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A. R. Robinson
,
N. E. Huang
,
C. D. Leitao
, and
C. G. Parra

Abstract

Altimeter data obtained from GEOS-3 during the three year period 1975–78 for a region of the western North Atlantic which includes a portion of the Gulf Stream system and part of the open ocean area of the subtropical gyre are analyzed by a new technique which utilizes all the points along the satellite tracks. The physical phenomenon studied are the time-variable but almost geostrophic currents, or mesoscale eddies, so that geoid errors contaminate the scientific signal minimally and the dynamical interpretation is direct. Results presented include the spatial distribution of geostrophic eddy kinetic energy and examples of a synoptic map of the eddy field (April 1977) and of a time series at a point. These results are compared to and synthesized with a diverse and selected set of existing measurements and observations obtained in situ by a variety of instrumental techniques. The agreement is generally good, and the altimeter data analyzed provides new information on features in the map of mean eddy kinetic energy. The implications are that satellite altimetry will serve as a powerful quantitative tool in eddy current research and that even presently archived data contains further useful scientific information.

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Allan R. Robinson
,
James A. Carton
,
Nadia Pinardi
, and
Christopher N. K. Mooers

Abstract

In order to perform real-time dynamical forecasts and hindcasts, three high-resolution hydrographic surveys were made of a (150 km)2 domain off northern California, providing two sets of initialization and verification fields. The data was objectively analyzed and regularly gridded for model compatibility. These maps initially show an anticyclonic eddy segment in the northeast and part of another in the northwest. Two weeks later only the northwest anticyclonic eddy remained, with the domain center dominated by a 0.6 m s−1 jet. Two weeks after that only a larger northwest eddy with fairly weak velocities remained. Numerical forecasts with persistent boundary conditions and forecast experiments with boundary conditions linearly interpolated between surveys were performed. The real-time forecast successfully predicted the formation of the zonal jet prior to its observation. Dynamical interpolation shows unambiguously that the two anticyclonic eddies have merged and formed a single eddy. Even the forecast with incorrect boundary conditions demonstrates the internal dynamical processes involved in the merger event.

Two examples are given of four-dimensional data assimilation: direct insertion and a backward-forward combination technique. These results justify the use of the dynamical forecasts as synoptic time series. Parameter sensitivity experiments were performed to determine the sensitivity of the model to physical parameters such as stratification, to explore the dynamical balance, and to choose a reference level. The dynamics were found to be controlled by horizontal nonlinear interactions. A reference level of 1550 m was chosen. A set of energy and vorticity equations, consistent with quasi-geostrophic dynamics, were evaluated term by term for the forecast experiments. The evolutions of the streamfunction and vorticity fields are shown to be a three-phase (merging, expanding, and relaxation) process. Available gravitational energy increases due to buoyancy work; the merger event is interpreted as a finite amplitude barotropic instability process.

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A. R. Robinson
,
H. G. Arango
,
A. J. Miller
,
A. Warn-Varnas
,
P.-M. Poulain
, and
W. G. Leslie

Real-time operational shipboard forecasts of Iceland–Faeroe frontal variability were executed for the first time with a primitive equation model. High quality, intensive hydrographic surveys during August 1993 were used for initialization, updating, and validation of the forecasts. Vigorous and rapid synoptic events occurred over several-day timescales including a southeastward reorientation of the Iceland–Faeroe Front and the development of a strong, cold deep-sock meander. A qualitative and quantitative assessment of the skill of these forecasts shows they captured the essential features of both events. The anomaly pattern correlation coefficient and the rms error between forecast and observed fields are particularly impressive (and substantially superior to persistence) for the forecast of the cold meander.

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Michael F. Squires
,
Jay H. Lawrimore
,
Richard R. Heim Jr.
,
David A. Robinson
,
Mathieu R. Gerbush
, and
Thomas W. Estilow

This paper describes a new snowfall index that quantifies the impact of snowstorms within six climate regions in the United States. The regional snowfall index (RSI) is based on the spatial extent of snowfall accumulation, the amount of snowfall, and the juxtaposition of these elements with population. Including population information provides a measure of the societal susceptibility for each region. The RSI is an evolution of the Northeast snowfall impact scale (NESIS), which NOAA's National Climatic Data Center began producing operationally in 2006. While NESIS was developed for storms that had a major impact in the Northeast, it includes all snowfall during the lifetime of a storm across the United States and as such can be thought of as a quasi-national index that is calibrated to Northeast snowstorms. By contrast, the RSI is a regional index calibrated to specific regions using only the snow that falls within that region. This paper describes the methodology used to compute the RSI, which requires region-specific parameters and thresholds, and its application within six climate regions in the eastern two-thirds of the nation. The process used to select the region-specific parameters and thresholds is explained. The new index has been calculated for over 580 snowstorms that occurred between 1900 and 2013 providing a century-scale historical perspective for these snowstorms. The RSI is computed for category 1 or greater storms in near–real time, usually a day after the storm has ended.

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Kenneth E. Kunkel
,
Michael A. Palecki
,
Kenneth G. Hubbard
,
David A. Robinson
,
Kelly T. Redmond
, and
David R. Easterling

Abstract

There is an increasing interest in examining long-term trends in measures of snow climatology. An examination of the U.S. daily snowfall records for 1900–2004 revealed numerous apparent inconsistencies. For example, long-term snowfall trends among neighboring lake-effect stations differ greatly from insignificant to +100% century−1. Internal inconsistencies in the snow records, such as a lack of upward trends in maximum seasonal snow depth at stations with large upward trends in snowfall, point to inhomogeneities. Nationwide, the frequency of daily observations with a 10:1 snowfall-to-liquid-equivalent ratio declined from 30% in the 1930s to a current value of around 10%, a change that is clearly due to observational practice. There then must be biases in cold-season liquid-equivalent precipitation, or snowfall, or both. An empirical adjustment of snow-event, liquid-equivalent precipitation indicates that the potential biases can be statistically significant.

Examples from this study show that there are nonclimatic issues that complicate the identification of and significantly change the trends in snow variables. Thus, great care should be taken in interpretation of time series of snow-related variables from the Cooperative Observer Program (COOP) network. Furthermore, full documentation of optional practices should be required of network observers so that future users of these data can properly account for such practices.

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R. S. Lieberman
,
W. A. Robinson
,
S. J. Franke
,
R. A. Vincent
,
J. R. Isler
,
D. C. Fritts
,
A. H. Manson
,
C. E. Meek
,
G. J. Fraser
,
A. Fahrutdinova
,
W. Hocking
,
T. Thayaparan
,
J. MacDougall
,
K. Igarashi
,
T. Nakamura
, and
T. Tsuda

Abstract

High Resolution Doppler Imager (HRDI) measurements of daytime and nighttime winds at 95 km are used to deduce seasonally averaged Eulerian mean meridional winds during six solstice periods. These estimates are compared with seasonally averaged radar meridional winds and with results from dynamical and empirical wind models. HRDI mean meridional winds are directed from the summer pole toward the winter pole over much of the globe. Peak equatorward winds of about 15 m s−1 are usually observed in the summer hemisphere near 30°. A local minimum in the equatorward winds is often observed poleward of this latitude, with winds approaching zero or reversing direction. A similar structure is seen in contemporaneous radar winds. This behavior differs from residual meridional wind patterns predicted by models. The discrepancies may be related to gravity wave paramaterizations or a consequence of planetary wave influences.

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Robert J. Trapp
,
Karen A. Kosiba
,
James N. Marquis
,
Matthew R. Kumjian
,
Stephen W. Nesbitt
,
Joshua Wurman
,
Paola Salio
,
Maxwell A. Grover
,
Paul Robinson
, and
Deanna A. Hence

Abstract

On 10 November 2018, during the RELAMPAGO field campaign in Argentina, South America, a thunderstorm with supercell characteristics was observed by an array of mobile observing instruments, including three Doppler on Wheels radars. In contrast to the archetypal supercell described in the Glossary of Meteorology, the updraft rotation in this storm was rather short lived (~25 min), causing some initial doubt as to whether this indeed was a supercell. However, retrieved 3D winds from dual-Doppler radar scans were used to document a high spatial correspondence between midlevel vertical velocity and vertical vorticity in this storm, thus providing evidence to support the supercell categorization. Additional data collected within the RELAMPAGO domain revealed other storms with this behavior, which appears to be attributable in part to effects of the local terrain. Specifically, the IOP4 supercell and other short-duration supercell cases presented had storm motions that were nearly perpendicular to the long axis of the Sierras de Córdoba Mountains; a long-duration supercell case, on the other hand, had a storm motion nearly parallel to these mountains. Sounding observations as well as model simulations indicate that a mountain-perpendicular storm motion results in a relatively short storm residence time within the narrow zone of terrain-enhanced vertical wind shear. Such a motion and short residence time would limit the upward tilting, by the left-moving supercell updraft, of the storm-relative, antistreamwise horizontal vorticity associated with anabatic flow near complex terrain.

Free access
N. R. P. Harris
,
L. J. Carpenter
,
J. D. Lee
,
G. Vaughan
,
M. T. Filus
,
R. L. Jones
,
B. OuYang
,
J. A. Pyle
,
A. D. Robinson
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S. J. Andrews
,
A. C. Lewis
,
J. Minaeian
,
A. Vaughan
,
J. R. Dorsey
,
M. W. Gallagher
,
M. Le Breton
,
R. Newton
,
C. J. Percival
,
H. M. A. Ricketts
,
S. J.-B. Bauguitte
,
G. J. Nott
,
A. Wellpott
,
M. J. Ashfold
,
J. Flemming
,
R. Butler
,
P. I. Palmer
,
P. H. Kaye
,
C. Stopford
,
C. Chemel
,
H. Boesch
,
N. Humpage
,
A. Vick
,
A. R. MacKenzie
,
R. Hyde
,
P. Angelov
,
E. Meneguz
, and
A. J. Manning

Abstract

The main field activities of the Coordinated Airborne Studies in the Tropics (CAST) campaign took place in the west Pacific during January–February 2014. The field campaign was based in Guam (13.5°N, 144.8°E), using the U.K. Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements (FAAM) BAe-146 atmospheric research aircraft, and was coordinated with the Airborne Tropical Tropopause Experiment (ATTREX) project with an unmanned Global Hawk and the Convective Transport of Active Species in the Tropics (CONTRAST) campaign with a Gulfstream V aircraft. Together, the three aircraft were able to make detailed measurements of atmospheric structure and composition from the ocean surface to 20 km. These measurements are providing new information about the processes influencing halogen and ozone levels in the tropical west Pacific, as well as the importance of trace-gas transport in convection for the upper troposphere and stratosphere. The FAAM aircraft made a total of 25 flights in the region between 1°S and 14°N and 130° and 155°E. It was used to sample at altitudes below 8 km, with much of the time spent in the marine boundary layer. It measured a range of chemical species and sampled extensively within the region of main inflow into the strong west Pacific convection. The CAST team also made ground-based measurements of a number of species (including daily ozonesondes) at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program site on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea (2.1°S, 147.4°E). This article presents an overview of the CAST project, focusing on the design and operation of the west Pacific experiment. It additionally discusses some new developments in CAST, including flights of new instruments on board the Global Hawk in February–March 2015.

Open access
Jay H. Lawrimore
,
Michael S. Halpert
,
Gerald D. Bell
,
Matthew J. Menne
,
Bradfield Lyon
,
Russell C. Schnell
,
Karin L. Gleason
,
David R. Easterling
,
Wasila Thiaw
,
William J. Wrightand
,
Richard R. Heim Jr.
,
David A. Robinson
, and
Lisa Alexander

The global climate in 2000 was again influenced by the long-running Pacific cold episode (La Niña) that began in mid-1998. Consistent with past cold episodes, enhanced convection occurred across the climatologically convective regions of Indonesia and the western equatorial Pacific, while convection was suppressed in the central Pacific. The La Niña was also associated with a well-defined African easterly jet located north of its climatological mean position and low vertical wind shear in the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean, both of which contributed to an active North Atlantic hurricane season. Precipitation patterns influenced by typical La Niña conditions included 1) above-average rainfall in southeastern Africa, 2) unusually heavy rainfall in northern and central regions of Australia, 3) enhanced precipitation in the tropical Indian Ocean and western tropical Pacific, 4) little rainfall in the central tropical Pacific, 5) below-normal precipitation over equatorial east Africa, and 6) drier-than-normal conditions along the Gulf coast of the United States.

Although no hurricanes made landfall in the United States in 2000, another active North Atlantic hurricane season featured 14 named storms, 8 of which became hurricanes, with 3 growing to major hurricane strength. All of the named storms over the North Atlantic formed during the August–October period with the first hurricane of the season, Hurricane Alberto, notable as the third-longest-lived tropical system since reliable records began in 1945. The primary human loss during the 2000 season occurred in Central America, where Hurricane Gordon killed 19 in Guatemala, and Hurricane Keith killed 19 in Belize and caused $200 million dollars of damage.

Other regional events included 1) record warm January–October temperatures followed by record cold November–December temperatures in the United States, 2) extreme drought and widespread wildfires in the southern and western Unites States, 3) continued long-term drought in the Hawaiian Islands throughout the year with record 24-h rainfall totals in November, 4) deadly storms and flooding in western Europe in October, 5) a summer heat wave and drought in southern Europe, 6) monsoon flooding in parts of Southeast Asia and India, 7) extreme winter conditions in Mongolia, 8) extreme long-term drought in the Middle East and Southwest Asia, and 9) severe flooding in southern Africa.

Global mean temperatures remained much above average in 2000. The average land and ocean temperature was 0.39°C above the 1880–1999 long-term mean, continuing a trend to warmer-than-average temperatures that made the 1990s the warmest decade on record. While the persistence of La Niña conditions in 2000 was associated with somewhat cooler temperatures in the Tropics, temperatures in the extratropics remained near record levels. Land surface temperatures in the high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere were notably warmer than normal, with annually averaged anomalies greater than 2°C in parts of Alaska, Canada, Asia, and northern Europe.

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C. Donlon
,
I. Robinson
,
K. S. Casey
,
J. Vazquez-Cuervo
,
E. Armstrong
,
O. Arino
,
C. Gentemann
,
D. May
,
P. LeBorgne
,
J. Piollé
,
I. Barton
,
H. Beggs
,
D. J. S. Poulter
,
C. J. Merchant
,
A. Bingham
,
S. Heinz
,
A. Harris
,
G. Wick
,
B. Emery
,
P. Minnett
,
R. Evans
,
D. Llewellyn-Jones
,
C. Mutlow
,
R. W. Reynolds
,
H. Kawamura
, and
N. Rayner

A new generation of integrated sea surface temperature (SST) data products are being provided by the Global Ocean Data Assimilation Experiment (GODAE) High-Resolution SST Pilot Project (GHRSST-PP). These combine in near-real time various SST data products from several different satellite sensors and in situ observations and maintain the fine spatial and temporal resolution needed by SST inputs to operational models. The practical realization of such an approach is complicated by the characteristic differences that exist between measurements of SST obtained from subsurface in-water sensors, and satellite microwave and satellite infrared radiometer systems. Furthermore, diurnal variability of SST within a 24-h period, manifested as both warm-layer and cool-skin deviations, introduces additional uncertainty for direct intercomparison between data sources and the implementation of data-merging strategies. The GHRSST-PP has developed and now operates an internationally distributed system that provides operational feeds of regional and global coverage high-resolution SST data products (better than 10 km and ~6 h). A suite of online satellite SST diagnostic systems are also available within the project. All GHRSST-PP products have a standard format, include uncertainty estimates for each measurement, and are served to the international user community free of charge through a variety of data transport mechanisms and access points. They are being used for a number of operational applications. The approach will also be extended back to 1981 by a dedicated reanalysis project. This paper provides a summary overview of the GHRSST-PP structure, activities, and data products. For a complete discussion, and access to data products and services see the information online at www.ghrsst-pp.org.

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