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  • Author or Editor: Donald P. Wylie x
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David O'C. Starr
and
Donald P. Wylie

Abstract

Detailed descriptions of the rawinsonde-resolved meteorological conditions (3-hourly soundings) associated with a succession of five distinct mesoscale cirrus cloud regimes, which were observed intensely over a 36-hour period, is given. The synoptic scale systems in which these features were embedded are described and a brief overview of the experiment are given. Regional analyses of the static stability structure and vertical motion are presented and interpreted with respect to the characteristics of the corresponding cloud fields as deduced from satellite and lidar observations. The cloud fields exhibited a high degree of persistent mesoscale organization on scales of 20–500 km reflecting corresponding scales of dynamic and thermodynamic structure/variability as on the synoptic scale. Cloud generation was usually confined to layers less than 1 km deep (typically 0.5 km in depth) and cellular organization was evident in most cases irrespective of the thermal stratification. Multilayered development was prevalent (2–3 layers) and was associated with vertical structure of the temperature and moisture fields resulting primarily from vertical gradients in horizontal advection. One convective generation layer was usually present. Destabilization resulted primarily from advective processes that also led to the formation of a transient stable layer above and/or below the convective layer. Though resembling elevated frontal surfaces, the stable layers were not extensions of surface features. Cloud processes, primarily ice particle fall-out and evaporation, but also including cloud top detrainment, contributed to generating the multilayered structure. Two cases of clouds spawned from an overlying cloud deck were seen where one involved natural seeding of an ice-saturated and conditionally unstable layer in which vigorous convective development was subsequently observed. Subvisual cirrus in the lower stratosphere were found to be associated with prior tropopause features (upwind) where denser cirrus existed. Inferences are drawn with respect to the parameterization of cirrus in large-scale models. In particular, vertical resolution on the order of 0.5 km will probably be required to adequately resolve the forcing required for implementation of a physically-based parameterization. Greater understanding of the nature and causes of the observed mesoscale structure is also needed.

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Donald P. Wylie
,
Barry B. Hinton
, and
Kellie M. Millett

Abstract

The feasibility of using satellites for providing surface winds or wind stress data was explored. Three popular methods were compared using nearly colocated data to assess the accuracies of each and the coverage that each could provide. The three methods tested were 1) the use of the sun glitter reflection seen on visible images of the ocean surface; 2) the use of active microwave sensors (flown on SEASAT) which reflect microwaves off the ocean surface; and 3) the use of cloud motions as indicators of the surface winds.

Close agreement in wind speed estimates was found among the three methods. The biases were <0.6 m s−1 for comparisons between comparable methods of estimating surface winds (1 and 2). Cloud motion comparisons to the other methods exhibited biases of <3.0 m s−1. Individual point-by-point comparisons between wind measurements had an average scatter of 2.0 m s−1 (rms) or less after the mean biases were removed. Atmospheric variability caused as many of the differences as the instrumental errors indicating that meaningful wind information could be obtained from all three methods.

Very detailed spacial coverage was obtained with the sun-glitter method for wind speeds. However, the coverage was restricted to a narrow band 5° of latitude wide in the tropics. SEASAT also provided good coverage for two swaths (4° longitude wide) on each side of the satellite's orbit. Gaps between the swaths and orbits (polar non-synchronous orbits) were left unsampled. Both methods required external data on the wind directions which were obtained from cloud motions. The cloud motions provided coverage over larger areas than the other two methods because of the abundance of low-level cumuli.

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Donald P. Wylie
,
David Santek
, and
David O’C. Starr

Abstract

Operational satellite data from GOES-8 and GOES-9 were used to make stereoscopic measurements of cloud heights during the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Subsonic Aircraft: Contrail and Cloud Effects Special Study program. The stereoscopic data were used to differentiate between boundary layer wave clouds and cirrus in the mid- and upper troposphere. This separation was difficult to evaluate from radiometric data alone. Stereographic cloud height analysis provided a definitive result. The technique used for calculating cloud heights is described. GOES-8 and -9 data were better suited for stereoscopic measurements than data from previous satellites.

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Donald P. Wylie
,
Barry B. Hinton
, and
Kellie M. Millett

Abstract

Statistics on boundary layer vertical wind shear were gathered from rawinsonde soundings taken from three small islands and one weather ship. These soundings show a high correlation between surface and 1829 m altitude wind directions. Wind speeds also were vertically correlated except at one tropical station where the winds were light. The directional results suggest that cloud motions could be used with instruments which measure only scalar surface wind speed (such as radar altimeters or microwave radiometers) to infer vector direction and sea surface stress.

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Donald Wylie
,
Edwin Eloranta
,
James D. Spinhirne
, and
Steven P. Palm

Abstract

The cloud dataset from the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) lidar on the Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) spacecraft is compared to the cloud analysis of the Wisconsin NOAA High Resolution Infrared Radiation Sounder (HIRS) Pathfinder. This is the first global lidar dataset from a spacecraft of extended duration that can be compared to the HIRS climatology. It provides an excellent source of cloud information because it is more sensitive to clouds that are difficult to detect, namely, thin cirrus and small boundary layer clouds. The second GLAS data collection period from 1 October to 16 November 2003 was used for this comparison, and a companion dataset of the same days were analyzed with HIRS. GLAS reported cloud cover of 0.70 while HIRS reported slightly higher cloud cover of 0.75 for this period. The locations where HIRS overreported cloud cover were mainly in the Arctic and Antarctic Oceans and parts of the Tropics.

GLAS also confirms that upper-tropospheric clouds (above 6.6 km) cover about 0.33 of the earth, similar to the reports from HIRS data. Generally, the altitude of the cloud tops reported by GLAS is, on average, higher than HIRS by 0.4 to 4.5 km. The largest differences were found in the Tropics, over 4 km, while in midlatitudes average differences ranged from 0.4 to 2 km. Part of this difference in averaged cloud heights comes from GLAS finding more high cloud coverage in the Tropics, 5% on average but >13% in some areas, which weights its cloud top average more toward the high clouds than the HIRS. The diffuse character of the upper parts of high clouds over tropical oceans is also a cause for the difference in reported cloud heights.

Statistics on cloud sizes also were computed from GLAS data to estimate the errors in cloud cover reported by HIRS from its 20-km field-of-view (FOV) size. Smaller clouds are very common with one-half of all clouds being <41 km in horizontal size. But, clouds <41 km cover only 5% of the earth. Cloud coverage is dominated by larger clouds with one-half of the coverage coming from clouds >1000 km. GLAS cloud size statistics also show that HIRS possibly overreports some cloud forms by 2%–3%. Looking at groups of GLAS data 21 km long to simulate the HIRS FOV, the authors found that ∼5% are partially filled with cloud. Since HIRS does not account for the part of the FOV without cloud, it will overreport the coverage of these clouds. However, low-altitude and optically thin clouds will not be reported by HIRS if they are so small that they do not affect the upwelling radiation in the HIRS FOV enough to trigger the threshold for cloud detection. These errors are partially offing.

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Donald P. Wylie
,
Barry B. Hinton
,
Michael R. Howland
, and
Raymond J. Lord

Abstract

Autocorrelation and variance statistics were calculated for seven types of wind data in the western hemispheric tropics. Most of these data came from the Global Weather Experiment (GWE) in January 1979. They were: 1) cloud motion measurements from four different sources, 2) rawinsonde wind reports, 3) synoptic land station reports, 4) marine ship reports, 5) aircraft pilot reports, 6) automatic aircraft reports for the GWE, and 7) Seasat scatterometer winds from September 1978. Winds were analyzed within a target area from 30°N to 30°S latitude and 0° to 180°W longitude.

The Seasat scatterometer data had the highest autocorrelations and lowest standard deviations over short distances (<500 km). Cloud motions and rawinsondes had lower autocorrelations than Seasat, while synoptic land stations, ship reports, and aircraft pilot reports had the poorest autocorrelations. These correlations imply that synoptic land stations, ship reports, and aircraft reports were either more sensitive to small‐scale fluctuations than other sensors, or had higher intrinsic noise levels. Structure function plots of autocovariances against separation distance between observations indicated that Seasat was most sensitive to wind field structure by having low autovariance at short distances (100 km) that also grew with distance. The other structure function plots for low‐level wind observations indicated a lack of structure sensitivity to scalar wind speeds because of very small growth rates of the autocovariances with distance. However, all observations were sensitive to structure in the wind direction patterns.

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Donald P. Wylie
,
W. Paul Menzel
,
Harold M. Woolf
, and
Kathleen I. Strabala

Abstract

Trends in global upper-tropospheric transmissive cirrus cloud cover are beginning to emerge from a four-year cloud climatology using NOAA polar-orbiting High-Resolution Infrared Radiation Sounder (HIRS) multispectral data. Cloud occurrence, height, and effective emissivity am determined with the C02 slicing technique on the four years of data (June 1989–May 1993). There is a global preponderance of transmissive high clouds, 42% on the average; about three-fourths of these are above 500 hPa and presumed to be cirrus. In the ITCZ, a high frequency of cirrus (greater than 50%) is found at all times; a modest seasonal movement tracks the sun. Large seasonal changes in cloud cover occur over the oceans in the storm belts at midlatitudes; the concentrations of these clouds migrate north and south with the seasons following the progressions of the subtropical highs (anticyclones). More cirrus is found in the summer than in the winter in each hemisphere.

A significant change in cirrus cloud cover occurs in 1991, the third year of the study. Citrus observations increase from 35% to 43% of the data, a change of eight percentage points. Other cloud forms, opaque to terrestrial radiation, decrease by nearly the same amount. Most of the increase is thinner cirrus with infrared optical depths below 0.7. The increase in cirrus happens at the same time as the 1991–92 El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. The cirrus changes occur at the start of the ENSO and persist into 1993 in contrast to other climatic indicators that return to near pre-ENSO and volcanic levels in 1993.

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Steven A. Ackerman
,
Ed W. Eloranta
,
Chris J. Grund
,
Robert O. Knuteson
,
Henry E. Revercomb
,
William L. Smith
, and
Donald P. Wylie

During the period of 26 October 1989 through 6 December 1989 a unique complement of measurements was made at the University of Wisconsin—Madison to study the radiative properties of cirrus clouds. Simultaneous observations were obtained from a scanning lidar, two interferometers, a high spectral resolution lidar, geostationary and polar orbiting satellites, radiosonde launches, and a whole-sky imager. This paper describes the experiment, the instruments deployed, and, as an example, the data collected during one day of the experiment.

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W. Paul Menzel
,
Richard A. Frey
,
Hong Zhang
,
Donald P. Wylie
,
Chris C. Moeller
,
Robert E. Holz
,
Brent Maddux
,
Bryan A. Baum
,
Kathy I. Strabala
, and
Liam E. Gumley

Abstract

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the NASA Earth Observing System (EOS) Terra and Aqua platforms provides unique measurements for deriving global and regional cloud properties. MODIS has spectral coverage combined with spatial resolution in key atmospheric bands, which is not available on previous imagers and sounders. This increased spectral coverage/spatial resolution, along with improved onboard calibration, enhances the capability for global cloud property retrievals. MODIS operational cloud products are derived globally at spatial resolutions of 5 km (referred to as level-2 products) and are aggregated to a 1° equal-angle grid (referred to as level-3 product), available for daily, 8-day, and monthly time periods. The MODIS cloud algorithm produces cloud-top pressures that are found to be within 50 hPa of lidar determinations in single-layer cloud situations. In multilayer clouds, where the upper-layer cloud is semitransparent, the MODIS cloud pressure is representative of the radiative mean between the two cloud layers. In atmospheres prone to temperature inversions, the MODIS cloud algorithm places the cloud above the inversion and hence is as much as 200 hPa off its true location. The wealth of new information available from the MODIS operational cloud products offers the promise of improved cloud climatologies. This paper 1) describes the cloud-top pressure and amount algorithm that has evolved through collection 5 as experience has been gained with in-flight data from NASA Terra and Aqua platforms; 2) compares the MODIS cloud-top pressures, converted to cloud-top heights, with similar measurements from airborne and space-based lidars; and 3) introduces global maps of MODIS and High Resolution Infrared Sounder (HIRS) cloud-top products.

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Taneil Uttal
,
Judith A. Curry
,
Miles G. McPhee
,
Donald K. Perovich
,
Richard E. Moritz
,
James A. Maslanik
,
Peter S. Guest
,
Harry L. Stern
,
James A. Moore
,
Rene Turenne
,
Andreas Heiberg
,
Mark. C. Serreze
,
Donald P. Wylie
,
Ola G. Persson
,
Clayton A. Paulson
,
Christopher Halle
,
James H. Morison
,
Patricia A. Wheeler
,
Alexander Makshtas
,
Harold Welch
,
Matthew D. Shupe
,
Janet M. Intrieri
,
Knut Stamnes
,
Ronald W. Lindsey
,
Robert Pinkel
,
W. Scott Pegau
,
Timothy P. Stanton
, and
Thomas C. Grenfeld

A summary is presented of the Surface Heat Budget of the Arctic Ocean (SHEBA) project, with a focus on the field experiment that was conducted from October 1997 to October 1998. The primary objective of the field work was to collect ocean, ice, and atmospheric datasets over a full annual cycle that could be used to understand the processes controlling surface heat exchanges—in particular, the ice–albedo feedback and cloud–radiation feedback. This information is being used to improve formulations of arctic ice–ocean–atmosphere processes in climate models and thereby improve simulations of present and future arctic climate. The experiment was deployed from an ice breaker that was frozen into the ice pack and allowed to drift for the duration of the experiment. This research platform allowed the use of an extensive suite of instruments that directly measured ocean, atmosphere, and ice properties from both the ship and the ice pack in the immediate vicinity of the ship. This summary describes the project goals, experimental design, instrumentation, and the resulting datasets. Examples of various data products available from the SHEBA project are presented.

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