Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications version 2 (MERRA-2)


NASA’s Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications, version 2 (MERRA-2), is an atmospheric reanalysis designed to provide an intermediate dataset and bridge between the first MERRA reanalysis and the project’s long-term goal of producing a coupled Earth system reanalysis. MERRA-2 incorporates system changes and fundamental developments in modeling and data assimilation, including 1) assimilation of aerosol observations that can interact with atmospheric radiative processes; 2) constraining mass conservation even with the analysis of water vapor, allowing a global balance between evaporation and precipitation; 3) use of a cube sphere to reduce the effect of gridpoint singularities at the pole, allowing for improved polar circulation; 4) an updated radiative transfer model to permit the assimilation of data from many more instruments than could have been included in MERRA; and 5) inclusion of new observational forcing for the land model to provide more stable land feedback processes. This special collection documents the performance of MERRA-2 and addresses key research questions in large-scale climate and weather.

An overview article of the MERRA-2 project can be found here.

Collection organizer:
Dr. Michael G. Bosilovich, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Modern-Era Retrospective analysis for Research and Applications version 2 (MERRA-2)

You are looking at 1 - 1 of 1 items for :

  • Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology x
  • All content x
Clear All
Natalie P. Thomas, Michael G. Bosilovich, Allison B. Marquardt Collow, Randal D. Koster, Siegfried D. Schubert, Amin Dezfuli, and Sarith P. Mahanama


Heat waves are extreme climate events that have the potential to cause immense stress on human health, agriculture, and energy systems, so understanding the processes leading to their onset is crucial. There is no single accepted definition for heat waves, but they are generally described as a sustained amount of time over which temperature exceeds a local threshold. Multiple different temperature variables are potentially relevant, because high values of both daily maximum and minimum temperatures can be detrimental to human health. In this study, we focus explicitly on the different mechanisms associated with summertime heat waves manifested during daytime hours versus nighttime hours over the contiguous United States. Heat waves are examined using the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications, version 2 (MERRA-2). Over 1980–2018, the increase in the number of heat-wave days per summer was generally stronger for nighttime heat-wave days than for daytime heat-wave days, with localized regions of significant positive trends. Processes linked with daytime and nighttime heat waves are identified through composite analysis of precipitation, soil moisture, clouds, humidity, and fluxes of heat and moisture. Daytime heat waves are associated with dry conditions, reduced cloud cover, and increased sensible heating. Mechanisms leading to nighttime heat waves differ regionally across the United States, but they are typically associated with increased clouds, humidity, and/or low-level temperature advection. In the midwestern United States, enhanced moisture is transported from the Gulf of Mexico during nighttime heat waves.

Restricted access