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Aric N. Rogers
,
David H. Bromwich
,
Elizabeth N. Sinclair
, and
Richard I. Cullather

Abstract

Previously, the atmospheric moisture budgets over the Arctic Basin as represented by reanalysis data from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction–National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCEP–NCAR) reanalysis and from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts reanalysis were evaluated for the overlap period of 1979–93 and found to be very similar to each other and to the available observations. Here emphasis is on the 50 yr of the NCEP–NCAR reanalysis (January 1949–May 1999) to depict the interannual variability of the atmospheric moisture fluxes across 70°N and their convergence farther north.

Precipitation minus evaporation (PE) calculated from moisture flux convergence is compared with three large-scale circulation patterns that strongly affect the interannual variability of PE over the Arctic and its environs: the North Atlantic oscillation (NAO), the Arctic oscillation (AO), and the North Pacific oscillation (NPO). The impact of the NAO and the closely related AO on Arctic Basin PE is found to be marked, with a PE:NAO winter correlation of 0.49 (0.56 for the AO). On an annual basis, Arctic Basin PE is much more closely correlated with the NAO (0.69) than with the AO (0.49), consistent with the Atlantic Ocean domination of the northward poleward moisture flux across 70°N. Regional analysis confirms that the NAO impact on PE is concentrated around the periphery of the North Atlantic Ocean and extends north into the Arctic Ocean during winter. The NAO and AO differ in their PE modulation over the northern Eurasia sector with the AO being much more important for all seasons except summer (winter AO:PE correlation 0.53, NAO:PE correlation 0.16), consistent with its much stronger impact on the atmospheric circulation in that area. The NPO was associated with a much more modest modulation of Arctic Basin PE (winter correlation of 0.33 and annual value of 0.10), with its regional signal being strongest over Alaska, northwestern Canada, and areas to the north. About 40% of the interwinter variance of PE over the sector that includes northeastern Canada is linked with the combined influence of the NAO–AO and NPO.

A region of large poleward moisture transport variability during summer was previously identified over western Siberia, east of the Urals, associated with the development of the Urals trough. Here it is shown that this is due to an opposing circulation pattern, with high (low) poleward moisture transport over the west Siberian plain during low (high) poleward moisture transport over Scandinavia. A pronounced trough–ridge pattern accompanies this circulation regime that is primarily confined to July. Because the summer moisture transport dominates the annual total for this region, these circulation patterns produce this area's large interannual poleward moisture transport variability.

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Keith M. Hines
,
David H. Bromwich
,
Philip J. Rasch
, and
Michael J. Iacono

Abstract

To evaluate and improve the treatment of clouds and radiation by the climate models of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), simulations by the NCAR Community Climate Model version 3 (CCM3), as well as the recently released Community Atmosphere Model version 2 (CAM2), are examined. The Rasch and Kristjánsson prognostic cloud condensate scheme, which is now the standard scheme for CAM2, is included in a version of CCM3 and evaluated. Furthermore, the Rapid Radiative Transfer Model (RRTM), which alleviates the deficit in downward clear-sky longwave radiation, is also included in a version of CCM3. The new radiation scheme in CAM2 also alleviates the clear-sky longwave bias, although RRTM is not included. The impact of the changes is especially large over the interior of Antarctica. The changes induced by the introduction of the prognostic cloud scheme are found to have a much larger impact on the CCM3 simulations than do those from the introduction of RRTM. The introduction of the prognostic cloud scheme increases cloud emissivity in the upper troposphere, reduces cloud emissivity in the lower troposphere, and results in a better vertical distribution of cloud radiative properties over interior Antarctica. The climate simulations have a very large cold bias in the stratosphere, especially during summer. There are significant deficiencies in the simulation of Antarctic cloud radiative effects. The optical thickness of Antarctic clouds appears to be excessive. This contributes to a warm bias in surface temperature during winter and a deficit in downward shortwave radiation during summer. Some biases for Antarctica are larger for CCM3 with the prognostic cloud condensate scheme than with the standard diagnostic clouds. When the mixing ratio threshold for autoconversion from suspended ice cloud to falling precipitation is reduced toward a more realistic value, the Antarctic clouds are thinned and some of the biases are reduced. To improve the surface energy balance, not only must the radiative effects of clouds be improved, it is also necessary to improve the representation of sensible heat flux. Insufficient vertical resolution of the frequently very shallow, very stable surface boundary layer apparently contributes to an excessive heat flux from the atmosphere to the surface during winter. The representations of Antarctic clouds and radiation by the new NCAR CAM2 are not clearly improved compared to those of the earlier CCM3. For example, the surface albedo over Antarctica is descreased in CAM2 and Community Climate System Model version 2 (CCSM2) simulations in comparison to CCM3 simulations, contributing to a summer warm bias in tropospheric temperature for the former.

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David H. Bromwich
,
E. Richard Toracinta
,
Robert J. Oglesby
,
James L. Fastook
, and
Terence J. Hughes

Abstract

Regional climate simulations are conducted using the Polar fifth-generation Pennsylvania State University (PSU)–NCAR Mesoscale Model (MM5) with a 60-km horizontal resolution domain over North America to explore the summer climate of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM: 21 000 calendar years ago), when much of the continent was covered by the Laurentide Ice Sheet (LIS). Output from a tailored NCAR Community Climate Model version 3 (CCM3) simulation of the LGM climate is used to provide the initial and lateral boundary conditions for Polar MM5. LGM boundary conditions include continental ice sheets, appropriate orbital forcing, reduced CO2 concentration, paleovegetation, modified sea surface temperatures, and lowered sea level.

The simulated LGM summer climate is characterized by a pronounced low-level thermal gradient along the southern margin of the LIS resulting from the juxtaposition of the cold ice sheet and adjacent warm ice-free land surface. This sharp thermal gradient anchors the midtropospheric jet stream and facilitates the development of synoptic cyclones that track over the ice sheet, some of which produce copious liquid precipitation along and south of the LIS terminus. Precipitation on the southern margin is orographically enhanced as moist southerly low-level flow (resembling a contemporary Great Plains low-level jet configuration) in advance of the cyclone is drawn up the ice sheet slope. Composites of wet and dry periods on the LIS southern margin illustrate two distinctly different atmospheric flow regimes. Given the episodic nature of the summer rain events, it may be possible to reconcile the model depiction of wet conditions on the LIS southern margin during the LGM summer with the widely accepted interpretation of aridity across the Great Plains based on geological proxy evidence.

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Daniel F. Steinhoff
,
David H. Bromwich
,
Michelle Lambertson
,
Shelley L. Knuth
, and
Matthew A. Lazzara

Abstract

On 15–16 May 2004 a severe windstorm struck McMurdo, Antarctica. The Antarctic Mesoscale Prediction System (AMPS) is used, along with available observations, to analyze the storm. A synoptic-scale cyclone weakens as it propagates across the Ross Ice Shelf toward McMurdo. Flow associated with the cyclone initiates a barrier jet along the Transantarctic Mountains. Forcing terms from the horizontal equations of motion are computed in the barrier wind to show that the local time tendency and momentum advection terms are key components of the force balance. The barrier jet interacts with a preexisting near-surface radiation inversion over the Ross Ice Shelf to set up conditions favorable for the development of large-amplitude mountain waves, leading to a downslope windstorm in the Ross Island area. Hydraulic theory can explain the structure of the downslope windstorms, with amplification of the mountain waves possibly caused by wave-breaking events. The underestimation of AMPS wind speed at McMurdo is caused by the misplacement of a hydraulic jump downstream of the downslope windstorms. The dynamics associated with the cyclone, barrier jet, and downslope windstorms are analyzed to determine the role of each in development of the severe winds.

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David H. Bromwich
,
Andrew J. Monaghan
,
Kevin W. Manning
, and
Jordan G. Powers

Abstract

In response to the need for improved weather prediction capabilities in support of the U.S. Antarctic Program’s field operations, the Antarctic Mesoscale Prediction System (AMPS) was implemented in October 2000. AMPS employs the Polar MM5, a version of the fifth-generation Pennsylvania State University–NCAR Mesoscale Model optimized for use over ice sheets. The modeling system consists of several domains ranging in horizontal resolution from 90 km covering a large part of the Southern Hemisphere to 3.3 km over the complex terrain surrounding McMurdo, the hub of U.S. operations. The performance of the 30-km AMPS domain versus observations from manned and automatic weather stations is statistically evaluated for a 2-yr period from September 2001 through August 2003. The simulated 12–36-h surface pressure and near-surface temperature at most sites have correlations of r > 0.95 and r > 0.75, respectively, and small biases. Surface wind speeds reflect the complex topography and generally have correlations between 0.5 and 0.6, and positive biases of 1–2 m s−1. In the free atmosphere, r > 0.95 (geopotential height), r > 0.9 (temperature), and r > 0.8 (wind speed) at most sites. Over the annual cycle, there is little interseasonal variation in skill. Over the length of the forecast, a gradual decrease in skill is observed from hours 0–72. One exception is the surface pressure, which improves slightly in the first few hours, due in part to the model adjusting from surface pressure biases that are caused by the initialization technique over the high, cold terrain.

The impact of the higher-resolution model domains over the McMurdo region is also evaluated. It is shown that the 3.3-km domain is more sensitive to spatial and temporal changes in the winds than the 10-km domain, which represents an overall improvement in forecast skill, especially on the windward side of the island where the Williams Field and Pegasus runways are situated, and in the lee of Ross Island, an important area of mesoscale cyclogenesis (although the correlation coefficients in these regions are still relatively low).

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Shu-Ya Chen
,
Tae-Kwon Wee
,
Ying-Hwa Kuo
, and
David H. Bromwich

Abstract

The impact of global positioning system (GPS) radio occultation (RO) data on an intense synoptic-scale storm that occurred over the Southern Ocean in December 2007 is evaluated, and a synoptic explanation of the assessed impact is offered. The impact is assessed by using the three-dimensional variational data assimilation scheme (3DVAR) of the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model Data Assimilation system (WRFDA), and by comparing two experiments: one with and the other without assimilating the refractivity data from four different RO missions. Verifications indicate significant positive impacts of the RO data in various measures and parameters as well as in the track and intensity of the Antarctic cyclone. The analysis of the atmospheric processes underlying the impact shows that the assimilation of the RO data yields substantial improvements in the large-scale circulations that in turn control the development of the Antarctic storm. For instance, the RO data enhanced the strength of a 500-hPa trough over the Southern Ocean and prevented the katabatic flow near the coast of East Antarctica from an overintensification. This greatly influenced two low pressure systems of a comparable intensity, which later merged together and evolved into the major storm. The dominance of one low over the other in the merger dramatically changed the track, intensity, and structure of the merged storm. The assimilation of GPS RO data swapped the dominant low, leading to a remarkable improvement in the subsequent storm’s prediction.

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Keith M. Hines
,
Robert W. Grumbine
,
David H. Bromwich
, and
Richard I. Cullather

Abstract

The surface energy budget in Antarctic latitudes is evaluated for the medium-range numerical weather forecasts produced by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) and for the NCEP–National Center for Atmospheric Research reanalysis project during the winter, spring, and summer special observing periods (SOPs) of the Antarctic First Regional Observing Study of Troposphere project. A significant change in the energy balance resulted from an extensive model update beginning with the forecasts initialized on 11 January 1995 during the summer SOP. Both the forecasts and the reanalysis include significant errors in the surface energy balance over Antarctica. The errors often tend to cancel and thus produce reasonable surface temperature fields. General errors include downward longwave radiation about 30–50 W m−2 too small. Lower than observed cloudiness contributes to this error and to excessive downward shortwave radiation at the surface. The model albedo over Antarctica, about 75%, is lower than that derived from observations, about 81%. During the polar day, errors in net longwave and net shortwave radiation tend to cancel. The energy balance over Antarctica in the reanalysis is, in general, degraded from that of the forecasts.

Seasonal characteristics of the surface energy balance include cooling over East Antarctica and slight warming over West Antarctica during NCEP forecasts for the winter SOP. Wintertime surface warming by downward sensible heat flux is larger than observations by 21–36 W m−2 and tends to balance the excessive longwave cooling at the surface. During the spring SOP, forecast sensible heat flux produces an excessive heating contribution by about 20 W m−2. Latent heat flux during the Antarctic winter for the reanalysis is at least an order of magnitude larger than the very small observed values.

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Melissa A. Nigro
,
John J. Cassano
,
Jonathan Wille
,
David H. Bromwich
, and
Matthew A. Lazzara

Abstract

Accurate representation of the stability of the surface layer in numerical weather prediction models is important because of the impact it has on forecasts of surface energy, moisture, and momentum fluxes. It also impacts boundary layer processes such as the generation of turbulence, the creation of near-surface flows, and fog formation. This paper uses observations from a 30-m automatic weather station on the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica, to evaluate the near-surface layer in the Antarctic Mesoscale Prediction System (AMPS), a numerical weather prediction system used for forecasting in Antarctica. The method of self-organizing maps (SOM) is used to identify characteristic potential temperature anomaly profiles observed at the 30-m tower. The SOM-identified profiles are then used to evaluate the performance of AMPS as a function of atmospheric stability.

The results indicate AMPS underpredicts the frequency of near-neutral profiles and instead overpredicts the frequency of weakly unstable and weak to moderately stable profiles. AMPS does not forecast the strongest statically stable patterns observed by Tall Tower, but in the median, the AMPS forecasts are more statically stable across all wind speeds, indicating a possible mechanical mixing error or a negative radiation bias. The SOM analysis identifies a negative radiation bias under near-neutral to weakly stable conditions, causing an overrepresentation of the static stability in AMPS. AMPS has a positive wind speed bias in moderate to strongly stable conditions, which generates too much mechanical mixing and an underrepresentation of the static stability. Model errors increase with increasing atmospheric stability.

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Michael S. Dinniman
,
John M. Klinck
,
Le-Sheng Bai
,
David H. Bromwich
,
Keith M. Hines
, and
David M. Holland

Abstract

Oceanic melting at the base of the floating Antarctic ice shelves is now thought to be a more significant cause of mass loss for the Antarctic ice sheet than iceberg calving. In this study, a 10-km horizontal-resolution circum-Antarctic ocean–sea ice–ice shelf model [based on the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS)] is used to study the delivery of ocean heat to the base of the ice shelves. The atmospheric forcing comes from the ERA-Interim reanalysis (~80-km resolution) and from simulations using the polar-optimized Weather Research and Forecasting Model (30-km resolution), where the upper atmosphere was relaxed to the ERA-Interim reanalysis. The modeled total basal ice shelf melt is low compared to observational estimates but increases by 14% with the higher-resolution winds and just 3% with both the higher-resolution winds and atmospheric surface temperatures. The higher-resolution winds lead to more heat being delivered to the ice shelf cavities from the adjacent ocean and an increase in the efficiency of heat transfer between the water and the ice. The higher-resolution winds also lead to changes in the heat delivered from the open ocean to the continental shelves as well as changes in the heat lost to the atmosphere over the shelves, and the sign of these changes varies regionally. Addition of the higher-resolution temperatures to the winds results in lowering, primarily during summer, the wind-driven increase in heat advected into the ice shelf cavities due to colder summer air temperatures near the coast.

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David H. Bromwich
,
Andrew J. Monaghan
,
Jordan G. Powers
,
John J. Cassano
,
He-Lin Wei
,
Ying-Hwa Kuo
, and
Andrea Pellegrini

Abstract

To support the forecasting needs of the United States Antarctic Program at McMurdo, Antarctica, a special numerical weather prediction program, the Antarctic Mesoscale Prediction System (AMPS), was established for the 2000–01 field season. AMPS employs the Polar MM5, a version of the fifth-generation Pennsylvania State University–NCAR Mesoscale Model (MM5) that has physics modifications for polar environments. This study assesses the performance of AMPS in forecasting an event of mesoscale cyclogenesis in the western Ross Sea during 13–17 January 2001. Observations indicate the presence of a complex trough having two primary mesoscale lows that merge to the east of Ross Island shortly after 0700 UTC 15 January. In contrast, AMPS predicts one primary mesoscale low throughout the event, incorrectly placing it until the 1800 UTC 15 January forecast, when the observed system carries a prominent signature in the initialization. The model reproduces the evolution of upper-level conditions in agreement with the observations and shows skill in resolving many small-scale surface features common to the region (i.e., katabatic winds; lows and highs induced by wind/topography). The AMPS forecasts can rely heavily on the representation of surface lows and upper-level forcing in the first-guess fields derived from NCEP's Aviation Model (AVN). Furthermore, even with relatively high spatial resolution, mesoscale models face observation-related limitations on performance that can be particularly acute in Antarctica.

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