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Kenneth Sassen

After reviewing the indirect evidence for the regional climatic impact of contrail-generated cirrus clouds (contrail-cirrus), the author presents a variety of new measurements indicating the nature and scope of the problem. The assessment concentrates on polarization lidar and radiometric observations of persisting contrails from Salt Lake City, Utah, where an extended Project First ISCCP (International Satellite Cloud Climatology Program) Regional Experiment (FIRE) cirrus cloud dataset from the Facility for Atmospheric Remote Sensing has captured new information in a geographical area previously identified as being affected by relatively heavy air traffic. The following contrail properties are considered: hourly and monthly frequency of occurrence; height, temperature, and relative humidity statistics; visible and infrared radiative impacts; and microphysical content evaluated from in situ data and contrail optical phenomenon such as halos and coronas. Also presented are high-resolution lidar images of contrails from the recent SUCCESS experiment, and the results of an initial attempt to numerically simulate the radiative effects of an observed contrail. The evidence indicates that the direct radiative effects of contrails display the potential for regional climate change at many midlatitude locations, even though the sign of the climatic impact may be uncertain. However, new information suggests that the unusually small particles typical of many persisting contrails may favor the albedo cooling over the greenhouse warming effect, depending on such factors as the geographic distribution and patterns in day versus night aircraft usage.

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N. A. Hughes and A. Henderson-Sellers

Sampling and averaging strategies are as significant an influence upon the resulting cloud climatologies as the resolution of the original cloud archives. An investigation of total cloud amount data, as represented by the U.S. Air Force 3-dimensional nephanalysis, illustrates the effects of temporal and spatial processing. Analysis of mean cloud amount as a function of the standard deviation provides a quantitative method for determining cloud size and assessing regional time series of variability. Careful definition of spatially and temporally homogeneous cloud climatology regions facilitates stratified sampling and could obviate the need for averaged data.

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C. P. Weaver, X.-Z. Liang, J. Zhu, P. J. Adams, P. Amar, J. Avise, M. Caughey, J. Chen, R. C. Cohen, E. Cooter, J. P. Dawson, R. Gilliam, A. Gilliland, A. H. Goldstein, A. Grambsch, D. Grano, A. Guenther, W. I. Gustafson, R. A. Harley, S. He, B. Hemming, C. Hogrefe, H.-C. Huang, S. W. Hunt, D.J. Jacob, P. L. Kinney, K. Kunkel, J.-F. Lamarque, B. Lamb, N. K. Larkin, L. R. Leung, K.-J. Liao, J.-T. Lin, B. H. Lynn, K. Manomaiphiboon, C. Mass, D. McKenzie, L. J. Mickley, S. M. O'neill, C. Nolte, S. N. Pandis, P. N. Racherla, C. Rosenzweig, A. G. Russell, E. Salathé, A. L. Steiner, E. Tagaris, Z. Tao, S. Tonse, C. Wiedinmyer, A. Williams, D. A. Winner, J.-H. Woo, S. WU, and D. J. Wuebbles

This paper provides a synthesis of results that have emerged from recent modeling studies of the potential sensitivity of U.S. regional ozone (O3) concentrations to global climate change (ca. 2050). This research has been carried out under the auspices of an ongoing U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assessment effort to increase scientific understanding of the multiple complex interactions among climate, emissions, atmospheric chemistry, and air quality. The ultimate goal is to enhance the ability of air quality managers to consider global change in their decisions through improved characterization of the potential effects of global change on air quality, including O3 The results discussed here are interim, representing the first phase of the EPA assessment. The aim in this first phase was to consider the effects of climate change alone on air quality, without accompanying changes in anthropogenic emissions of precursor pollutants. Across all of the modeling experiments carried out by the different groups, simulated global climate change causes increases of a few to several parts per billion (ppb) in summertime mean maximum daily 8-h average O3 concentrations over substantial regions of the country. The different modeling experiments in general do not, however, simulate the same regional patterns of change. These differences seem to result largely from variations in the simulated patterns of changes in key meteorological drivers, such as temperature and surface insolation. How isoprene nitrate chemistry is represented in the different modeling systems is an additional critical factor in the simulated O3 response to climate change.

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Michael R. Riches and Frederick A. Koomanoff

The goal of the Department of Energy (DOE) Carbon Dioxide Research Program is to identify possible policy options for government action in response to effects of increased CO2. The achievement of this goal requires a significant increase in our scientific knowledge of the atmosphere, the biosphere, the oceans, and the cryosphere—their interactions and the effects that increasing atmospheric CO2 and other trace gases will have on them. To identify and specify valid choices, a program of directed research is required. The research areas include:

  • Projection of future atmospheric CO2 concentrations
  • Estimation of CO2-induced global/regional climate changes
  • Estimation of crop and ecosystem response to CO2-induced changes
  • Estimation of the effect of CO2-induced climate changes on sea level, fisheries, and human health.

This paper describes the present DOE plan to address the questions related to the global and regional rate of CO2-induced climate change. The objective of the plan is to define the key questions in such a way that research is directed at experiments where answers are needed rather than at experiments where answers can be easily obtained. Only through this kind of focus can we expect to provide the climate-change estimates required for the policy process.

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The Lake Tekapo Experiment (LTEX): An Investigation of Atmospheric Boundary Layer Processes in Complex Terrain

An Investigation of Atmospheric Boundary Layer Processes in Complex Terrain

A. P. Sturman, S. Bradley, P. Drummond, K. Grant, P. Gudiksen, M. Kossmann, H. A. McGowan, A. Oliphant, I. F. Owens, S. Powell, R. Spronken-Smith, and P. Zawar-Reza

A research program on atmospheric boundary layer processes and local wind regimes in complex terrain was conducted in the vicinity of Lake Tekapo in the southern Alps of New Zealand, during two 1-month field campaigns in 1997 and 1999. The effects of the interaction of thermal and dynamic forcing were of specific interest, with a particular focus on the interaction of thermal forcing of differing scales. The rationale and objectives of the field and modeling program are described, along with the methodology used to achieve them. Specific research aims include improved knowledge of the role of surface forcing associated with varying energy balances across heterogeneous terrain, thermal influences on boundary layer and local wind development, and dynamic influences of the terrain through channeling effects. Data were collected using a network of surface meteorological and energy balance stations, radiosonde and pilot balloon soundings, tethered balloon and kite-based systems, sodar, and an instrumented light aircraft. These data are being used to investigate the energetics of surface heat fluxes, the effects of localized heating/cooling and advective processes on atmospheric boundary layer development, and dynamic channeling. A complementary program of numerical modeling includes application of the Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (RAMS) to case studies characterizing typical boundary layer structures and airflow patterns observed around Lake Tekapo. Some initial results derived from the special observation periods are used to illustrate progress made to date. In spite of the difficulties involved in obtaining good data and undertaking modeling experiments in such complex terrain, initial results show that surface thermal heterogeneity has a significant influence on local atmospheric structure and wind fields in the vicinity of the lake. This influence occurs particularly in the morning. However, dynamic channeling effects and the larger-scale thermal effect of the mountain region frequently override these more local features later in the day.

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David R. Smith, William A. Krayer, Kathryn M. Ginger, Michael A. Rosenthal, Jo Ann P. Mulvany, Walter Sanford, Juanita J. Matkins, Loisteen E. Harrell, Bonnie Smith, G. Jayne Koester, Richard L. Lees, John D. Moore, and Frankie C. Vann

Project ATMOSPHERE Atmospheric Education Resource Agents (AERAs) from the mid-Atlantic states conducted their second annual regional workshop for teachers. The focus of this conference was hazardous weather. Over 150 educators from 10 states and the District of Columbia attended this one-day event held in Silver Spring, Maryland. The workshop included presentations by meteorologists and scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, private corporations, and universities as well as by the AERAs themselves. The presentations were designed to develop basic understandings about hazardous weather and to provide guidance about how to deal with its effects. The orientation of the program was hands on, including a number of activities for teachers to implement in the classroom. This conference demonstrates how educators and scientists can form partnerships to improve science education.

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Graeme L. Stephens, Stephen K. Cox, Paul W. Stackhouse Jr., John Davis, and the AT622 Class

This paper describes a classroom project that exposes students to research data collected during the Cirrus II First ISCCP (International Satellite Cloud Climatology Program) Regional Experiment Information Systems Office from Parsons, Kansas, during November and December 1991. The data employed in this project were primarily those obtained from a Michelson interferometer. The students were assigned a number of tasks that were aimed at (i) providing them with a basic understanding of a Michelson interferometer and, most importantly, an appreciation of the importance of calibration, (ii) understanding the spectral distribution of clear-sky emission and identifying major gaseous absorption features, (iii) understanding the effects of cirrus clouds on the emission spectrum, and finally (iv) learning how these spectra may be used to derive certain properties of the clouds and in so doing appreciate some of the limitations and ambiguities of this particular type of remote sensing.

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Kenneth E. Kunkel, Stanley A. Changnon, Steven E. Hollinger, Beth C. Reinke, Wayne M. Wendland, and James R. Angel

Effective responses by government agencies, businesses, and private industry to climate disasters such as the disastrous Mississippi River flood of 1993 hinge on the regional availability of diverse up-to-date weather, climate, and water information. In addition to the obvious need for accurate forecasts and warnings of severe weather and floods, other types of meteorologically based information can contribute to effective responses. Some examples of information requested during and after the 1993 flood include 1) hydroclimatic assessments of the magnitude of the event, 2) agricultural assessments of the impacts of heavy rains and flooding on corn and soybean production, and 3) probabilistic outlooks of the recurrence of flooding based on soil moisture conditions. Quick responses to these climate information needs necessitate 1) a real-time climate monitoring system, 2) physical models to assess effects and impacts, and 3) scientific expertise to address complex issues.

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Christopher P. Weaver and Roni Avissar

This study documents significant atmospheric effects over the U.S. central plains caused by human modification of the landscape. Using observations and an atmospheric model, it is shown here that diurnal, thermally induced circulations occur during summer over a 250 × 250 km region in Oklahoma and Kansas. Furthermore, it is shown that the driving force behind these circulations is the landscape heterogeneity resulting from differential land use patterns, that such atmospheric phenomena are characteristic of surfaces with this type of heterogeneity and not limited to infrequent days when unusual wind or other meteorological conditions prevail, and that the net effect of these motions is significant, not only locally, but also at the regional and global scales.

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Richard A. Anthes

This paper summarizes recent studies of a variety of atmospheric phenomena in different parts of the world using the Penn State/NCAR mesoscale model. These phenomena include explosive cyclogenesis over the North Pacific and North Atlantic oceans, cyclogenesis over Europe and associated ozone transport during the ALPEX experiment, heavy rainfall and flash flood events over Pennsylvania and China, “Plateau” and “Southwest” vortices over China, severe storms over the United States, mesoscale convective complexes, elevated mixed layers and “lids,” an Australian Southerly Buster, low-level damming of cold air to the east of the United States Appalachian Mountains in winter, urban heat island effects, and regional acid deposition. This paper also reviews Observing System Simulation experiments (OSSEs), several sensitivity studies, the nesting of the mesoscale model in a global climate model for regional climate studies, and some recent real-time forecasting studies conducted by The Pennsylvania State University.

An important result of these and earlier studies is that a general mesoscale model with realistic treatment of surface conditions and physical processes, and initialized with good large-scale conditions is capable of simulating and predicting a large variety of synoptic and mesoscale phenomena in different parts of the world. The model simulations also provide high-resolution, dynamically consistent data sets which are useful in understanding the physical behavior of complex mesoscale systems.

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