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Elmar R. Reiter and Deng-Yi Gao

Abstract

The heating of the Plateau of Tibet (the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau) has been deemed to play an important role in the development and movement of the South Asian anticyclone which, to a great extent, affects the Indian monsoon development. In this paper the heating effects are estimated from synoptic data from that region for April 1979. During the transition season warming over the plateau interacts with advected synoptic systems and induces the South Asian high, normally located south of the Himalayas during that season, to develop strongly and shift northward.

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R. Elmar and Gabriella J. Reiter

From 2 to 14 June 1980 the authors participated in an excursion by jeep across Tibet, following the road from Lhasa via Gyangze, Xigaze, Tingri, and Nyalam to Zham on the Nepal border. The excursion was organized by the Academia Sinica, with direct support by Vice-Chairman and Vice-Premier Deng Xiaoping and Vice-Premier Feng Yi, and relied on the excellent logistic support of the Chinese People's Liberation Army. This report gives an account of impressions, including those of local and regional meteorological and climatological problems.

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Adel F. Hanna, Duane E. Stevens, and Elmar R. Reiter

Abstract

A two-level, global, spectral model is used to study the response of the atmosphere to sea surface temperature anomalies. Two sea surface temperature anomaly patterns are investigated. The first, called the El Niño pattern (Experiment 1), represents a warm anomaly in the equatorial Pacific, whereas the second pattern (Experiment 2) represents coupled midlatitude (cold)/ equatorial (warm) sea surface temperature anomalies in the pacific Ocean.

The results demonstrate that both of these sea surface temperature anomaly patterns produce statistically significant midtropospheric geopotential responses in middle latitudes. However, the geopotential response forced by the coupled sea surface temperature anomaly is qualitatively more similar to the geopotential height pattern which is observed in association with the negative phase of the Southern Oscillation (Horel and Wallace). Analysis of the differences (anomaly minus control) of the meridional transports of momentum. sensible heat and latent heat indicates that the coupled pattern tends to largely enhance the northward transports of momentum and sensible heat, especially for the transient and stationary eddy components. The maximum difference in the total (transient, stationary eddies and mean meridional circulation) transport of momentum is nearly double that revealed by the El Niño experiment.

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James E. Bossert, John D. Sheaffer, and Elmar R. Reiter

Abstract

Mountaintop data from remote stations in the central Rocky Mountains have been used to analyze terrain-induced regional (meso-β to meso-α) scale circulation patterns. The circulation consists of a diurnally oscillating wind regime, varying between daytime inflow toward, and nocturnal outflow from, the highest terrain. Both individual case days and longer term averages reveal these circulation characteristics. The persistence and broadscale organization of nocturnal outflow at mountaintop, well removed from valley drainage processes, demonstrates that this flow is part of a distinct regime within the hierarchy of terrain-induced wind systems.

The diurnal cycle of summertime convective storm development imparts a strong influence upon regional-scale circulation patterns. Subcloud cooling processes, associated with deep moist convection, alter the circulation by producing early and abrupt shifts in the regional winds from an inflow to outflow direction. These wind events occur frequently when moist conditions prevail over the central Rocky Mountains. Atmospheric soundings suggest that significant differences occur in the vertical profile of the topographically influenced layer, depending upon the dominant role of either latent or radiative forcing.

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Elmar R. Reiter, H. Gote Ostlund, and William F. Marlow
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Eric A. Smith, Elmar R. Reiter, and Youxi Gao

Abstract

An investigation of the transition between spring and summer seasons of the surface energy budget in the Gobi desert is presented. The motivation behind this study is to determine eventually the degree to which changes in a desert system can be monitored over a short-term climate time scale (decadel) by remote means. A seasonal transition is used to evaluate the control factors involved in a variational process. The measurements incorporated in the analysis were obtained in 1984 from a specialized surface energy budget monitoring system deployed at a site in the western Gobi desert, just north of the northeastern edge of the Tibet Plateau in western Gansu province, P.R.C. The data were collected during the spring and summer periods in 1984 by a joint team of United States and Chinese scientists.

Results of the analysis reveal an interesting feature of the seasonal transition which had not been expected of a midlatitude desert. That is, although radiative forcing at the surface is altered between spring and summer through the diurnal net radiation heating function, the total radiative energy integral available for heating is largely unchanged. In some sense, the partitioning of the radiative heat supply at the surface can be viewed as a principal ingredient in defining the seasonal cycle. In terms of the Gobi desert, it may well be the only important ingredient.

Both similarities and differences in the spring and summer surface energy budgets arise from differences imparted to the system by an increase in the summertime atmospheric moisture content. Changes in the near-surface mixing ratio are shown to alter the effectiveness of the desert surface in absorbing radiative energy and redistributing it to the lower atmosphere through sensible and latent heat exchange.

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Rujin Shen, Elmar R. Reiter, and James F. Bresch

Abstract

The influence of sensible heating from the earth's surface on the development of summertime vortices over the Tibetan Plateau was investigated using a numerical model. It was found that sensible heating could cause local intensification of vortices over high elevations and sometimes act in combination with topography to block intrusions of cold air. Sensible heating can play an important role, not indicated by its magnitude, when it is combined with topography and the proper synoptic situation. Sensible heating had a greater impact over higher elevations, areas with strong cold advection, and areas under the upper-tropospheric jet stream. Sensible heating tends to destabilize an air column, permitting downward transfer of westerly momentum in the vicinity of the jet stream and causing an increase in cyclonic vorticity in the lower troposphere north of the upper-level jet. During the premonsoon period, when the upper-level jet was located over the southern plateau, sensible heating acted to intensify plateau vortices. After the transition into the summer monsoon period, the jet was north of the plateau and sensible heating had only localized and gradual effects on plateau vortices.

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Rujin Shen, Elmar R. Reiter, and James F. Bresch

Abstract

The initialization of numerical prediction models usually requires the transformation of variables observed in a p-coordinate system into some other coordinate frame of reference (e.g., α-coordinates or Θ-coordinates). Such transformations require the application of interpolation or curve-fitting techniques. The present study demonstrates that the choice of an appropriate interpolation scheme can become a critical issue for the skill of a low-resolution prediction model. First we show that the interpolation scheme, when applied to more than one meteorological variable, should satisfy the balance requirements that exist between these variables. Not all of the currently used schemes meet this condition. Next we provide evidence indicating that interpolation schemes used to convert p-into α-coordinates, and then back into p-coordinates, do not necessarily replicate the original, observed field distributions of these meteorological variables. Such double transformations usually are required, because the numerical output in model coordinates has to be translated back to p-coordinates for verification of model results. Because of the limitations of certain interpolation procedures, even a correct model prediction may exhibit low predictive skill because of errors introduced in this final coordinate transformation process.

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Elmar R. Reiter, J. D. Sheaffer, J. E. Bossert, Eric A. Smith, Greg Stone, Robert McBeth, and Qinglin Zheng

A long-planned field-measurement program to determine surface-energy budgets at two sites in Tibet was carried out during June 1986 in collaboration with scientists from the State Meteorological Administration, Academy of Meteorological Sciences, People's Republic of China. The data set obtained in Tibet is unique for this remote region of the world. The present report describes some of the experiences of the United States scientific team and its medical officer, M. Otteman of Ft. Collins, Colorado. The data are presently being archived on computer tapes. Preliminary analysis results are presented as typical examples of the conditions encountered at the two experimental sites near Lhasa (3635 m) and Nagqu (4500 m).

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Elmar R. Reiter, John D. Sheaffer, James E. Bossert, Richard C. Fleming, William E. Clements, J. T. Lee, Sumner Barr, John A. Archuleta, and Donald E. Hoard

During the late summer of 1985 a field experiment was conducted to investigate mountaintop winds over a broad area of the Rocky Mountains extending from south central Wyoming through northern New Mexico. The principal motivation for this experiment was to further investigate an unexpectedly strong and potentially important wind cycle observed at mountaintop in north central Colorado during August 1984. These winds frequently exhibited nocturnal maxima of 20 to 30 m · s−1 from southeasterly directions and often persisted for eight to ten hours. It appears that these winds originate as outflow from intense mesoscale convective systems that form daily over highland areas along the Continental Divide. However, details of the spatial extent and variability of these winds could not be determined from “routine” regional weather data that are mostly collected in valleys. Although synoptic conditions during much of the 1985 experiment period did not favor diurnally recurring convection over the study area, sufficient data were obtained to verify the regional-scale organization of strong convective outflow at mountaintop elevations. In addition, the usefulness and feasibility of a mountain-peak weather-data network for routine synoptic analysis is demonstrated.

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