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  • Author or Editor: Jason Nachamkin x
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Jason E. Nachamkin, Yi Jin, Lewis D. Grasso, and Kim Richardson


Cloud-top verification is inherently difficult because of large uncertainties in the estimates of observed cloud-top height. Misplacement of cloud top associated with transmittance through optically thin cirrus is one of the most common problems. Forward radiative models permit a direct comparison of predicted and observed radiance, but uncertainties in the vertical position of clouds remain. In this work, synthetic brightness temperatures are compared with forecast cloud-top heights so as to investigate potential errors and develop filters to remove optically thin ice clouds. Results from a statistical analysis reveal that up to 50% of the clouds with brightness temperatures as high as 280 K are actually optically thin cirrus. The filters successfully removed most of the thin ice clouds, allowing for the diagnosis of very specific errors. The results indicate a strong negative bias in midtropospheric cloud cover in the model, as well as a lack of land-based convective cumuliform clouds. The model also predicted an area of persistent stratus over the North Atlantic Ocean that was not apparent in the observations. In contrast, high cloud tops associated with deep convection were well simulated, as were mesoscale areas of enhanced trade cumulus coverage in the Sargasso Sea.

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Jason E. Nachamkin, John Cook, Mike Frost, Daniel Martinez, and Gary Sprung


Lagrangian parcel models are often used to predict the fate of airborne hazardous material releases. The atmospheric input for these integrations is typically supplied by surrounding surface and upper-air observations. However, situations may arise in which observations are unavailable and numerical model forecasts may be the only source of atmospheric data. In this study, the quality of the atmospheric forecasts for use in dispersion applications is investigated as a function of the horizontal grid spacing of the atmospheric model. The Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere Mesoscale Prediction System (COAMPS) was used to generate atmospheric forecasts for 14 separate Dipole Pride 26 trials. The simulations consisted of four telescoping one-way nested grids with horizontal spacings of 27, 9, 3, and 1 km, respectively. The 27- and 1-km forecasts were then used as input for dispersion forecasts using the Hazard Prediction Assessment Capability (HPAC) modeling system. The resulting atmospheric and dispersion forecasts were then compared with meteorological and gas-dosage observations collected during Dipole Pride 26. Although the 1-km COAMPS forecasts displayed considerably more detail than those on the 27-km grid, the RMS and bias statistics associated with the atmospheric observations were similar. However, statistics from the HPAC forecasts showed the 1-km atmospheric forcing produced more accurate trajectories than the 27-km output when compared with the dosage measurements.

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