That change added a second circumnavigation at approximately 1.5 degrees from TC centers, when possible. Preliminary experiments suggest that the change improved track forecasts, though the intensity results are more mixed. Despite the somewhat small sample size over a three-year period, the track improvement does agree with prior work. This effort has led to additional work to more fully examine G-IV sampling strategies.

Open access
Sam Pennypacker
and
Robert Wood

Abstract

The expansion of the boreal forest poleward is a potentially important driver of feedbacks between the land surface and Arctic climate. A growing body of work has highlighted the importance of differences in evaporative resistance between different possible future Arctic land covers, which in turn alters humidity and cloudiness in the boundary layer, for these feedbacks. While thus far this problem has been studied primarily with complex Earth system models, we turn to a locally focused, idealized model capable of diagnosing and testing the sensitivity of first-order processes connecting vegetation, the atmospheric boundary layer, and low clouds in this critical region. This allows us to benchmark the mechanisms and results at the center of predictions from larger-scale simulations. A surface dominated by broadleaf trees, characterized by higher albedo and lower surface evaporative resistance, drives cooling and moistening of the boundary layer relative to a surface of needleleaf trees, characterized by lower albedo and higher surface evaporative resistance. Differences in evaporative resistance between these hypothetical Arctic vegetation covers are of equal importance to changes in albedo for the initial response of the boundary layer to boreal expansion, even with our idealized approach. However, compensation between the elevation of the lifting condensation level (LCL) and more rapid growth of the mixed layer over higher evaporative resistance surfaces can minimize changes in the favorability of shallow clouds over different land cover types under some conditions. We then perform two tests on the sensitivity of this compensating effect, to changes in water availability, represented first by a reduction in boundary layer humidity and then by both a reduction in humidity and soil moisture available to our vegetation surface. Finally, given the importance of this potential LCL–mixed-layer height compensation in our idealized modeling results, we look to determine its relevance in observational data from a field campaign in boreal Finland. These observations do confirm that such a coupling plays an important role in cumulus-topped boundary layers over a needleleaf forest surface. While our results confirm some underlying mechanisms at the center of prior work with Earth system models, they also provide motivation for future work to constrain the impact of boreal forest expansion. This will include both large eddy simulations to examine the impact of processes and feedbacks not resolved by a mixed-layer model, as well as a more systematic evaluation and comparison of relevant observations at the site in Finland and sites from prior boreal field campaigns.

Significance Statement

Clouds and vegetation are both important components of the climate system that interact across a range of scales. These interactions are central to understanding how changes at the land surface feedback on climate. For example, if a forest expands or recedes, diagnosing how that will impact clouds will determine whether you predict warming or cooling temperatures from that shift in the forest area. These predictions are often made with complex Earth system models, but we look to a more idealized representation of the land–atmosphere system to diagnose how shallow clouds should respond to changes in surface properties with different scenarios of boreal forest expansion at a more foundational level. This both grounds our understanding of previous analysis and provides helpful direction for future studies of this relevant and impactful land cover change.

Restricted access
Giovanni Biagioli
and
Adrian Mark Tompkins

Abstract

Organized systems of deep convective clouds are often associated with high-impact weather and changes in such systems may have implications for climate sensitivity. This has motivated the derivation of many organization indices that attempt to measure the level of deep convective aggregation in models and observations. Here we conduct a comprehensive review of existing methodologies and highlight some of their drawbacks, such as only measuring organization in a relative sense, being biased toward particular spatial scales, or being very sensitive to the details of the calculation algorithm. One widely used metric, I org, uses statistics of nearest-neighbor distances between convective storms to address the first of these concerns, but we show here that it is insensitive to organization beyond the meso-β scale and very contingent on the details of the implementation. We thus introduce a new and complementary metric, L org, based on all-pair convective storm distances, which is also an absolute metric that can discern regular, random, and clustered cloud scenes. It is linearly sensitive to spatial scale in most applications and robust to the implementation methodology. We also derive a discrete form suited to gridded data and provide corrections to account for cyclic boundary conditions and finite, open boundary domains of nonequal aspect ratios. We demonstrate the use of the metric with idealized synthetic configurations, as well as model output and satellite rainfall retrievals in the tropics. We claim that this new metric usefully supplements the existing family of indices that can help to understand convective organization across spatial scales.

Significance Statement

The clustering and organization of convection is associated with high-impact weather and changes could impact climate sensitivity, but no consensus exists on how to best measure organization. Here we suggest a new metric that is robust to the calculation details and can classify scenes as random, clustered, or regular. This new metric can therefore account for spacing of organized convective systems and convective storms on scales spanning tens of kilometers to the entire tropics. We suggest that the new metric L org addresses many shortcomings of existing measures and can act as a useful additional tool to further understanding of convective organization.

Restricted access
Michael A. Spall
,
Stefanie Semper
, and
Kjetil Våge

Abstract

The mechanisms that control the export of freshwater from the East Greenland Current, in both liquid and solid form, are explored using an idealized numerical model and scaling theory. A regional, coupled ocean/sea ice model is applied to a series of calculations in which key parameters are varied and the scaling theory is used to interpret the model results. The offshore ice flux, occurring in late winter, is driven primarily by internal stresses and is most sensitive to the thickness of sea ice on the shelf coming out of Fram Strait and the strength of along-shore winds over the shelf. The offshore liquid freshwater flux is achieved by eddy fluxes in late summer while there is an onshore liquid freshwater flux in winter due to the ice-ocean stress, resulting in only weak annual mean flux. The scaling theory identifies the key nondimensional parameters that control the behavior and reproduces the general parameter dependence found in the numerical model. Climate models predict that winds will increase and ice export from the Arctic will decrease in the future, both of which will lead to a decrease in the offshore flux of sea ice, while the influence on liquid freshwater may increase or decrease, depending on the relative changes in the onshore Ekman transport and offshore eddy fluxes. Additional processes that have not been considered here, such as more complex topography and synoptic wind events, may also contribute to cross shelf exchange.

Restricted access
Fabian Hoffmann
,
Franziska Glassmeier
,
Takanobu Yamaguchi
, and
Graham Feingold

Abstract

Stratocumulus occur in closed- or open-cell states, which tend to be associated with high or low cloud cover and the absence or presence of precipitation, respectively. Thus, the transition between these states has substantial implications for the role of this cloud type in Earth’s radiation budget. In this study, we analyze transitions between these states using an ensemble of 127 large-eddy simulations, covering a wide range of conditions. Our analysis is focused on the behavior of these clouds in a cloud fraction (fc ) scene albedo (A) phase space, which has been shown in previous studies to be a useful framework for interpreting system behavior. For the transition from closed to open cells, we find that precipitation creates narrower clouds and scavenges cloud droplets for all fc . However, precipitation decreases the cloud depth for fc > 0.8 only, causing a rapid decrease in A. For fc < 0.8, the cloud depth actually increases due to mesoscale organization of the cloud field. As the cloud deepening balances the effects of cloud droplet scavenging in terms of influence on A, changes in A are determined by the decreasing fc only, causing a linear decrease in A for fc < 0.8. For the transition from open to closed cells, we find that longwave radiative cooling drives the cloud development, with cloud widening dominating for fc < 0.5. For fc > 0.5, clouds begin to deepen gradually due to the decreasing efficiency of lateral expansion. The smooth switch between cloud widening and deepening leads to a more gentle change in A compared to the transitions under precipitating conditions.

Significance Statement

By reflecting a substantial fraction of solar shortwave radiation back to space, shallow clouds constitute a major cooling agent in Earth’s radiation budget. To constrain this effect, a profound understanding of cloud cover and cloud albedo is necessary. In this study, we analyze the processes that drive the variability in these cloud properties in stratocumulus clouds, a very common cloud type covering approximately 20% of the globe. For these clouds, we show that changes from low to high or high to low cloud cover are different due to the underlying cloud micro- and macrophysics, elucidating this crucial aspect of aerosol–cloud–climate interactions.

Open access
Peter E. Goble
and
Russ S. Schumacher

Abstract

Annual spring and summer runoff from western Colorado is relied upon by 40 million people, six states, and two countries. Cool season precipitation and snowpack have historically been robust predictors of seasonal runoff in western Colorado. Forecasts made with this information allow water managers to plan for the season ahead. Antecedent hydrological conditions, such as root zone soil moisture and groundwater storage, and weather conditions following peak snowpack also impact seasonal runoff. The roles of such factors were scrutinized in 2020 and 2021: seasonal runoff was much lower than expectations based on snowpack values alone. We investigate the relative importance of meteorological and hydrological conditions occurring before and after the snowpack season in predicting seasonal runoff in western Colorado. This question is critical because the most effective investment strategy for improving forecasts depends on if errors arise before or after the snowpack season. This study is conducted using observations from the Snow Telemetry Network, root zone soil moisture and groundwater data from the Western Land Data Assimilation Systems, and a random forest–based statistical forecasting framework. We find that on average, antecedent root zone soil moisture and groundwater storage values do not add significant skill to seasonal water supply forecasts in western Colorado. In contrast, using precipitation and temperature data after the time of peak snowpack improves water supply forecasts significantly. The 2020 and 2021 runoffs were hampered by dry conditions both before and after the snowpack season. Both antecedent soil moisture and spring/summer precipitation data improved water supply forecast accuracy in these years.

Significance Statement

Seasonal water supply forecasts in western Colorado are highly valuable because spring and summer runoff from this region helps support the water supply of 40 million people. Accurate forecasts improve the management of the region’s water. Heavy investments have been made in improving our ability to monitor antecedent hydrological conditions in western Colorado, such as root zone soil moisture and groundwater. However, results from this study indicate that the largest source of uncertainty in western Colorado runoff forecasts is future weather. Therefore, improved subseasonal-to-seasonal weather forecasts for western Colorado are what is most needed to improve regional water supply forecasts, and the ability to properly manage western Colorado water.

Open access