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Robert A. Houze Jr.
,
Shuyi S. Chen
,
Wen-Chau Lee
,
Robert F. Rogers
,
James A. Moore
,
Gregory J. Stossmeister
,
Michael M. Bell
,
Jasmine Cetrone
,
Wei Zhao
, and
S. Rita Brodzik

The Hurricane Rainband and Intensity Change Experiment (RAINEX) used three P3 aircraft aided by high-resolution numerical modeling and satellite communications to investigate the 2005 Hurricanes Katrina, Ophelia, and Rita. The aim was to increase the understanding of tropical cyclone intensity change by interactions between a tropical cyclone's inner core and rainbands. All three aircraft had dual-Doppler radars, with the Electra Doppler Radar (ELDORA) on board the Naval Research Laboratory's P3 aircraft, providing particularly detailed Doppler radar data. Numerical model forecasts helped plan the aircraft missions, and innovative communications and data transfer in real time allowed the flights to be coordinated from a ground-based operations center. The P3 aircraft released approximately 600 dropsondes in locations targeted for optimal coordination with the Doppler radar data, as guided by the operations center. The storms were observed in all stages of development, from tropical depression to category 5 hurricane. The data from RAINEX are readily available through an online Field Catalog and RAINEX Data Archive. The RAINEX dataset is illustrated in this article by a preliminary analysis of Hurricane Rita, which was documented by multiaircraft flights on five days 1) while a tropical storm, 2) while rapidly intensifying to a category 5 hurricane, 3) during an eye-wall replacement, 4) when the hurricane became asymmetric upon encountering environmental shear, and 5) just prior to landfall.

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Yi-Hung Kuo
,
J. David Neelin
,
Chih-Chieh Chen
,
Wei-Ting Chen
,
Leo J. Donner
,
Andrew Gettelman
,
Xianan Jiang
,
Kuan-Ting Kuo
,
Eric Maloney
,
Carlos R. Mechoso
,
Yi Ming
,
Kathleen A. Schiro
,
Charles J. Seman
,
Chien-Ming Wu
, and
Ming Zhao

Abstract

To assess deep convective parameterizations in a variety of GCMs and examine the fast-time-scale convective transition, a set of statistics characterizing the pickup of precipitation as a function of column water vapor (CWV), PDFs and joint PDFs of CWV and precipitation, and the dependence of the moisture–precipitation relation on tropospheric temperature is evaluated using the hourly output of two versions of the GFDL Atmospheric Model, version 4 (AM4), NCAR CAM5 and superparameterized CAM (SPCAM). The 6-hourly output from the MJO Task Force (MJOTF)/GEWEX Atmospheric System Study (GASS) project is also analyzed. Contrasting statistics produced from individual models that primarily differ in representations of moist convection suggest that convective transition statistics can substantially distinguish differences in convective representation and its interaction with the large-scale flow, while models that differ only in spatial–temporal resolution, microphysics, or ocean–atmosphere coupling result in similar statistics. Most of the models simulate some version of the observed sharp increase in precipitation as CWV exceeds a critical value, as well as that convective onset occurs at higher CWV but at lower column RH as temperature increases. While some models quantitatively capture these observed features and associated probability distributions, considerable intermodel spread and departures from observations in various aspects of the precipitation–CWV relationship are noted. For instance, in many of the models, the transition from the low-CWV, nonprecipitating regime to the moist regime for CWV around and above critical is less abrupt than in observations. Additionally, some models overproduce drizzle at low CWV, and some require CWV higher than observed for strong precipitation. For many of the models, it is particularly challenging to simulate the probability distributions of CWV at high temperature.

Open access
Ping Zhao
,
Xiangde Xu
,
Fei Chen
,
Xueliang Guo
,
Xiangdong Zheng
,
Liping Liu
,
Yang Hong
,
Yueqing Li
,
Zuo La
,
Hao Peng
,
Linzhi Zhong
,
Yaoming Ma
,
Shihao Tang
,
Yimin Liu
,
Huizhi Liu
,
Yaohui Li
,
Qiang Zhang
,
Zeyong Hu
,
Jihua Sun
,
Shengjun Zhang
,
Lixin Dong
,
Hezhen Zhang
,
Yang Zhao
,
Xiaolu Yan
,
An Xiao
,
Wei Wan
,
Yu Liu
,
Junming Chen
,
Ge Liu
,
Yangzong Zhaxi
, and
Xiuji Zhou

Abstract

This paper presents the background, scientific objectives, experimental design, and preliminary achievements of the Third Tibetan Plateau (TP) Atmospheric Scientific Experiment (TIPEX-III) for 8–10 years. It began in 2013 and has expanded plateau-scale observation networks by adding observation stations in data-scarce areas; executed integrated observation missions for the land surface, planetary boundary layer, cloud–precipitation, and troposphere–stratosphere exchange processes by coordinating ground-based, air-based, and satellite facilities; and achieved noticeable progress in data applications. A new estimation gives a smaller bulk transfer coefficient of surface sensible heat over the TP, which results in a reduction of the possibly overestimated heat intensity found in previous studies. Summer cloud–precipitation microphysical characteristics and cloud radiative effects over the TP are distinguished from those over the downstream plains. Warm rain processes play important roles in the development of cloud and precipitation over the TP. The lower-tropospheric ozone maximum over the northeastern TP is attributed to the regional photochemistry and long-range ozone transports, and the heterogeneous chemical processes of depleting ozone near the tropopause might not be a dominant mechanism for the summer upper-tropospheric–lower-stratospheric ozone valley over the southeastern TP. The TP thermodynamic function not only affects the local atmospheric water maintenance and the downstream precipitation and haze events but also modifies extratropical atmospheric teleconnections like the Asia–Pacific Oscillation, subtropical anticyclones over the North Pacific and Atlantic, and temperature and precipitation over Africa, Asia, and North America. These findings provide new insights into understanding land–atmosphere coupled processes over the TP and their effects, improving model parameterization schemes, and enhancing weather and climate forecast skills.

Open access
Yaohui Li
,
Xing Yuan
,
Hongsheng Zhang
,
Runyuan Wang
,
Chenghai Wang
,
Xianhong Meng
,
Zhiqiang Zhang
,
Shanshan Wang
,
Yang Yang
,
Bo Han
,
Kai Zhang
,
Xiaoping Wang
,
Hong Zhao
,
Guangsheng Zhou
,
Qiang Zhang
,
Qing He
,
Ni Guo
,
Wei Hou
,
Cunjie Zhang
,
Guoju Xiao
,
Xuying Sun
,
Ping Yue
,
Sha Sha
,
Heling Wang
,
Tiejun Zhang
,
Jinsong Wang
, and
Yubi Yao

Abstract

A major experimental drought research project entitled “Mechanisms and Early Warning of Drought Disasters over Northern China” (DroughtEX_China) was launched by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China in 2015. The objective of DroughtEX_China is to investigate drought disaster mechanisms and provide early-warning information via multisource observations and multiscale modeling. Since the implementation of DroughtEX_China, a comprehensive V-shape in situ observation network has been established to integrate different observational experiment systems for different landscapes, including crops in northern China. In this article, we introduce the experimental area, observational network configuration, ground- and air-based observing/testing facilities, implementation scheme, and data management procedures and sharing policy. The preliminary observational and numerical experimental results show that the following are important processes for understanding and modeling drought disasters over arid and semiarid regions: 1) the soil water vapor–heat interactions that affect surface soil moisture variability, 2) the effect of intermittent turbulence on boundary layer energy exchange, 3) the drought–albedo feedback, and 4) the transition from stomatal to nonstomatal control of plant photosynthesis with increasing drought severity. A prototype of a drought monitoring and forecasting system developed from coupled hydroclimate prediction models and an integrated multisource drought information platform is also briefly introduced. DroughtEX_China lasted for four years (i.e., 2015–18) and its implementation now provides regional drought monitoring and forecasting, risk assessment information, and a multisource data-sharing platform for drought adaptation over northern China, contributing to the global drought information system (GDIS).

Full access
Ronald Gelaro
,
Will McCarty
,
Max J. Suárez
,
Ricardo Todling
,
Andrea Molod
,
Lawrence Takacs
,
Cynthia A. Randles
,
Anton Darmenov
,
Michael G. Bosilovich
,
Rolf Reichle
,
Krzysztof Wargan
,
Lawrence Coy
,
Richard Cullather
,
Clara Draper
,
Santha Akella
,
Virginie Buchard
,
Austin Conaty
,
Arlindo M. da Silva
,
Wei Gu
,
Gi-Kong Kim
,
Randal Koster
,
Robert Lucchesi
,
Dagmar Merkova
,
Jon Eric Nielsen
,
Gary Partyka
,
Steven Pawson
,
William Putman
,
Michele Rienecker
,
Siegfried D. Schubert
,
Meta Sienkiewicz
, and
Bin Zhao

Abstract

The Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications, version 2 (MERRA-2), is the latest atmospheric reanalysis of the modern satellite era produced by NASA’s Global Modeling and Assimilation Office (GMAO). MERRA-2 assimilates observation types not available to its predecessor, MERRA, and includes updates to the Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS) model and analysis scheme so as to provide a viable ongoing climate analysis beyond MERRA’s terminus. While addressing known limitations of MERRA, MERRA-2 is also intended to be a development milestone for a future integrated Earth system analysis (IESA) currently under development at GMAO. This paper provides an overview of the MERRA-2 system and various performance metrics. Among the advances in MERRA-2 relevant to IESA are the assimilation of aerosol observations, several improvements to the representation of the stratosphere including ozone, and improved representations of cryospheric processes. Other improvements in the quality of MERRA-2 compared with MERRA include the reduction of some spurious trends and jumps related to changes in the observing system and reduced biases and imbalances in aspects of the water cycle. Remaining deficiencies are also identified. Production of MERRA-2 began in June 2014 in four processing streams and converged to a single near-real-time stream in mid-2015. MERRA-2 products are accessible online through the NASA Goddard Earth Sciences Data Information Services Center (GES DISC).

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