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Verner E. Suomi

Energy production, distribution, and use will need to be continuously “managed” into the indefinite future. Part of this management will involve an understanding of how our future energy uses will affect the global environment and how the global environment will affect our energy uses.

The atmospheric system is intimately linked to energy production and to environmental impact. Of special importance is the extreme variability of weather and climate and their pervasive nature in almost all phases of human activities. The atmosphere may have been too lightly regarded for its energy relationships in recent decades.

The Dixy Lee Ray Report The Nation's Energy Future (1973) recommended increased basic research in those areas of the social and physical sciences related to energy systems and their uses. The atmospheric sciences can contribute substantially to research in this area.

The present report identifies those parts of various energy systems that are especially sensitive to weather variability. The report focuses attention on those aspects of the atmospheric sciences that could contribute substantially to improved utilization, efficiency, and conservation of future energy systems and resources.

From the text of the report we select and recommend a significant increase in basic research in the following areas of the atmospheric sciences:

  1. Short-range and long-range specification and prediction of weather variables directly related to energy system operations.
  2. Atmospheric dispersion and chemical transformations of pollutants, particularly in the planetary boundary layer.
  3. The control of radiation and temperature through cloud modification.
  4. Micrometeorological and microclimatic effects on agricultural productivity and efficiency.

In addition, we recommend any energy-oriented basic research program in the atmospheric sciences participate in the emerging redirection of the nation's global atmospheric research program (GARP) to assure relevance of climatic information to energy problems.

We recognize the probability of success may be small in the areas of extended-range forecasting and certain aspects of weather modification. However, these probabilities are not zero, and almost any measure of success would have a great impact on energy systems.

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Verner E. Suomi and Robert J. Parent
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David W. Martin and Verner E. Suomi

Signal enhancement is advanced as a method for isolating selected features of ATS images. The discussion covers enhancement theory, limitations, and one important application, the isolation of deep convection within tropical cloud clusters. Comparisons of brightness contoured ATS images with radar images from BOMEX test the validity of associating deep convection with very bright clouds. The enhancement technique is then applied in a census of Atlantic cloud clusters, and in case studies of individual clusters.

It is shown that in spite of difficulties involving control of the ATS signal, enhancement is an effective, precise tool for isolating selected features of ATS images. Comparisons of ATS and radar images establish a high correlation of bright areas on ATS with large radar echoes; therefore, enhanced ATS pictures emphasizing the upper levels of the brightness range effectively isolate deep convection. The brightness structure of convective clouds is such that they can be studied over a three-to four-hour period around local noon on pictures uncorrected for changes of incident and reflected radiation. A simple cosine law correction for incident radiation can appreciably extend this period.

The census and case studies show that the eastern Atlantic was at least as convectively active as the western Atlantic during June and July, 1969, and had a significantly greater total area of cloud clusters in 1969 and 1970. Convective cores have a great range of size, spacing, and lifetime: nevertheless, an ordering invariably can be perceived. This most often is in the form of lines or bands; waves, spirals, or solitary cores are also observed. Lifetimes are a few minutes to several hours or more; large cores last longer. Displacement of cloud clusters is accomplished by a complex combination of band and cell movement and propagation. Structure, as evidenced by core behavior, is varied and complex.

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Earl G. Droessler, Wallace E. Howell, Verner E. Suomi, and Helmut Weickmann
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James R. Greaves, Geoffrey DiMego, William L. Smith, and Verner E. Suomi
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