Search Results

You are looking at 11 - 13 of 13 items for :

  • Author or Editor: Hampton N. Shirer x
  • Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences x
  • Refine by Access: All Content x
Clear All Modify Search
Peter J. Sousounis and Hampton N. Shirer


The steady boundary-layer responses that occur over the Great Lakes region during wintertime cold air outbreaks are examined using a two-dimensional, linear, analytic model. The planetary boundary layer (PBL) is modeled as an idealized, constantly stratified, viscous, rotating Boussinesq fluid that moves uniformly between two horizontally infinite, rigid, stress-free plates. The heat from the lakes is parameterized in terms of a specified diabatic forcing function.

Solution of the governing differential equation yields an integral expression for the vertical motion of the general response. Further assessment of the response is gained by examining closed-form analytic solutions to several limiting cases. Four response types are identified that depend upon the values of the Froude number Fr, the mechanical Ekman number Ex, the thermal Ekman number Ex, and the eddy Prandtl number Pr.

Four different flow regimes are found. When 0 ≤ Fr < 1 and Pr ≥ 1, there is a purely exponentially damped response that exists over and on both sides of the heating. A flow characterized approximately by 1 ≤ Fr2 < 1 + Er 2 + Ex and Pr ≥ 1 yields a purely exponentially damped response that exists only over and downstream of the heating, while a flow characterized approximately by Fr2 > 1 + Er2 + Ex2 and Pr ≥ 1 yields a mixed oscillating-exponentially damped response that exists only over and downstream of the heating. When Pr < 1 and Fr > 1, either of the previous two response types can occur, while when 0 < Fr < 1, a fourth type of response can occur that is mixed oscillating-exponentially damped and exists over and on both sides of the heating.

The model is used to demonstrate the effects that rotation, stability, mean flow speed, and mechanical and thermal dissipation have on the PBL responses that occur over the Great Lakes during wintertime cold air outbreaks. The simulation of heating by the lakes of strong flow within a moderately cold, shallow PBL produces a model response with ascent and implied clouds and precipitation extending well downstream of the lakes, as are typically observed soon after such a response develops. The simulation of heating by the lakes of weak flow within a very cold, deep PBL produces a model response with ascent and implied clouds and precipitation that are collocated with the lakes, as are typically observed just before such a response decays.

Full access
Hampton N. Shirer, Christian J. Fosmire, Robert Wells, and Laurentia Suciu


The correlation dimension D is commonly used to quantify the chaotic structure of atmospheric time series. The standard algorithm for estimating the value of D is based on finding the slope of the curve obtained by plotting ln C(r) versus ln r, where C(r) is the correlation integral and r is the distance between points on the attractor. An alternative, probabilistic method proposed by is extended and tested here. This method is based on finding the sample means of the random variable (r/ρ)p[ln(r/ρ)]k, expressed as the conditional expected value E((r/ρ)p[ln(r/ρ)]k : r < ρ), for p and k nonnegative numbers.

The sensitivity of the slope method and of the extended estimators D pk(ρ) for approximating D is studied in detail for three ad hoc correlation integrals and for integer values of p and k. The first two integrals represent the effects of noise or undersampling at small distances and the third captures periodic lacunarity, which occurs by definition when the ratio C(x ρ)/C(ρ) fails to converge as ρ approaches zero. All the extended estimators give results that are superior to that produced by the most commonly used slope method. Moreover, the various estimators exhibit much different behavior in the two ad hoc cases: noise-contaminated signals are best diagnosed using D 11(ρ), and lacunar signals are best studied using D 0k(ρ), with k as large as possible in magnitude. Therefore, by using a wide range of values of p and k, one can infer whether degradation arising from noise or arising from lacunarity is more pronounced in the time series being studied, and hence, one can decide which of the estimates most efficiently approximates the correlation dimension for the series.

These ideas are applied to relatively coarse samplings of the Hénon, Lorenz convection, and Lorenz climate attractors that in each case are obtained by calculating the distances between pairs of points on two trajectories. As expected from previous studies, lacunarity apparently dominates the Hénon results, with the best estimate of D, D = 1.20 ± 0.01, given by the case D 03(ρ). In contrast, undersampling or noise apparently affects the Lorenz convection and climate attractor results. The best estimates of D are given by the estimator D 11(ρ) in both cases. The dimension of the convection attractor is D = 2.06 ± 0.005, and that of the climate attractor is D = 14.9 ± 0.1. Finally, lagged and embedded time series for the Lorenz convection attractor are studied to identify embedding dimension signatures when model reconstruction is employed.

In the last part of this study, the above results are used to help identify the best possible estimate of the correlation dimension for a low-frequency boundary layer time series of low-level horizontal winds. To obtain such an estimate, Lorenz notes that an optimally coupled time series must be extracted from the data and then lagged and embedded appropriately. The specific kinetic energy appears to be more closely coupled to the underlying low-frequency attractor, and so more nearly optimal, than is either individual wind component. When several estimates are considered, this kinetic energy series exhibits the same qualitative behavior as does the lagged and embedded Lorenz convective system time series. The series is either noise contaminated or undersampled, a result that is not surprising given the small number of time series points used, for which the best estimate is given by D 11(ρ). The obtained boundary layer time series dimension estimate, 3.9 ± 0.1, is similar to the values obtained by some other investigators who have analyzed higher-frequency boundary layer time series. Although this time series does not contain as many points as might be required to accurately estimate the dimension of the underlying attractor, it does illustrate the requirement that in any estimate of the correlation dimension, a function of the measured variables must be chosen that is strongly coupled to the attractor.

Full access
Richard A. Mason, Hampton N. Shirer, Robert Wells, and George S. Young


Bursts in the kinematic vertical transports of heat and horizontal momentum in a moderately convective marine atmospheric surface layer are studied by applying the variable interval time averaging (VITA) detection method to principal components analysis (PCA)–decomposed datasets obtained from the Floating Instrumentation Platform (FLIP) moored vessel during the 1995 April–May Pacific Marine Boundary Layer (PMBL) experiment. For convective plumes, a well-defined dimensionless relationship is shown to exist between the vertical transports of heat and horizontal momentum; this relationship cannot be easily deduced if PCA and VITA are not both applied.

PCA decomposes a dataset using correlations within that dataset instead of bandpass filtering it to retain energy in a predetermined range of scales; PCA thus respects all scales contributing to the phenomena retained in the dataset. Subsequent use of cross-spectral techniques to group the PCA-decomposed dataset into coherent structure types leads to, among other types of coherent structures, PCA-derived plumes. The VITA method is applied to a decomposed dataset in order to identify updrafts (bursts) and downdrafts (sweeps) in the time series of correlated variables by searching the signal for events that satisfy user-specified criteria. With proper use of PCA, surface-layer plumes can be reassembled in a way that yields the same transport relationships no matter which of the two different detecting variables is used.

Full access