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G. R. Halliwell Jr., A. Srinivasan, V. Kourafalou, H. Yang, D. Willey, M. Le Hénaff, and R. Atlas

Abstract

A new fraternal twin ocean observing system simulation experiment (OSSE) system is validated in a Gulf of Mexico domain. It is the first ocean system that takes full advantage of design criteria and rigorous evaluation procedures developed to validate atmosphere OSSE systems that have not been fully implemented for the ocean. These procedures are necessary to determine a priori that the OSSE system does not overestimate or underestimate observing system impacts. The new system consists of 1) a nature run (NR) stipulated to represent the true ocean, 2) a data assimilation system consisting of a second ocean model (the “forecast model”) coupled to a new ocean data assimilation system, and 3) software to simulate observations from the NR and to add realistic errors. The system design is described to illustrate the requirements of a validated OSSE system. The chosen NR reproduces the climatology and variability of ocean phenomena with sufficient realism. Although the same ocean model type is used (the “fraternal twin” approach), the forecast model is configured differently so that it approximately satisfies the requirement that differences (errors) with respect to the NR grow at the same rate as errors that develop between state-of-the-art ocean models and the true ocean. Rigorous evaluation procedures developed for atmospheric OSSEs are then applied by first performing observing system experiments (OSEs) to evaluate one or more existing observing systems. OSSEs are then performed that are identical except for the assimilation of synthetic observations simulated from the NR. Very similar impact assessments were realized between each OSE–OSSE pair, thus validating the system without the need for calibration.

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George R. Halliwell Jr., Gustavo J. Goni, Michael F. Mehari, Villy H. Kourafalou, Molly Baringer, and Robert Atlas

Abstract

Credible tropical cyclone (TC) intensity prediction by coupled models requires accurate forecasts of enthalpy flux from ocean to atmosphere, which in turn requires accurate forecasts of sea surface temperature cooling beneath storms. Initial ocean fields must accurately represent ocean mesoscale features and the associated thermal and density structure. Observing system simulation experiments (OSSEs) are performed to quantitatively assess the impact of assimilating profiles collected from multiple underwater gliders deployed over the western North Atlantic Ocean TC region, emphasizing advantages gained by profiling from moving versus stationary platforms. Assimilating ocean profiles collected repeatedly at fixed locations produces large root-mean-square error reduction only within ~50 km of each profiler for two primary reasons. First, corrections performed during individual update cycles tend to introduce unphysical eddy structure resulting from smoothing properties of the background error covariance matrix and the tapering of innovations by a localization radius function. Second, advection produces rapid nonlinear error growth at larger distances from profiler locations. The ability of each individual moving glider to cross gradients and map mesoscale structure in its vicinity substantially reduces this nonlinear error growth. Glider arrays can be deployed with horizontal separation distances that are 50%–100% larger than those of fixed-location profilers to achieve similar mesoscale error reduction. By contrast, substantial larger-scale bias reduction in upper-ocean heat content can be achieved by deploying profiler arrays with separation distances up to several hundred kilometers, with moving gliders providing only modest additional improvement. Expected sensitivity of results to study region and data assimilation method is discussed.

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Michael J. Mueller, Andrew C. Kren, Lidia Cucurull, Sean P. F. Casey, Ross N. Hoffman, Robert Atlas, and Tanya R. Peevey

Abstract

A global observing system simulation experiment (OSSE) was used to assess the potential impact of a proposed Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) radio occultation (RO) constellation on tropical cyclone (TC) track, maximum 10-m wind speed (V max), and integrated kinetic energy (IKE) forecasts. The OSSE system was based on the 7-km NASA nature run and simulated RO refractivity determined by the spatial distribution of observations from the original planned (i.e., including both equatorial and polar orbits) Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere, and Climate-2 (COSMIC-2). Data were assimilated using the NOAA operational weather analysis and forecasting system. Three experiments generated global TC track, V max, and IKE forecasts over 6 weeks of the North Atlantic hurricane season in the North Atlantic, east Pacific, and west Pacific basins. Confidence in our results was bolstered because track forecast errors were similar to those of official National Hurricane Center forecasts, and V max errors and IKE errors showed similar results. GNSS-RO assimilation did not significantly impact global track forecasts, but did slightly degrade V max and IKE forecasts in the first 30–60 h of lead time. Global forecast error statistics show adding or excluding explicit random errors to RO profiles made little difference to forecasts. There was large forecast-to-forecast variability in RO impact. For two cases studied in depth, track and V max improvements and degradations were traced backward through the previous 24 h of assimilation cycles. The largest V max degradation was traced to particularly good control analyses rather than poor analyses caused by GNSS-RO.

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R. Atlas, R. N. Hoffman, S. M. Leidner, J. Sienkiewicz, T.-W. Yu, S. C. Bloom, E. Brin, J. Ardizzone, J. Terry, D. Bungato, and J. C. Jusem

Satellite scatterometer observations of the ocean surface wind speed and direction improve the depiction of storms at sea. Over the ocean, scatterometer surface winds are deduced from multiple measurements of reflected radar power made from several directions. In the nominal situation, the scattering mechanism is Bragg scattering from centimeter-scale waves, which are in equilibrium with the local wind. These data are especially valuable where observations are otherwise sparse—mostly in the Southern Hemisphere extratropics and Tropics, but also on occasion in the North Atlantic and North Pacific. The history of scatterometer winds research and its application to weather analysis and forecasting is reviewed here. Two types of data impact studies have been conducted to evaluate the effect of satellite data, including satellite scatterometer data, for NWP. These are simulation experiments (or observing system simulation experiments or OSSEs) designed primarily to assess the potential impact of planned satellite observing systems, and real data impact experiments (or observing system experiments or OSEs) to evaluate the actual impact of available space-based data. Both types of experiments have been applied to the series of satellite scatterometers carried on the Seasat, European Remote Sensing-1 and -2, and the Advanced Earth Observing System-1 satellites, and the NASA Quick Scatterometer. Several trends are evident: The amount of scatterometer data has been increasing. The ability of data assimilation systems and marine forecasters to use the data has improved substantially. The ability of simulation experiments to predict the utility of new sensors has also improved significantly.

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Robert Atlas, Ross N. Hoffman, Zaizhong Ma, G. David Emmitt, Sidney A. Wood Jr., Steven Greco, Sara Tucker, Lisa Bucci, Bachir Annane, R. Michael Hardesty, and Shirley Murillo

Abstract

The potential impact of Doppler wind lidar (DWL) observations from a proposed optical autocovariance wind lidar (OAWL) instrument is quantified in observing system simulation experiments (OSSEs). The OAWL design would provide profiles of useful wind vectors along a ground track to the left of the International Space Station (ISS), which is in a 51.6° inclination low-Earth orbit (LEO). These observations are simulated realistically, accounting for cloud and aerosol distributions inferred from the OSSE nature runs (NRs), and measurement and sampling error sources. The impact of the simulated observations is determined in both global and regional OSSE frameworks. The global OSSE uses the ECMWF T511 NR and the NCEP operational Global Data Assimilation System at T382 resolution. The regional OSSE uses an embedded hurricane NR and the NCEP operational HWRF data assimilation system with outer and inner domains of 9- and 3-km resolution, respectively.

The global OSSE results show improved analyses and forecasts of tropical winds and extratropical geopotential heights. The tropical wind RMSEs are significantly reduced in the analyses and in short-term forecasts. The tropical wind improvement decays as the forecasts lengthen. The regional OSSEs are limited but show some improvements in hurricane track and intensity forecasts.

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EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE, C. L. Hosler, W. A. Baum, D. Atlas, P. M. Austin, E. S. Epstein, R. L. Leep Jr., K. C. Spengler, and D. F. Landrigan
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Laura L. Pan, Kenneth P. Bowman, Elliot L. Atlas, Steve C. Wofsy, Fuqing Zhang, James F. Bresch, Brian A. Ridley, Jasna V. Pittman, Cameron R. Homeyer, Pavel Romashkin, and William A. Cooper

The Stratosphere–Troposphere Analyses of Regional Transport 2008 (START08) experiment investigated a number of important processes in the extratropical upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UTLS) using the National Science Foundation (NSF)–NCAR Gulfstream V (GV) research aircraft. The main objective was to examine the chemical structure of the extratropical UTLS in relation to dynamical processes spanning a range of scales. The campaign was conducted during April–June 2008 from Broomfield, Colorado. A total of 18 research flights sampled an extensive geographical region of North America (25°–65°N, 80°–120°W) and a wide range of meteorological conditions. The airborne in situ instruments measured a comprehensive suite of chemical constituents and microphysical variables from the boundary layer to the lower stratosphere, with flights specifically designed to target key transport processes in the extratropical UTLS. The flights successfully investigated stratosphere–troposphere exchange (STE) processes, including the intrusion of tropospheric air into the stratosphere in association with the secondary tropopause and the intrusion of stratospheric air deep into the troposphere. The flights also sampled the influence of convective transport and lightning on the upper troposphere as well as the distribution of gravity waves associated with multiple sources, including fronts and topography. The aircraft observations are complemented by satellite observations and modeling. The measurements will be used to improve the representation of UTLS chemical gradients and transport in Chemistry–Climate models (CCMs). This article provides an overview of the experiment design and selected observational highlights.

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Wayman E. Baker, George D. Emmitt, Franklin Robertson, Robert M. Atlas, John E. Molinari, David A. Bowdle, Jan Paegle, R. Michael Hardesty, Robert T. Menzies, T. N. Krishnamurti, Robert A. Brown, Madison J. Post, John R. Anderson, Andrew C. Lorenc, and James McElroy

The deployment of a space-based Doppler lidar would provide information that is fundamental to advancing the understanding and prediction of weather and climate.

This paper reviews the concepts of wind measurement by Doppler lidar, highlights the results of some observing system simulation experiments with lidar winds, and discusses the important advances in earth system science anticipated with lidar winds.

Observing system simulation experiments, conducted using two different general circulation models, have shown 1) that there is a significant improvement in the forecast accuracy over the Southern Hemisphere and tropical oceans resulting from the assimilation of simulated satellite wind data, and 2) that wind data are significantly more effective than temperature or moisture data in controlling analysis error. Because accurate wind observations are currently almost entirely unavailable for the vast majority of tropical cyclones worldwide, lidar winds have the potential to substantially improve tropical cyclone forecasts. Similarly, to improve water vapor flux divergence calculations, a direct measure of the ageostrophic wind is needed since the present level of uncertainty cannot be reduced with better temperature and moisture soundings alone.

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Wayman E. Baker, Robert Atlas, Carla Cardinali, Amy Clement, George D. Emmitt, Bruce M. Gentry, R. Michael Hardesty, Erland Källén, Michael J. Kavaya, Rolf Langland, Zaizhong Ma, Michiko Masutani, Will McCarty, R. Bradley Pierce, Zhaoxia Pu, Lars Peter Riishojgaard, James Ryan, Sara Tucker, Martin Weissmann, and James G. Yoe

The three-dimensional global wind field is the most important remaining measurement needed to accurately assess the dynamics of the atmosphere. Wind information in the tropics, high latitudes, and stratosphere is particularly deficient. Furthermore, only a small fraction of the atmosphere is sampled in terms of wind profiles. This limits our ability to optimally specify initial conditions for numerical weather prediction (NWP) models and our understanding of several key climate change issues.

Because of its extensive wind measurement heritage (since 1968) and especially the rapid recent technology advances, Doppler lidar has reached a level of maturity required for a space-based mission. The European Space Agency (ESA)'s Atmospheric Dynamics Mission Aeolus (ADM-Aeolus) Doppler wind lidar (DWL), now scheduled for launch in 2015, will be a major milestone.

This paper reviews the expected impact of DWL measurements on NWP and climate research, measurement concepts, and the recent advances in technology that will set the stage for space-based deployment. Forecast impact experiments with actual airborne DWL measurements collected over the North Atlantic in 2003 and assimilated into the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) operational model are a clear indication of the value of lidar-measured wind profiles. Airborne DWL measurements collected over the western Pacific in 2008 and assimilated into both the ECMWF and U.S. Navy operational models support the earlier findings.

These forecast impact experiments confirm observing system simulation experiments (OSSEs) conducted over the past 25–30 years. The addition of simulated DWL wind observations in recent OSSEs performed at the Joint Center for Satellite Data Assimilation (JCSDA) leads to a statistically significant increase in forecast skill.

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Eric J. Jensen, Leonhard Pfister, David E. Jordan, Thaopaul V. Bui, Rei Ueyama, Hanwant B. Singh, Troy D. Thornberry, Andrew W. Rollins, Ru-Shan Gao, David W. Fahey, Karen H. Rosenlof, James W. Elkins, Glenn S. Diskin, Joshua P. DiGangi, R. Paul Lawson, Sarah Woods, Elliot L. Atlas, Maria A. Navarro Rodriguez, Steven C. Wofsy, Jasna Pittman, Charles G. Bardeen, Owen B. Toon, Bruce C. Kindel, Paul A. Newman, Matthew J. McGill, Dennis L. Hlavka, Leslie R. Lait, Mark R. Schoeberl, John W. Bergman, Henry B. Selkirk, M. Joan Alexander, Ji-Eun Kim, Boon H. Lim, Jochen Stutz, and Klaus Pfeilsticker

Abstract

The February–March 2014 deployment of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Airborne Tropical Tropopause Experiment (ATTREX) provided unique in situ measurements in the western Pacific tropical tropopause layer (TTL). Six flights were conducted from Guam with the long-range, high-altitude, unmanned Global Hawk aircraft. The ATTREX Global Hawk payload provided measurements of water vapor, meteorological conditions, cloud properties, tracer and chemical radical concentrations, and radiative fluxes. The campaign was partially coincident with the Convective Transport of Active Species in the Tropics (CONTRAST) and the Coordinated Airborne Studies in the Tropics (CAST) airborne campaigns based in Guam using lower-altitude aircraft (see companion articles in this issue). The ATTREX dataset is being used for investigations of TTL cloud, transport, dynamical, and chemical processes, as well as for evaluation and improvement of global-model representations of TTL processes. The ATTREX data are publicly available online (at https://espoarchive.nasa.gov/).

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