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  • Author or Editor: A. R. Robinson x
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David A. Robinson
,
Kenneth F. Dewey
, and
Richard R. Heim Jr.

Accurate monitoring of the large-scale dimensions of global snow cover is essential for understanding details of climate dynamics and climate change. Presently, such information is gathered individually from ground station networks and satellite platforms. Efforts are in progress to consolidate and analyze long-term station records from a number of countries. To gain truly global coverage, however, satellite-based monitoring techniques must be employed. A 27-year record of Northern Hemisphere continental snow cover produced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is the longest such environmental record available. Records of Southern Hemisphere continental cover and snow on top of Arctic sea ice have been produced by similar means for a portion of this interval. The visible imagery charting technique used to generate these data provides information on snow extent but not on snow volume. Satellite microwave analyses over Northern Hemisphere lands show some promise in this regard, however, large-scale monitoring of snow extent with microwave data remains less accurate than visible charting.

This paper updates the status of global snow cover monitoring, concentrating on the weekly snow charts prepared by NOAA and discussing a new and consistent record of monthly snow cover generated from these weekly charts. The NOAA charts show a reduction of hemispheric snow cover over the past five years, particularly in spring. Snow areas from the NOAA product are then compared with values derived using passive microwave data. The latter consistently reports less snow cover than the more accurate visible product. Finally, future snow monitoring initiatives are recommended. These include continuing the consistent NOAA product until an all-weather all-surface product is developed. The latter would use multiple data sources and geographic information systems techniques. Such an integrative product would need extensive comparisons with the NOAA product to ensure the continued utility of the lengthy NOAA observations in studies of climate change. In a retrospective sense, satellite charts from the middle 1960s to early 1970s need reevaluation and techniques to merge satellite products with historic station time series must be developed.

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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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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
,
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
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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L. L. Pan
,
E. L. Atlas
,
R. J. Salawitch
,
S. B. Honomichl
,
J. F. Bresch
,
W. J. Randel
,
E. C. Apel
,
R. S. Hornbrook
,
A. J. Weinheimer
,
D. C. Anderson
,
S. J. Andrews
,
S. Baidar
,
S. P. Beaton
,
T. L. Campos
,
L. J. Carpenter
,
D. Chen
,
B. Dix
,
V. Donets
,
S. R. Hall
,
T. F. Hanisco
,
C. R. Homeyer
,
L. G. Huey
,
J. B. Jensen
,
L. Kaser
,
D. E. Kinnison
,
T. K. Koenig
,
J.-F. Lamarque
,
C. Liu
,
J. Luo
,
Z. J. Luo
,
D. D. Montzka
,
J. M. Nicely
,
R. B. Pierce
,
D. D. Riemer
,
T. Robinson
,
P. Romashkin
,
A. Saiz-Lopez
,
S. Schauffler
,
O. Shieh
,
M. H. Stell
,
K. Ullmann
,
G. Vaughan
,
R. Volkamer
, and
G. Wolfe

Abstract

The Convective Transport of Active Species in the Tropics (CONTRAST) experiment was conducted from Guam (13.5°N, 144.8°E) during January–February 2014. Using the NSF/NCAR Gulfstream V research aircraft, the experiment investigated the photochemical environment over the tropical western Pacific (TWP) warm pool, a region of massive deep convection and the major pathway for air to enter the stratosphere during Northern Hemisphere (NH) winter. The new observations provide a wealth of information for quantifying the influence of convection on the vertical distributions of active species. The airborne in situ measurements up to 15-km altitude fill a significant gap by characterizing the abundance and altitude variation of a wide suite of trace gases. These measurements, together with observations of dynamical and microphysical parameters, provide significant new data for constraining and evaluating global chemistry–climate models. Measurements include precursor and product gas species of reactive halogen compounds that impact ozone in the upper troposphere/lower stratosphere. High-accuracy, in situ measurements of ozone obtained during CONTRAST quantify ozone concentration profiles in the upper troposphere, where previous observations from balloonborne ozonesondes were often near or below the limit of detection. CONTRAST was one of the three coordinated experiments to observe the TWP during January–February 2014. Together, CONTRAST, Airborne Tropical Tropopause Experiment (ATTREX), and Coordinated Airborne Studies in the Tropics (CAST), using complementary capabilities of the three aircraft platforms as well as ground-based instrumentation, provide a comprehensive quantification of the regional distribution and vertical structure of natural and pollutant trace gases in the TWP during NH winter, from the oceanic boundary to the lower stratosphere.

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