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Stephen D. Eckermann
,
Cory A. Barton
, and
James F. Kelly

Abstract

The virtual temperature used to model moisture-modified tropospheric dynamics is generalized to include a new thermospheric component. The resulting hybrid virtual potential temperature (HVPT) transitions seamlessly with height, from moist virtual potential temperature (MVPT) in the troposphere, to potential temperature in the stratosphere and mesosphere, to thermospheric virtual potential temperature thereafter. For numerical weather prediction (NWP) models looking to extend into the thermosphere, but still heavily invested in retaining MVPT-based dynamical cores for tropospheric prediction, upgrading to HVPT allows the core to capture critical new aspects of variable composition thermospheric dynamics, while leaving the original MVPT-based tropospheric equations and numerics essentially untouched. In this way, HVPT augmentation can both simplify and streamline extension into the thermosphere at little computational cost beyond the inevitable need for more vertical layers and somewhat smaller time steps. To demonstrate, we upgrade the MVPT-based dynamical core of the Navy global NWP model to HVPT, then test its performance in forecasting analytical globally balanced states containing hot or rapidly heated thermospheres and height-varying gas constants. These tests confirm that HVPT augmentation offers an efficient and effective means of extending MVPT-based NWP models into the thermosphere to accelerate development of future ground-to-space NWP models supporting space weather applications. The related issues of variable gravitational acceleration and shallow-atmosphere approximations are also briefly discussed.

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Stephen D. Eckermann
,
Dave Broutman
,
Jun Ma
, and
John Lindeman

Abstract

A time-dependent generalization of a Fourier-ray method is presented and tested for fast numerical computation of high-resolution nonhydrostatic mountain-wave fields. The method is used to model mountain waves from Jan Mayen on 25 January 2000, a period when wavelike cloud banding was observed long distances downstream of the island by the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer Version 3 (AVHRR-3). Surface weather patterns show intensifying surface geostrophic winds over the island at 1200 UTC caused by rapid eastward passage of a compact low pressure system. The 1200 UTC wind profiles over the island increase with height to a jet maximum of ∼60–70 m s−1, yielding Scorer parameters that indicate vertical trapping of any short wavelength mountain waves. Separate Fourier-ray solutions were computed using high-resolution Jan Mayen orography and 1200 UTC vertical profiles of winds and temperatures over the island from a radiosonde sounding and an analysis system. The radiosonde-based simulations produce a purely diverging trapped wave solution that reproduces the salient features in the AVHRR-3 imagery. Differences in simulated wave patterns governed by the radiosonde and analysis profiles are explained in terms of resonant modes and are corroborated by spatial ray-group trajectories computed for wavenumbers along the resonant mode curves. Output from a nonlinear Lipps–Hemler orographic flow model also compares well with the Fourier-ray solution horizontally. Differences in vertical cross sections are ascribed to the Fourier-ray model’s current omission of tunneling of trapped wave energy through evanescent layers.

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Dave Broutman
,
Jun Ma
,
Stephen D. Eckermann
, and
John Lindeman

Abstract

The Fourier-ray method involves ray tracing in a Fourier-transform domain. The ray solutions are then Fourier synthesized to produce a spatial solution. Here previous steady-state developments of the Fourier-ray method are extended to include a transient source of mountain waves. The method is illustrated with an initial value problem in which the background flow is started abruptly from rest and then maintained at steady velocity. The resulting wave transience is modeled in a simple way. All rays that radiate from the mountain, including the initial rays, are assigned the full amplitude of the longtime steady-state solution. Time dependence comes in through the changing position of the initial rays. This is sufficient to account for wave transience in a test case, as demonstrated by comparison with simulations from a mesoscale numerical model.

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John P. McCormack
,
Stephen D. Eckermann
, and
Timothy F. Hogan

Abstract

Many operational numerical weather prediction (NWP) systems now extend into the stratosphere and are beginning to be used to generate forecasts beyond conventional 5–10-day periods out to seasonal time scales. Past observational and modeling studies have shown that the quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) in equatorial stratospheric winds can play an important role in stratosphere–troposphere dynamical coupling over these longer time scales. Consequently, stratosphere-resolving NWP models used to generate seasonal forecasts should contain the necessary physics to generate and maintain the QBO. This study describes several key modifications that were necessary to produce a QBO in a high-altitude NWP model, which include an increase in model vertical resolution, implementation of a computationally efficient stochastic gravity wave drag parameterization, and reductions in the amount of horizontal and vertical diffusion in the stratosphere. Results from a 10-yr free-running model simulation with these modifications show that the westerly QBO phase produces lower temperatures and stronger westerly flow in the Northern Hemisphere (NH) winter polar stratosphere compared to the easterly QBO phase. Ensembles of 120-day simulations over the December–March period show that these modifications replace persistent easterly flow in the equatorial lower stratosphere with a more realistic transition from easterly to westerly flow. The resulting changes in planetary wave propagation produce a statistically significant response in the dynamics of the NH extratropical stratosphere consistent with the Holton–Tan relationship. The westerly shift in equatorial winds also produces a significant response in the NH extratropical troposphere, where the sea level pressure differences in winter resemble the positive phase of the northern annular mode.

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Stephen D. Eckermann
,
John P. McCormack
,
Jun Ma
,
Timothy F. Hogan
, and
Katherine A. Zawdie

Abstract

Past investigations have documented large divergent wind anomalies in stratospheric reanalyses over steep terrain, which were attributed to discretization errors produced by the terrain-following (sigma) vertical coordinate in the forecast model. However, forecasting experiments have reported negligible differences in skill between sigma- and hybrid-coordinate models. This leads to the paradoxical conclusion that discretization errors in the forecast model yield significant stratospheric analysis errors, but insignificant stratospheric forecast errors. The authors reexamine this issue by performing two forecast-assimilation experiments that are identical except for the vertical coordinate: one uses a sigma coordinate and the other uses a hybrid coordinate. The sigma-coordinate analyses exhibit large divergent wind anomalies over terrain that extend from the surface to the model top and distort explicitly resolved orographic gravity waves. Above the tropopause, divergent wind errors are suppressed by an order of magnitude or more in the hybrid-coordinate analyses. Over a 3-month period, stratospheric skill scores in the hybrid experiment show statistically significant improvements relative to the sigma experiment. Previous studies, which found no such differences, all used forecasts initialized from a common archived analysis. The results show that the dominant pathway for error growth and net skill impacts is via 0–9-h forecast backgrounds cycling successively through the data assimilation phase without significant observational correction. The skill impacts noted here should further motivate weather and climate models to adopt a hybrid coordinate with the best error suppression characteristics for a given modeling application.

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Karl W. Hoppel
,
Stephen D. Eckermann
,
Lawrence Coy
,
Gerald E. Nedoluha
,
Douglas R. Allen
,
Steven D. Swadley
, and
Nancy L. Baker

Abstract

Upper atmosphere sounding (UAS) channels of the Special Sensor Microwave Imager/Sounder (SSMIS) were assimilated using a high-altitude version of the Navy Global Environmental Model (NAVGEM) in order to investigate their potential for operational forecasting from the surface to the mesospause. UAS radiances were assimilated into NAVGEM using the new Community Radiative Transfer Model (CRTM) that accounts for Zeeman line splitting by geomagnetic fields. UAS radiance data from April 2010 to March 2011 are shown to be in good agreement with coincident temperature measurements from the Sounding of the Atmosphere Using Broadband Emission Radiometry (SABER) instrument that were used to simulate UAS brightness temperatures. Four NAVGEM experiments were performed during July 2010 that assimilated (i) no mesospheric observations, (ii) UAS data only, (iii) SABER and Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) mesospheric temperatures only, and (iv) SABER, MLS, and UAS data. Zonal mean temperatures and observation − forecast differences for the UAS-only and SABER+MLS experiments are similar throughout most of the mesosphere, and show large improvements over the experiment assimilating no mesospheric observations, proving that assimilation of UAS radiances can provide a reliable large-scale constraint throughout the mesosphere for operational, high-altitude analysis. This is confirmed by comparison of solar migrating tides and the quasi-two-day wave in the mesospheric analyses. The UAS-only experiment produces realistic tidal and two-day wave amplitudes in the summer mesosphere in agreement with the experiments assimilating MLS and SABER observations, whereas the experiment with no mesospheric observations produces excessively strong mesospheric winds and two-day wave amplitudes.

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Sonja Gisinger
,
Andreas Dörnbrack
,
Vivien Matthias
,
James D. Doyle
,
Stephen D. Eckermann
,
Benedikt Ehard
,
Lars Hoffmann
,
Bernd Kaifler
,
Christopher G. Kruse
, and
Markus Rapp

Abstract

This paper describes the results of a comprehensive analysis of the atmospheric conditions during the Deep Propagating Gravity Wave Experiment (DEEPWAVE) campaign in austral winter 2014. Different datasets and diagnostics are combined to characterize the background atmosphere from the troposphere to the upper mesosphere. How weather regimes and the atmospheric state compare to climatological conditions is reported upon and how they relate to the airborne and ground-based gravity wave observations is also explored. Key results of this study are the dominance of tropospheric blocking situations and low-level southwesterly flows over New Zealand during June–August 2014. A varying tropopause inversion layer was found to be connected to varying vertical energy fluxes and is, therefore, an important feature with respect to wave reflection. The subtropical jet was frequently diverted south from its climatological position at 30°S and was most often involved in strong forcing events of mountain waves at the Southern Alps. The polar front jet was typically responsible for moderate and weak tropospheric forcing of mountain waves. The stratospheric planetary wave activity amplified in July leading to a displacement of the Antarctic polar vortex. This reduced the stratospheric wind minimum by about 10 m s−1 above New Zealand making breaking of large-amplitude gravity waves more likely. Satellite observations in the upper stratosphere revealed that orographic gravity wave variances for 2014 were largest in May–July (i.e., the period of the DEEPWAVE field phase).

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Douglas R. Allen
,
Lawrence Coy
,
Stephen D. Eckermann
,
John P. McCormack
,
Gloria L. Manney
,
Timothy F. Hogan
, and
Young-Joon Kim

Abstract

A high-altitude version of the Navy Operational Global Atmospheric Prediction System (NOGAPS) spectral forecast model is used to simulate the unusual September 2002 Southern Hemisphere stratospheric major warming. Designated as NOGAPS-Advanced Level Physics and High Altitude (NOGAPS-ALPHA), this model extends from the surface to 0.005 hPa (∼85 km altitude) and includes modifications to multiple components of the operational NOGAPS system, including a new radiative heating scheme, middle-atmosphere gravity wave drag parameterizations, hybrid vertical coordinate, upper-level meteorological initialization, and radiatively active prognostic ozone with parameterized photochemistry. NOGAPS-ALPHA forecasts (hindcasts) out to 6 days capture the main features of the major warming, such as the zonal mean wind reversal, planetary-scale wave amplification, large upward Eliassen–Palm (EP) fluxes, and splitting of the polar vortex in the middle stratosphere. Forecasts beyond 6 days have reduced upward EP flux in the lower stratosphere, reduced amplitude of zonal wavenumbers 2 and 3, and a middle stratospheric vortex that does not split. Three-dimensional EP-flux diagnostics in the troposphere reveal that the longer forecasts underestimate upward-propagating planetary wave energy emanating from a significant blocking pattern over the South Atlantic that played a large role in forcing the major warming. Forecasts of less than 6 days are initialized with the blocking in place, and therefore are not required to predict the blocking onset. For a more thorough skill assessment, NOGAPS-ALPHA forecasts over 3 weeks during September–October 2002 are compared with operational NOGAPS 5-day forecasts made at the time. NOGAPS-ALPHA forecasts initialized with 2002 operational NOGAPS analyses show a modest improvement in skill over the NOGAPS operational forecasts. An additional, larger improvement is obtained when NOGAPS-ALPHA is initialized with reanalyzed 2002 fields produced with the currently operational (as of October 2003) Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) Atmospheric Variational Data Assimilation System (NAVDAS). Thus the combination of higher model top, better physical parameterizations, and better initial conditions all yield improved forecasting skill over the NOGAPS forecasts issued operationally at the time.

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Om P. Tripathi
,
Mark Baldwin
,
Andrew Charlton-Perez
,
Martin Charron
,
Jacob C. H. Cheung
,
Stephen D. Eckermann
,
Edwin Gerber
,
David R. Jackson
,
Yuhji Kuroda
,
Andrea Lang
,
Justin McLay
,
Ryo Mizuta
,
Carolyn Reynolds
,
Greg Roff
,
Michael Sigmond
,
Seok-Woo Son
, and
Tim Stockdale

Abstract

The first multimodel study to estimate the predictability of a boreal sudden stratospheric warming (SSW) is performed using five NWP systems. During the 2012/13 boreal winter, anomalous upward propagating planetary wave activity was observed toward the end of December, which was followed by a rapid deceleration of the westerly circulation around 2 January 2013, and on 7 January 2013 the zonal-mean zonal wind at 60°N and 10 hPa reversed to easterly. This stratospheric dynamical activity was followed by an equatorward shift of the tropospheric jet stream and by a high pressure anomaly over the North Atlantic, which resulted in severe cold conditions in the United Kingdom and northern Europe. In most of the five models, the SSW event was predicted 10 days in advance. However, only some ensemble members in most of the models predicted weakening of westerly wind when the models were initialized 15 days in advance of the SSW. Further dynamical analysis of the SSW shows that this event was characterized by the anomalous planetary wavenumber-1 amplification followed by the anomalous wavenumber-2 amplification in the stratosphere, which resulted in a split vortex occurring between 6 and 8 January 2013. The models have some success in reproducing wavenumber-1 activity when initialized 15 days in advance, but they generally failed to produce the wavenumber-2 activity during the final days of the event. Detailed analysis shows that models have reasonably good skill in forecasting tropospheric blocking features that stimulate wavenumber-2 amplification in the troposphere, but they have limited skill in reproducing wavenumber-2 amplification in the stratosphere.

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Stephen D. Eckermann
,
Jun Ma
,
Karl W. Hoppel
,
David D. Kuhl
,
Douglas R. Allen
,
James A. Doyle
,
Kevin C. Viner
,
Benjamin C. Ruston
,
Nancy L. Baker
,
Steven D. Swadley
,
Timothy R. Whitcomb
,
Carolyn A. Reynolds
,
Liang Xu
,
N. Kaifler
,
B. Kaifler
,
Iain M. Reid
,
Damian J. Murphy
, and
Peter T. Love

Abstract

A data assimilation system (DAS) is described for global atmospheric reanalysis from 0- to 100-km altitude. We apply it to the 2014 austral winter of the Deep Propagating Gravity Wave Experiment (DEEPWAVE), an international field campaign focused on gravity wave dynamics from 0 to 100 km, where an absence of reanalysis above 60 km inhibits research. Four experiments were performed from April to September 2014 and assessed for reanalysis skill above 50 km. A four-dimensional variational (4DVAR) run specified initial background error covariances statically. A hybrid-4DVAR (HYBRID) run formed background error covariances from an 80-member forecast ensemble blended with a static estimate. Each configuration was run at low and high horizontal resolution. In addition to operational observations below 50 km, each experiment assimilated 105 observations of the mesosphere and lower thermosphere (MLT) every 6 h. While all MLT reanalyses show skill relative to independent wind and temperature measurements, HYBRID outperforms 4DVAR. MLT fields at 1-h resolution (6-h analysis and 1–5-h forecasts) outperform 6-h analysis alone due to a migrating semidiurnal (SW2) tide that dominates MLT dynamics and is temporally aliased in 6-h time series. MLT reanalyses reproduce observed SW2 winds and temperatures, including phase structures and 10–15-day amplitude vacillations. The 0–100-km reanalyses reveal quasi-stationary planetary waves splitting the stratopause jet in July over New Zealand, decaying from 50 to 80 km then reintensifying above 80 km, most likely via MLT forcing due to zonal asymmetries in stratospheric gravity wave filtering.

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