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J. M. Lewis

The California Institute of Technology (Cal Tech) established a course of study in meteorology in 1933. It was intimately tied to the upsurge of activity in commercial and military aviation that occurred in the period between the world wars. The tragic crash of the airship U.S.S. Akron provided the stimulus for including meteorology as a subprogram in the aeronautics department at Cal Tech. Theodore von Kármán, head of the department and director of the school's Guggenheim Aeronautics Laboratory, masterminded the design of the program and geared it toward the solution of practical problems using the principles of dynamic meteorology. One of his doctoral students, Irving Krick, was groomed to develop the program.

Robert Millikan, head of the institute, fostered an approach to science that encouraged the faculty to consult and work with industry. In this environment, Krick established links with aviation, motion picture studios, and public utilities that would set the stage for the research thrust in meteorology. The program was primarily designed for training at the master's degree level, and a significant number of the graduates became entrepreneurs in meteorology. Based on letters of reminiscence and oral histories from some of these consulting meteorologists, it has been concluded that the Millikan/von Karman philosophy of science played an important part in directing the meteorologists into the private sector.

Following World War II, Lee DuBridge replaced Millikan as head of the institute. DuBridge's efforts were directed toward making the small elite school scientifically competitive in the changed conditions of a postwar world. In this climate, the merging of private business with academic work fell into disfavor. Without champions such as Millikan and von Karman, the meteorology program was unable to survive.

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J. M. Lewis
,
Y. Ogura
, and
L. Gidel

Abstract

A case of squall line generation in the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) network has been examined with the intention of capturing synoptic-scale influences. A telescopic analysis approach was used whereby observations from both synoptic and mesoscale networks were combined.

The squall line formed in the warm air behind the surface position of the cold front. Large-scale circulation was responsible for creating a shallow layer (∼1-km thick) of convectively unstable air immediately above this front. Horizontal gradient of low-level moisture, pronounced low-level wind shear, and surface convergence were the large-scale factors that combined to produce the unstable region.

Mesoscale analysis showed that vertical velocity in the low levels exhibited a persistent small-scale variation prior to convective activity. The horizontal variation in vertical velocity was ultimately responsible for creating a favored position within the mesonetwork.

Conservation of potential temperature and specific humidity is examined as well as the relative importance of horizontal and vertical advection.

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S. Lakshmivarahan
,
J. M. Lewis
, and
D. Phan

Abstract

A data assimilation strategy based on feedback control has been developed for the geophysical sciences—a strategy that uses model output to control the behavior of the dynamical system. Whereas optimal tracking through feedback control had its early history in application to vehicle trajectories in space science, the methodology has been adapted to geophysical dynamics by forcing the trajectory of a deterministic model to follow observations in accord with observation accuracy. Fundamentally, this offline (where it is assumed that the observations in a given assimilation window are all given) approach is based on Pontryagin’s minimum principle (PMP) where a least squares fit of idealized path to dynamic law follows from Hamiltonian mechanics. This utilitarian process optimally determines a forcing function that depends on the state (the feedback component) and the observations. It follows that this optimal forcing accounts for the model error. From this model error, a correction to the one-step transition matrix is constructed. The above theory and technique is illustrated using the linear Burgers’ equation that transfers energy from the large scale to the small scale.

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Lewis M. Rothstein
,
Michael J. McPhaden
, and
Jeffrey A. Proehl

Abstract

A numerical model is designed to study the effects of the strong, near-surface associated with the equatorial current system on energy transmission of time-periodic equatorial waves into the deep mean. The present paper is confined to long wavelength, low-frequency Kelvin waves forced by a longitudinally confined patch of zonal wind. Energy transmission into the deep ocean is investigated as a function of mean current shear amplitude and geometry and the forcing frequency.

Solutions form well-defined beams of energy that radiate energy eastward and vertically toward the deep ocean in the absence of mean flow. However, the presence of critical surfaces associated with mean currents inhibits low-frequency energy from reaching the deep ocean. For a given zonal wavenumber, longitudinal propagation through mean currents will be less inhibited as the frequency increases (phase speed increases). When the mean current amplitude is large enough, the beam encounters multiple critical surfaces (i.e., critical surfaces for different wavenumber components of the beam) where significant and momentum can take place with the men currents via Reynolds stress transfers. Work against the dominant vertical shear is the dominant wave energy loss for the case of a mean South Equatorial Current–Equatorial Undercurrent system, illustrating the need for high vertical resolution in equatorial ocean models.

The model also describes the possible induction of a mean zonal acceleration as well as a mean meridional circulation. Eliassen-Palm fluxes are used to diagnose these dynamics. The presence of critical surfaces result in mean field accelerations on the equator above the core of the Equatorial Undercurrent. Implications of these results with regard to observations in the equatorial waveguide are discussed.

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Dake Chen
,
Lewis M. Rothstein
, and
Antonio J. Busalacchi

Abstract

A novel hybrid vertical mixing scheme, based jointly on the Kraus–Turner-type mixed layer model and Price's dynamic instability model, is introduced to aid in parameterization of vertical turbulent mixing in numerical ocean models. The scheme is computationally efficient and is capable of simulating the three major mechanisms of vertical turbulent mixing in the upper ocean, that is, wind stirring, shear instability, and convective overturning.

The hybrid scheme is first tested in a one-dimensional model against the Kraus–Turner-type bulk mixed layer model and the Mellor–Yamada level 2.5 (MY2.5) turbulence closure model. As compared with those two models, the hybrid model behaves more reasonably in both idealized experiments and realistic simulations. The improved behavior of the hybrid model can be attributed to its more complete physics. For example, the MY2.5 model underpredicts mixed layer depth at high latitudes due to its lack of wind stirring and penetrative convection, while the Kraus–Turner bulk model produces rather shallow mixed layers in the equatorial region because of its lack of shear-produced mixing. The hybrid model reproduces the good results of the MY2.5 model toward the equator and the bulk model toward high latitudes, thereby taking the advantages of those two models while avoiding their shortcomings.

The hybrid scheme is then implemented in a three-dimensional model of the tropical Pacific Ocean. This leads to an improved simulation of the large-scale equatorial circulation. Compared with the other two commonly used mixing schemes tested in this experiment, the hybrid scheme helps to produce more realistic velocity profiles in the eastern and central equatorial Pacific. This is mainly due to the improved parameterization of interior mixing related to the large shears of the Equatorial Undercurrent. Another feature in this model that is sensitive to the vertical mixing scheme is the equatorial instability waves; in the eastern Pacific Ocean these waves are most energetic when the hybrid scheme is used. The meridional heat flux associated with these waves can be locally important in the mixed layer heat budget.

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John M. Lewis
,
Christopher M. Hayden
, and
Anthony J. Schreiner

Abstract

Comparisons between geopotential analyses derived from rawinsondes (RAOB) and the VISSR Atmospheric Sounder (VAS) generally exhibit differences that are ultimately related to the horizontal density and placement of the respective observations and the vertical resolution inherent in the instruments. In order to overcome some of the inconsistencies that appear, two strategies have been developed which allow the analyses to communicate through the derived variable, geostrophic potential vorticity. The first incorporates the statistics of RAOB derived potential vorticity into the VAS vorticity analysis. This is accomplished by making a least-squares adjustment to VAS while constraining it to have first and second moments identical to the RAOB analysis. The other approach makes mutual least-squares adjustments to RAOB and VAS vorticity analyses subject to the dynamic constraint that forecast and hindcast of potential vorticity to the time midway between analyses are equal. The forecast and hindcast are made from a two-parameter baroclinic model. In both procedures, the heights are recovered from adjusted vorticities by inverting the elliptic operators that relate height to vorticity.

Data from the GOES-East satellite at 1430 GMT 6 March 1982 are used along with rawinsonde data at 1200 GMT to test the schemes. The statistical adjustment approach makes synoptically meaningful adjustments to the VAS analysis over the Gulf of Mexico and Gulf coast region, but fails to correct the obvious discrepancies over the continental United States. The dynamic scheme succeeds in making meaningful adjustments over both the Gulf of Mexico and the continent which result in improved vertical motion fields.

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J. M. Lewis
,
D. Koračin
, and
K. T. Redmond

A historical review of research on sea fog is presented. The period of interest is essentially the twentieth century, beginning with the celebrated work of G. I. Taylor in the aftermath of the Titanic tragedy. It has been argued that relative maxima in fog frequency over the North Atlantic (including the British Isles and the Grand Banks of Newfoundland) and the North Pacific (including the U.S. West Coast) has led to major contributions by scientists in England and the United States. The early work (pre-World War II) tended to be phenomenological—that is, conceptual with broad inference from statistical summaries. Yet, this early work laid the foundation for the numerical modeling that came with the advent of computers in the postwar period. The subtleties associated with sea fog formation and maintenance are explored by analyzing some of the results from the numerical simulations. The essay ends with a speculative view on our prospects for a more complete understanding of sea fog in light of the earlier contributions.

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R. L. Thompson
,
J. M. Lewis
, and
R. A. Maddox

Abstract

The return of tropical air from the Gulf of Mexico is examined in the autumnal cool season. Results from the thermodynamic equilibrium model of Betts and Ridgway are used to calculate the equilibrium equivalent potential temperature (θ e ) over the gulf and the northwestern Caribbean Sea. With a climatological study as a backdrop, a case of severe weather outbreak in mid-November 1988 is analyzed with emphasis on the analysis of low-level θ e that flowed into the storm region from the Gulf of Mexico.

The primary results of the study are the following:

  1. The climatological distribution of equilibrium θ e over the gulf and the Caribbean in November serves as a useful tool for the analysis of the 1988 case study.

  2. Between 5 and 15 November 1988, equilibrium in the marine layer was established over the gulf due to the absence of any deep cold-air penetrations during this period.

  3. The high-valued θ e that streamed into the severe storm region on 15 November 1988 tracked from the Yucatán straits and the northwestern Caribbean over a three-day period.

  4. This air was able to maintain its high-θ e property because of an anomalously warm gulf.

  5. Significant increases in available energy for deep convection could have been anticipated by means of the upper bounds on coastal θ e predicted by the Betts and Ridgway formulation, which was supported by observations along the Texas coast.

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Robert M. Rauber
,
Lewis O. Grant
,
Da Xiong Feng
, and
J. B. Snider

Abstract

The spatial and temporal evolution of supercooled water fields in ten wintertime storm systems occurring over the northern Colorado Rocky Mountain region have been examined using data collected by the recently developed scanning dual-channel microwave radiometer. These data were supported by several independent datasets including vertically pointing radar data, mountaintop liquid water content measurements, low and high altitude measurements of crystal rime characteristic rawinsonde data and precipitation intensity measurements.

The ten case studies discussed in this paper represent various stages in the synoptic scale evolution of storms that affect the northern Colorado Rockies. Liquid water was found to occur in nearly all stages of most of these storms. The temporal variations in the magnitude of the liquid water content were significant.

Three common features concerning the evolution of the liquid water field were observed in the prefrontal cloud systems: 1) an inverse relationship between precipitation rate and liquid water content occurred; 2) a direct relationship between cloud top temperature and liquid water content was observed; and 3) the magnitude of the liquid water content was consistently higher over the mountain slopes.

In the postfrontal cloud systems studied, the liquid water content exhibited little variability upwind of the mountain base but varied considerably in the vicinity of the mountain. In these three storms, the magnitude of the liquid water content over the ridge was inversely related to the precipitation rate at mountain base. Liquid water production near the ridgeline was associated with both orographic and convective forcing.

Three orographic cloud systems are discussed in this paper. These clouds formed in similar synoptic environments. The three systems were shallow, had tops warmer than −22°C, and had limited horizontal extent. As in the previous cases, the changes in the liquid water field were inversely associated with changes in precipitation rate. In one case, a decrease in liquid water content was also associated with a decrease in cloud top temperature.

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Guenter Warnecke
,
Lewis J. Allison
,
Larry M. McMillin
, and
Karl-Heinz Szekielda

Abstract

Nimbus II High Resolution Infrared Radiometer (HRIR) data, sensitive in the 3.4–4.2 μ window, were analyzed over several oceanic regions. Current boundaries such as the north wall of the Gulf Stream have been located consistently within 10 km of the positions indicated by airplane radiation data. With present techniques, primarily designed for meteorological purposes, the Gulf Stream boundary has been seen, at least in significant parts, in about 50 out of 175 days. Similar results have also been obtained in analyses of the Agulhas Current boundary, and the boundary between the Brazil and Falkland Currents. The satellite radiation observations suggest that the Brazil-Falkland Current boundary which is associated with a surface temperature gradient is as sharp and strong as the Gulf Stream North Wall. The Agulhas Current exhibits a similar temperature gradient along its western boundary, separating it from the Benguela Current surface waters.

Comparisons of equivalent blackbody temperatures over the Gulf Stream from Nimbus II with low flying radiometer-equipped aircraft showed that the satellite data were on the average 0.5C warmer.

Seasonal sea surface temperature variations of 9C over the Persian Gulf and Somali region and the upwelling along the Somali Coast during the southwest monsoon were clearly detected in the nighttime HRIR data.

Daytime observations within the 3.4–4.2 μ window have also shown qualitatively the location of major current boundaries.

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