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R. Meneghini, K. Nakamura, C. W. Ulbrich, and D. Atlas

Abstract

For a spaceborne meteorological radar, the use of frequencies above 10 GHz may be necessary to attain sufficient spatial resolution. As the frequency increases, however, attenuation by rain becomes significant. To extend the range of rain rates that can be accurately estimated, methods other than the conventional Z-R, or backscattering method, are needed. In this paper, tests are made of two attenuation-based methods using data from a dual-wavelength airborne radar operating at 3 cm and 0.87 cm. For the conventional dual-wavelength method, the differential attenuation is estimated from the relative decrease in the signal level with range. For the surface reference method, the attenuation is determined from the difference of surface return powers measured in the absence and the presence of rain. For purposes of comparison, and as an indication of the relative accuracies of the techniques, the backscattering, (Z-R), method, as applied to the 3 cm data, is employed. As the primary sources of error for the Z-R, dual-wavelength, and surface reference methods are nearly independent, some confidence in the results is warranted when thew methods yield similar rain rates. Cases of good agreement occur most often in stratiform rain for rain rates between a few mm h−1 to about 15 mm h−1; that is, where attenuation at the shorter wavelength is significant but not so severe as to result in a loss of signal. When the estimates disagree, it is sometimes possible to identify the likely error source by an examination of the return power profiles and a knowledge of the error sources.

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L. P. Riishøjgaard, R. Atlas, and G. D. Emmitt

Abstract

Through the use of observation operators, modern data assimilation systems have the capability to ingest observations of quantities that are not themselves model variables but are mathematically related to those variables. An example of this is the so-called line-of-sight (LOS) winds that a spaceborne Doppler wind lidar (DWL) instrument would provide. The model or data assimilation system ideally would need information about both components of the horizontal wind vectors, whereas the observations in this case would provide only the projection of the wind vector onto a given direction. The estimated or analyzed value is then calculated essentially as a weighted average of the observation itself and the model-simulated value of the observed quantity. To assess the expected impact of a DWL, it is important to examine the extent to which a meteorological analysis can be constrained by the LOS winds. The answer to this question depends on the fundamental character of the atmospheric flow fields that are analyzed, but, just as important, it also depends on the real and assumed error covariance characteristics of these fields. A single-level wind analysis system designed to explore these issues has been built at the NASA Data Assimilation Office. In this system, simulated wind observations can be evaluated in terms of their impact on the analysis quality under various assumptions about their spatial distribution and error characteristics and about the error covariance of the background fields. The basic design of the system and experimental results obtained with it are presented. The experiments were designed to illustrate how such a system may be used in the instrument concept definition phase.

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Lars P. Riishøjgaard, Robert Atlas, and George D. Emmitt
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D. Atlas, J. I. Metcalf, J. H. Richter, and E. E. Gossard

Abstract

No abstract available.

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G. R. Gray, R. J. Serafin, D. Atlas, R. E. Rinehart, and J. J. Boyajian

Color enhancement of images has become a powerful tool in rapid evaluation of grey-scale information. Recent advances in semiconductor technology have made possible the construction of an inexpensive digital real-time color-enhanced (or false-color) display for meteorological radar information such as reflectivity and Doppler velocities. Variable magnification allows detailed analysis of selected areas of the radar coverage.

The display was interfaced to a Doppler/reflectivity processor on the NHRE S-band radar at Grover, Colorado, during the 1974 hail season. A preliminary meteorological analysis of the Doppler color displays of the storm of 7 August 1974 demonstrates a large variety of significant features which may be observed either in real-time or subsequently. These include the regions of convergence and vorticity, major inflow and outflow regions, and turbulence. Most importantly, it is shown that the updraft cores can be identified with the easterly-momentum air which has been transported upward with the drafts from the lower levels. In view of the slow eastward motion of the storm system, the very large Doppler components found at the leading edge of the higher-level echo pattern also indicate rapid evaporation of the particles as they move out into the clear, dry environmental air. It is the resulting evaporative cooling which is responsible for the downdrafts in this vicinity. Among the many real-time applications of the color Doppler display, perhaps the most important in the artificial modification of convective storms is the location of the major inflow and updraft regions. These determine where seeding should be focused. The use of the color display also permits the ready discrimination of storm echoes from ground clutter in which they are frequently obscured. Its applicability to the detection of tornado cyclones and hurricane velocity mapping is also self-evident.

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D. Atlas, J. I. Metcalf, J. H. Richter, and E. E. Gossard

Abstract

Ultra-high resolution (2m) radar observations show the amplification of unstable Kelvin-Helmholtz (KH) waves, the development of roll vortices, their breaking and the resulting turbulence, and appear to represent our first view of the life cycle of clear air turbulence. The KH waves are initiated at the base of an inversion at which the Richardson number, Ri, is slightly positive just prior to wave action, and above which Ri≫0. Accordingly, only a small enhancement of the wind shear at the interface will reduce Ri to the critical value (0–0.25) required to trigger KH waves. The KH waves also trigger stable waves in the dynamically stable stratum immediately above. Quantitative measurements indicate reflectivities typically 10 times greater, and occasionally 300 times greater, than the previously recorded maximum, but in strata of only a few meters vertical extent. Large-volume averaging by the prior low-resolution radars accounts largely for the discrepancy. The thinness of some of the scatter layers and the smoothness of the reflectivity contours precludes turbulent eddies exceeding a few meters, but the high reflectivities require major centimetric scale perturbations in refractivity. Direct measurements of microscale perturbations of the required magnitude by Lane, though rare, support the deductions. The origin of this microscale turbulence, especially in layers of large dynamic stability, is a mystery deserving attention. The intermittency of the KH wave activity and the undulations of the layer of large refractivity variance explain the previously reported patchiness of turbulence in and near stable strata, but raise serious questions as to the validity of long-path (duration) measurements of turbulence spectra. Both the form and intensity of the turbulence spectrum are also strongly dependent on height and the “age” of CAT.

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Y. C. Sud, D. M. Mocko, K-M. Lau, and R. Atlas

Abstract

Past studies have suggested that the drought of the summer of 1988 over the midwestern United States may have been caused by sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies, an evolving stationary circulation, a soil-moisture feedback on circulation and rainfall, or even by remote forcings. The relative importance of various contributing factors is investigated in this paper through the use of Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS) GCM simulations. Seven different experiments, each containing an ensemble of four simulations, were conducted with the GCM. For each experiment, the GCM was integrated through the summers of 1987 and 1988 starting from an analyzed atmosphere in early January of each year. In the baseline case, only the SST anomalies and climatological vegetation parameters were prescribed, while everything else (such as soil moisture, snow cover, and clouds) was interactive. The precipitation differences (1988 minus 1987) show that the GCM was successful in simulating reduced precipitation in 1988, but the accompanying low-level circulation anomalies in the Midwest were not well simulated. To isolate the influence of the model’s climate drift, analyzed winds and analyzed soil moisture were prescribed globally as continuous updates (in isolation or jointly). The results show that remotely advected wind biases (emanating from potential errors in the model’s dynamics and physics) are the primary cause of circulation biases over North America. Inclusion of soil moisture helps to improve the simulation as well as to reaffirm the strong feedback between soil moisture and precipitation. In a case with both updated winds and soil moisture, the model produces more realistic evapotranspiration and precipitation differences. An additional case also used soil moisture and winds updates, but only outside North America. Its simulation is very similar to that of the case with globally updated winds and soil moisture, which suggests that North American simulation errors originate largely outside the region. Two additional cases examining the influence of vegetation were built on this case using correct and opposite-year vegetation. The model did not produce a discernible improvement in response to vegetation for the drought year. One may conclude that the soil moisture governs the outcome of the land–atmosphere feedback interaction far more than the vegetation parameters. A primary inference of this study is that even though SSTs have some influence on the drought, model biases strongly influence the prediction errors. It must be emphasized that the results from this study are dependent upon the GEOS model’s identified errors and biases, and that the conclusions do not necessarily apply to results from other models.

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R. E. Carbone, D. Atlas, P. Eccles, R. Fetter, and E. Mueller

Results of the first real-time dual wavelength radar hail detection are given. The fundamental theoretical basis for detection is briefly discussed and preliminary qualitative conclusions are drawn as to the physical significance of the measurements. The results show that hail signatures gradually become more likely in regions of increasing reflectivity. The data support the concept of water storage in severe convective storms, but suggest that such regions are not necessarily accompanied by the growth of large hail.

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A. L. Conaty, J. C. Jusem, L. Takacs, D. Keyser, and R. Atlas

The realism of extratropical cyclones, fronts, jet streams, and the tropopause in the Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS) general circulation model (GCM), implemented in assimilation and simulation modes, is evaluated from climatological and case-study perspectives using the GEOS-1 reanalysis climatology and applicable conceptual models as benchmarks for comparison. The latitude-longitude grid spacing of the datasets derived from the GEOS GCM ranges from 2° × 2.5° to 0.5° × 0.5°. Frontal systems in the higher-resolution datasets are characterized by horizontal potential temperature gradients that are narrower in scale and larger in magnitude than their lower-resolution counterparts, and various structural features in the Shapiro–Keyser cyclone model are replicated with reasonable fidelity at 1° × 1° resolution. The remainder of the evaluation focuses on a 3-month Northern Hemisphere winter simulation of the GEOS GCM at 1° × 1° resolution. The simulation realistically reproduces various large-scale circulation features related to the North Pacific and Atlantic jet streams when compared with the GEOS-1 reanalysis climatology, and conforms closely to a conceptualization of the zonally averaged troposphere and stratosphere proposed originally by Napier Shaw and revised by Hoskins. An extratropical cyclone that developed over the North Atlantic Ocean in the simulation features surface and tropopause evolutions corresponding to the Norwegian cyclone model and to the LC2 life cycle proposed by Thorncroft et al., respectively. These evolutions are related to the position of the developing cyclone with respect to upper-level jets identified in the time-mean and instantaneous flow fields. This article concludes with the enumeration of several research opportunities that may be addressed through the use of state-of-the-art GCMs possessing sufficient resolution to represent mesoscale phenomena and processes explicitly.

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EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE, D. S. Johnson, D. Atlas, W. W. Kellogg, F. G. Shuman, W. H. Best, P. D. McTaggart-Cowan, K. C. Spengler, and D. F. Landrigan
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