Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 23 items for :

  • Author or Editor: M. D. King x
  • Refine by Access: All Content x
Clear All Modify Search
Michael D. King
and
Dale M. Byrne

Abstract

A solar radiometer has been used to monitor solar irradiance at eight discrete wavelengths. From these monochromatic measurements at varying zenith angles the total optical depth has been deduced by a computerized curve-fitting method. A unique technique will be described whereby the ozone absorption optical depths, and hence total ozone content of the atmosphere, can be inferred directly from the spectral variation of total optical depth. This procedure permits a systematic determination of total ozone content on a daily basis when other measurements are not available. Using the ozone absorption optical depths determined in this manner, the values of aerosol optical depth may be obtained more accurately by subtracting the molecular scattering and estimated ozone absorption contributions from the total optical depth.

A technique is also described for estimating the absorption optical depths at wavelengths where additional molecular absorption other than ozone occurs. Results are presented as 1) daily values of total ozone content and 2) molecular absorption optical depths due to water vapor and oxygen at two of the radiometer wavelengths. The total ozone content exhibits the characteristic seasonal cycle with peak values in April.

Full access
Michael D. King
and
Benjamin M. Herman

Abstract

A statistical technique is developed for inferring the optimum values, of the ground albedo and the effective imaginary term of the complex refractive index of atmospheric particulates. The procedure compares measurements of the ratio of the hemispheric diffuse to directly transmitted solar flux density at the earth's surface with radiative transfer computations of the same as suggested by Herman et al. (1975). A detailed study is presented which shows the extent to which the ratio of diffuse to direct solar radiation is sensitive to many of the radiative transfer parameters. Results indicate that the optical depth and size distribution of atmospheric aerosol particles are the two parameters which uniquely specify the radiation field to the point where ground albedo and index of absorption can be inferred. Varying the real part of the complex refractive index of atmospheric particulates as well as their vertical distribution is found to have a negligible effect on the diffuse-direct ratio. The statistical procedure utilizes a semi-analytic gradient search method from least-squares theory and includes a detailed error analysis.

Full access
P. H. Gudiksen
,
J. M. Leone Jr.
,
C. W. King
,
D. Ruffieux
, and
W. D. Neff

Abstract

An experimental and modeling investigation of nocturnal drainage flows within the Mesa Creek valley in western Colorado revealed their wind and temperature characteristics and the effects of the ambient meteorology on their development. The valley, located about 30 km east of Grand Junction, is situated on the north slopes of the Grand Mesa. It is surrounded by ridges on three sides with low terrain toward the north. The terrain at the higher elevations is characterized by steep slopes that become shallower at the lower elevations. A network of seven meteorological towers and a monostatic solar collected data within the study area from December 1988 through November 1989. Analysis of the experimental data indicated that shallow drainage flows generated over the many individual slopes at the higher elevations converge at the lower elevations to form deeper flows that join with those generated within adjacent drainage areas. The characteristics of the flows generally deviated from those displayed by idealized slope flows due to both internal circulations within the valley and external influences. During the summer, the depths of the flows were typically a few tens of meters along the upper slopes and about 100 m over the upper part of the lower slopes while during the winter, the depths decreased to about 10 and 60 m, respectively. Their frequency of occurrence was highest during the summer or fall, about 50%, when the synoptic-scale influences were minimal. The flows along the upper slopes were particularly susceptible to influences by the ambient meteorology due to minimal terrain shielding. When the larger-scale ambient flows over the Grand Mesa were greater than about 5 m s−1, the surface cooling along the slopes was unable to develop and maintain the surface temperature inversion needed to generate strong drainage flows. The radiative cooling rates of the sloped surfaces, as characterized by net radiation measurements, were correlated with the downslope wind speeds observed along the upper slopes. Thus, a decrease in the observed net radiation level will produce a corresponding decrease in the downslope wind speed. Since temporal changes in net radiation levels are primarily governed by variations in atmospheric moisture, the effect of increased atmospheric moisture is to retard the development of the drainage flows.

In order to place the observations in proper perspective, it was necessary to employ numerical models that account for the physical processes governing the dynamics of the flows. The general features of the wind and temperature characteristics of the valley circulations and the influence of strong ambient winds and atmospheric moisture on the drainage flows over the upper slopes could be accounted for by numerical modeling techniques based on solving the equations of momentum, continuity, and energy coupled with a surface energy budget and a radiation module.

Full access
Jessica R. King
,
Matthew D. Parker
,
Keith D. Sherburn
, and
Gary M. Lackmann

Abstract

Low-CAPE (i.e., CAPE ≤ 1000 J kg−1) severe thunderstorms are common in the greater southeastern United States (including the Tennessee and Ohio valleys). These events are often poorly forecasted, and the environments in which they occur may rapidly evolve. Real-data simulations of 11 low-CAPE severe events and 6 low-CAPE nonsevere events were performed at convection-allowing resolution. Some amount of surface-based destabilization occurred during all simulated events over the 3-h period prior to convection. Most simulated severe events experienced comparatively large destabilization relative to the nonsevere events as a result of surface warming, cooling aloft, and surface moistening. The release of potential instability by large-scale forcing for ascent likely influenced the cooling aloft in some cases. Surface warming was attributable primarily to warm advection and appeared to be an important discriminator between severe and nonsevere simulated events. Severe events were also found to have larger low-level wind shear than nonsevere events, particularly during nocturnal cases. Because of the rapid destabilization that occurred within 3 h in the simulated events, it is evident that 3–6-hourly model output may not be adequate for forecasting severe events in high-shear, low-CAPE environments. Monitoring of high-resolution model forecasts and surface observations may be necessary to identify a rapidly changing severe environment.

Full access
Keith D. Sherburn
,
Matthew D. Parker
,
Jessica R. King
, and
Gary M. Lackmann

Abstract

Severe convection occurring in environments characterized by large amounts of vertical wind shear and limited instability (high-shear, low-CAPE, or “HSLC,” environments) represents a considerable forecasting and nowcasting challenge. Of particular concern, NWS products associated with HSLC convection have low probability of detection and high false alarm rates. Past studies of HSLC convection have examined features associated with single cases; the present work, through composites of numerous cases, illustrates the attributes of “typical” HSLC severe and nonsevere events and identifies features that discriminate between the two. HSLC severe events across the eastern United States typically occur in moist boundary layers within the warm sector or along the cold front of a strong surface cyclone, while those in the western United States have drier boundary layers and more typically occur in the vicinity of a surface triple point or in an upslope regime. The mean HSLC severe event is shown to exhibit stronger forcing for ascent at all levels than its nonsevere counterpart. The majority of EF1 or greater HSLC tornadoes are shown to occur in the southeastern United States, so this region is subjected to the most detailed statistical analysis. Beyond the documented forecasting skill of environmental lapse rates and low-level shear vector magnitude, it is shown that a proxy for the release of potential instability further enhances skill when attempting to identify potentially severe HSLC events. This enhancement is likely associated with the local, in situ CAPE generation provided by this mechanism. Modified forecast parameters including this proxy show considerably improved spatial focusing of the forecast severe threat when compared to existing metrics.

Full access
Michael D. King
,
Dale M. Byrne
,
John A. Reagan
, and
Benjamin M. Herman

Abstract

A multi-wavelength solar radiometer has been used to monitor the directly transmitted solar radiation at discrete wavelengths spaced through the visible and near-infrared wavelength regions. The relative irradiance of the directly transmitted sunlight at each wavelength was measured during the course of each cloud-free day, from which the total optical depth of the atmosphere was determined using the Bouguer-Langley method. From the spectral variation of total optical depth the ozone absorption optical depths, and hence total ozone content of the atmosphere, have been derived. By subtracting the molecular scattering and estimated ozone absorption contributions from the total optical depth, the aerosol optical depth for each day and wavelength can be determined provided the wavelengths selected have no additional molecular absorption bands. Results of this analysis for 133 clear stable days at Tucson, Arizona are presented for a 29-month period between August 1975 and December 1977. Monthly averages of the total and aerosol optical depths are presented for five wavelengths between 0.4400 and 0.8717 μm. The aerosol optical depth obtains a maximum in July and August with a secondary maximum in April and May. The median aerosol optical depth for the entire data set decreases with wavelength from 0.0508 (λ = 0.4400 μm) to 0.0306 (λ = 0.8717 μm). Also presented are daily values of total ozone content which exhibit the characteristic seasonal cycle with peak values in early May and an annual mean value of 275 m atm-cm.

Full access
Michael D. King
,
Dale M. Byrne
,
Benjamin M. Herman
, and
John A. Reagan

Abstract

Columnar aerosol size distributions have been inferred by numerically inverting particulate optical depth measurements as a function of wavelength. An inversion formula which explicitly includes the magnitude of the measurement variances is derived and applied to optical depth measurements obtained in Tucson with a solar radiometer. It is found that the individual size distributions of the aerosol particles (assumed spherical), at least for radii ≳ 0.1 μm, fall into one of three distinctly different categories. Approximately 50% of all distributions examined thus far can best be represented as a composite of a Junge distribution plus a distribution of relatively monodispersed larger particles centered at a radius of about 0.5 μm. Scarcely 20% of the distributions yielded Junge size distributions, while 30% yielded relatively monodispersed distributions of the log-normal or gamma distribution types. A representative selection of each of these types will be presented and discussed. The sensitivity of spectral attenuation measurements to the radii limits and refractive index assumed in the numerical inversion will also be addressed.

Full access
Si-Chee Tsay
,
Philip M. Gabriel
,
Michael D. King
, and
Graeme L. Stephens

Abstract

One of the major sources of uncertainty in climate studies is the detection of cirrus clouds and characterization of their radiative properties. Combinations of water vapor absorption channels (e.g., 1.38 µm), ice-water absorption channels (e.g., 1.64 µm), and atmospheric window channels (e.g., 11 µm) in the imager, together with a lidar profiler on future EOS platforms, will contribute to enhancing our understanding of cirrus clouds.

The aforementioned spectral channels are used in this study to explore the effects exerted by uncertainties in cloud microphysical properties (e.g., particle size distribution) and cloud morphology on the apparent radiative properties, such as spectral reflectance and heating and cooling rate profiles. As in Part I of our previous study, which establishes the foundations of the Fourier-Riccati method of radiative transfer in inhomogeneous media, cloud extinction and scattering functions are characterized by simple spatial variations with measured and hypothesized microphysics to facilitate our understanding of their radiative properties.

Results of this study suggest that (i) while microphysical variations in the scattering and extinction functions of clouds affect the magnitudes of their spectral reflectances, cloud morphology significantly alters the shape of their angular distribution; (ii) spectral reflectances viewed near nadir are least affected by cloud variability; and (iii) cloud morphology can load to spectral heating and cooling rate profiles that differ substantially from their plane-parallel averaged equivalents. Since there are no horizontal thermal gradients in plane-parallel clouds, it may be difficult to correct for this deficiency.

Full access
C. M. Girod
,
G. C. Hurtt
,
S. Frolking
,
J. D. Aber
, and
A. W. King

Abstract

Fire risk and carbon storage are related environmental issues because fire reduction results in carbon storage through the buildup of woody vegetation, and stored carbon is a fuel for fires. The sustainability of the U.S. carbon sink and the extent of fire activity in the next 100 yr depend in part on the type and effectiveness of fire reduction employed. Previous studies have bracketed the range of dynamics from continued fire reduction to the complete failure of fire reduction activities. To improve these estimates, it is necessary to explicitly account for fire reduction in terrestrial models. A new fire reduction submodel that estimates the spatiotemporal pattern of reduction across the United States was developed using gridded data on biomass, climate, land-use, population, and economic factors. To the authors’ knowledge, it is the first large-scale, gridded fire model that explicitly accounts for fire reduction. The model was calibrated to 1° × 1° burned area statistics [Global Burnt Area 2000 Project (GBA-2000)] and compared favorably to three important diagnostics. The model was then implemented in a spatially explicit ecosystem model and used to analyze 1620 scenarios of future fire risk and fire reduction strategies. Under scenarios of climate change and urbanization, burned area and carbon emissions both increased in scenarios where fire reduction efforts were not adjusted to match new patterns of fire risk. Fuel reducing management strategies reduced burned area and fire risk, but also limited carbon storage. These results suggest that to promote carbon storage and minimize fire risk in the future, fire reduction efforts will need to be increased and spatially adjusted and will need to employ a mixture of fuel-reducing and non-fuel-reducing strategies.

Full access
Joshua M. King
,
Christian D. Kummerow
,
Susan C. van den Heever
, and
Matthew R. Igel

Abstract

Observed and modeled rainfall occurrence from shallow (warm) maritime clouds and their composite statistical relationships with cloud macrophysical properties are analyzed and directly compared. Rain falls from ~25% of warm, single-layered, maritime clouds observed by CloudSat and from ~27% of the analogous warm clouds simulated within a large-domain, fine-resolution radiative–convective equilibrium experiment performed using the Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (RAMS), with its sophisticated bin-emulating bulk microphysical scheme. While the fractional occurrence of observed and simulated warm rainfall is found to increase with both increasing column-integrated liquid water and cloud depth, calculations of rainfall occurrence as a joint function of these two macrophysical quantities suggest that the modeled bulk cloud-to-rainwater conversion process is more efficient than observations indicate—in agreement with previous research. Unexpectedly and in opposition to the model-derived relationship, deeper CloudSat-observed warm clouds with little column water mass are more likely to rain than their corresponding shallow counterparts, despite having lower cloud-mean water contents. Given that these composite relationships were derived from statically identified warm clouds, an attempt is made to quantitatively explore rainfall occurrence within the context of the warm cloud life cycle. Extending a previously established cloud-top buoyancy analysis technique, it is shown that rainfall likelihoods from positively buoyant RAMS-simulated clouds more closely resemble the surprising observed relationships than do those derived from negatively buoyant simulated clouds. This suggests that relative to the depiction of warm clouds within the RAMS output, CloudSat observes higher proportions of positively buoyant, developing warm clouds.

Full access