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Stephen A. Cohn
,
Terry Hock
,
Philippe Cocquerez
,
Junhong Wang
,
Florence Rabier
,
David Parsons
,
Patrick Harr
,
Chun-Chieh Wu
,
Philippe Drobinski
,
Fatima Karbou
,
Stéphanie Vénel
,
André Vargas
,
Nadia Fourrié
,
Nathalie Saint-Ramond
,
Vincent Guidard
,
Alexis Doerenbecher
,
Huang-Hsiung Hsu
,
Po-Hsiung Lin
,
Ming-Dah Chou
,
Jean-Luc Redelsperger
,
Charlie Martin
,
Jack Fox
,
Nick Potts
,
Kathryn Young
, and
Hal Cole

Constellations of driftsonde systems— gondolas floating in the stratosphere and able to release dropsondes upon command— have so far been used in three major field experiments from 2006 through 2010. With them, high-quality, high-resolution, in situ atmospheric profiles were made over extended periods in regions that are otherwise very difficult to observe. The measurements have unique value for verifying and evaluating numerical weather prediction models and global data assimilation systems; they can be a valuable resource to validate data from remote sensing instruments, especially on satellites, but also airborne or ground-based remote sensors. These applications for models and remote sensors result in a powerful combination for improving data assimilation systems. Driftsondes also can support process studies in otherwise difficult locations—for example, to study factors that control the development or decay of a tropical disturbance, or to investigate the lower boundary layer over the interior Antarctic continent. The driftsonde system is now a mature and robust observing system that can be combined with flight-level data to conduct multidisciplinary research at heights well above that reached by current research aircraft. In this article we describe the development and capabilities of the driftsonde system, the exemplary science resulting from its use to date, and some future applications.

Full access
Gilbert Brunet
,
David B. Parsons
,
Dimitar Ivanov
,
Boram Lee
,
Peter Bauer
,
Natacha B. Bernier
,
Veronique Bouchet
,
Andy Brown
,
Antonio Busalacchi
,
Georgina Campbell Flatter
,
Rei Goffer
,
Paul Davies
,
Beth Ebert
,
Karl Gutbrod
,
Songyou Hong
,
P. K. Kenabatho
,
Hans-Joachim Koppert
,
David Lesolle
,
Amanda H. Lynch
,
Jean-François Mahfouf
,
Laban Ogallo
,
Tim Palmer
,
Kevin Petty
,
Dennis Schulze
,
Theodore G. Shepherd
,
Thomas F. Stocker
,
Alan Thorpe
, and
Rucong Yu

Abstract

Our world is rapidly changing. Societies are facing an increase in the frequency and intensity of high-impact and extreme weather and climate events. These extremes together with exponential population growth and demographic shifts (e.g., urbanization, increase in coastal populations) are increasing the detrimental societal and economic impact of hazardous weather and climate events. Urbanization and our changing global economy have also increased the need for accurate projections of climate change and improved predictions of disruptive and potentially beneficial weather events on kilometer scales. Technological innovations are also leading to an evolving and growing role of the private sector in the weather and climate enterprise. This article discusses the challenges faced in accelerating advances in weather and climate forecasting and proposes a vision for key actions needed across the private, public, and academic sectors. Actions span (i) utilizing the new observational and computing ecosystems; (ii) strategies to advance Earth system models; (iii) ways to benefit from the growing role of artificial intelligence; (iv) practices to improve the communication of forecast information and decision support in our age of internet and social media; and (v) addressing the need to reduce the relatively large, detrimental impacts of weather and climate on all nations and especially on low-income nations. These actions will be based on a model of improved cooperation between the public, private, and academic sectors. This article represents a concise summary of the white paper on the Future of Weather and Climate Forecasting (2021) put together by the World Meteorological Organizations’ Open Consultative Platform.

Open access
Florence Rabier
,
Steve Cohn
,
Philippe Cocquerez
,
Albert Hertzog
,
Linnea Avallone
,
Terry Deshler
,
Jennifer Haase
,
Terry Hock
,
Alexis Doerenbecher
,
Junhong Wang
,
Vincent Guidard
,
Jean-Noël Thépaut
,
Rolf Langland
,
Andrew Tangborn
,
Gianpaolo Balsamo
,
Eric Brun
,
David Parsons
,
Jérôme Bordereau
,
Carla Cardinali
,
François Danis
,
Jean-Pierre Escarnot
,
Nadia Fourrié
,
Ron Gelaro
,
Christophe Genthon
,
Kayo Ide
,
Lars Kalnajs
,
Charlie Martin
,
Louis-François Meunier
,
Jean-Marc Nicot
,
Tuuli Perttula
,
Nicholas Potts
,
Patrick Ragazzo
,
David Richardson
,
Sergio Sosa-Sesma
, and
André Vargas
Full access
Bart Geerts
,
David Parsons
,
Conrad L. Ziegler
,
Tammy M. Weckwerth
,
Michael I. Biggerstaff
,
Richard D. Clark
,
Michael C. Coniglio
,
Belay B. Demoz
,
Richard A. Ferrare
,
William A. Gallus Jr.
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Kevin Haghi
,
John M. Hanesiak
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Petra M. Klein
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Kevin R. Knupp
,
Karen Kosiba
,
Greg M. McFarquhar
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James A. Moore
,
Amin R. Nehrir
,
Matthew D. Parker
,
James O. Pinto
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Robert M. Rauber
,
Russ S. Schumacher
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David D. Turner
,
Qing Wang
,
Xuguang Wang
,
Zhien Wang
, and
Joshua Wurman

Abstract

The central Great Plains region in North America has a nocturnal maximum in warm-season precipitation. Much of this precipitation comes from organized mesoscale convective systems (MCSs). This nocturnal maximum is counterintuitive in the sense that convective activity over the Great Plains is out of phase with the local generation of CAPE by solar heating of the surface. The lower troposphere in this nocturnal environment is typically characterized by a low-level jet (LLJ) just above a stable boundary layer (SBL), and convective available potential energy (CAPE) values that peak above the SBL, resulting in convection that may be elevated, with source air decoupled from the surface. Nocturnal MCS-induced cold pools often trigger undular bores and solitary waves within the SBL. A full understanding of the nocturnal precipitation maximum remains elusive, although it appears that bore-induced lifting and the LLJ may be instrumental to convection initiation and the maintenance of MCSs at night.

To gain insight into nocturnal MCSs, their essential ingredients, and paths toward improving the relatively poor predictive skill of nocturnal convection in weather and climate models, a large, multiagency field campaign called Plains Elevated Convection At Night (PECAN) was conducted in 2015. PECAN employed three research aircraft, an unprecedented coordinated array of nine mobile scanning radars, a fixed S-band radar, a unique mesoscale network of lower-tropospheric profiling systems called the PECAN Integrated Sounding Array (PISA), and numerous mobile-mesonet surface weather stations. The rich PECAN dataset is expected to improve our understanding and prediction of continental nocturnal warm-season precipitation. This article provides a summary of the PECAN field experiment and preliminary findings.

Full access
Florence Rabier
,
Aurélie Bouchard
,
Eric Brun
,
Alexis Doerenbecher
,
Stéphanie Guedj
,
Vincent Guidard
,
Fatima Karbou
,
Vincent-Henri Peuch
,
Laaziz El Amraoui
,
Dominique Puech
,
Christophe Genthon
,
Ghislain Picard
,
Michael Town
,
Albert Hertzog
,
François Vial
,
Philippe Cocquerez
,
Stephen A. Cohn
,
Terry Hock
,
Jack Fox
,
Hal Cole
,
David Parsons
,
Jordan Powers
,
Keith Romberg
,
Joseph VanAndel
,
Terry Deshler
,
Jennifer Mercer
,
Jennifer S. Haase
,
Linnea Avallone
,
Lars Kalnajs
,
C. Roberto Mechoso
,
Andrew Tangborn
,
Andrea Pellegrini
,
Yves Frenot
,
Jean-Noël Thépaut
,
Anthony McNally
,
Gianpaolo Balsamo
, and
Peter Steinle

The Concordiasi project is making innovative observations of the atmosphere above Antarctica. The most important goals of the Concordiasi are as follows:

  • To enhance the accuracy of weather prediction and climate records in Antarctica through the assimilation of in situ and satellite data, with an emphasis on data provided by hyperspectral infrared sounders. The focus is on clouds, precipitation, and the mass budget of the ice sheets. The improvements in dynamical model analyses and forecasts will be used in chemical-transport models that describe the links between the polar vortex dynamics and ozone depletion, and to advance the under understanding of the Earth system by examining the interactions between Antarctica and lower latitudes.

  • To improve our understanding of microphysical and dynamical processes controlling the polar ozone, by providing the first quasi-Lagrangian observations of stratospheric ozone and particles, in addition to an improved characterization of the 3D polar vortex dynamics. Techniques for assimilating these Lagrangian observations are being developed.

A major Concordiasi component is a field experiment during the austral springs of 2008–10. The field activities in 2010 are based on a constellation of up to 18 long-duration stratospheric super-pressure balloons (SPBs) deployed from the McMurdo station. Six of these balloons will carry GPS receivers and in situ instruments measuring temperature, pressure, ozone, and particles. Twelve of the balloons will release dropsondes on demand for measuring atmospheric parameters. Lastly, radiosounding measurements are collected at various sites, including the Concordia station.

Full access