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Efthymios Serpetzoglou
,
Bruce A. Albrecht
,
Pavlos Kollias
, and
Christopher W. Fairall

Abstract

The southeast Pacific stratocumulus regime is an important component of the earth’s climate system because of its substantial impact on albedo. Observational studies of this cloud regime have been limited, but during the past 5 yr, a series of cruises with research vessels equipped with in situ and remote sensing systems have provided unprecedented observations of boundary layer cloud and drizzle structures. These cruises started with the East Pacific Investigation of Climate (EPIC) 2001 field experiment, followed by cruises in a similar area in 2003 and 2004 [Pan-American Climate Studies (PACS) Stratus cruises]. The sampling from these three cruises provides a sufficient dataset to study the variability occurring over this region. This study compares observations from the 2004 cruise with those obtained during the previous two cruises. Observations from the ship provide information about boundary layer structure, fractional cloudiness, cloud depth, and drizzle characteristics. This study indicates more strongly decoupled boundary layers during the 2004 cruise than the well-mixed conditions that dominated the cloud and boundary layer structures during the EPIC cruise, and the highly variable conditions—sharp transitions from a solid stratus deck to broken-cloud and clear-sky periods—encountered during PACS Stratus 2003. Diurnal forcing and synoptic conditions are considered to be factors affecting these variations. A statistical evaluation of the macrophysical boundary layer, cloud, and drizzle properties is performed using the 5–6-day periods for which the research vessels remained stationed at the location of 20°S, 85°W during each cruise.

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Meghan F. Cronin
,
Nicholas A. Bond
,
Christopher W. Fairall
, and
Robert A. Weller

Abstract

Data from the Eastern Pacific Investigation of Climate Studies (EPIC) mooring array are used to evaluate the annual cycle of surface cloud forcing in the far eastern Pacific stratus cloud deck/cold tongue/intertropical convergence zone complex. Data include downwelling surface solar and longwave radiation from 10 EPIC-enhanced Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO) moorings from 8°S, 95°W to 12°N, 95°W, and the Woods Hole Improved Meteorology (IMET) mooring in the stratus cloud deck region at 20°S, 85°W. Surface cloud forcing is defined as the observed downwelling radiation at the surface minus the clear-sky value. Solar cloud forcing and longwave cloud forcing are anticorrelated at all latitudes from 12°N to 20°S: clouds tended to reduce the downward solar radiation and to a lesser extent increase the downward longwave radiation at the surface. The relative amount of solar radiation reduction and longwave increase depends upon cloud type and varies with latitude. A statistical relationship between solar and longwave surface cloud forcing is developed for rainy and dry periods and for the full record length in six latitudinal regions: northeast tropical warm pool, ITCZ, frontal zone, cold tongue, southern, and stratus deck regions. The buoy cloud forcing observations and empirical relations are compared with the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) radiative flux data (FD) dataset and are used as benchmarks to evaluate surface cloud forcing in the NCEP Reanalysis 2 (NCEP2) and 40-yr ECMWF Re-Analysis (ERA-40). ERA-40 and NCEP2 cloud forcing (both solar and longwave) showed large discrepancies with observations, being too large in the ITCZ and equatorial regions and too weak under the stratus deck at 20°S and north to the equator during the cool season from July to December. In particular the NCEP2 cloud forcing at the equator was nearly identical to the ITCZ region and thus had significantly larger solar cloud forcing and smaller longwave cloud forcing than observed. The net result of the solar and longwave cloud forcing deviations is that there is too little radiative warming in the ITCZ and southward to 8°S during the warm season and too much radiative warming under the stratus deck at 20°S and northward to the equator during the cold season.

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Virendra P. Ghate
,
Bruce A. Albrecht
,
Christopher W. Fairall
, and
Robert A. Weller

Abstract

A 5-yr climatology of the meteorology, including boundary layer cloudiness, for the southeast Pacific region is presented using observations from a buoy located at 20°S, 85°W. The sea surface temperature and surface air temperature exhibit a sinusoidal seasonal cycle that is negatively correlated with surface pressure. The relative humidity, wind speed, and wind direction show little seasonal variability. But the advection of cold and dry air from the southeast varies seasonally and is highly correlated with the latent heat flux variations. A simple model was used to estimate the monthly cloud fraction using the observed surface downwelling longwave radiative flux and surface meteorological parameters. The annual cycle of cloud fraction is highly correlated to that of S. A. Klein: lower-tropospheric stability parameter (0.87), latent heat flux (−0.59), and temperature and moisture advection (0.60). The derived cloud fraction compares poorly with the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP)-derived low-cloud cover but compares well (0.86 correlation) with ISCCP low- plus middle-cloud cover. The monthly averaged diurnal variations in cloud fraction show marked seasonal variability in the amplitude and temporal structure. The mean annual cloud fraction is lower than the mean annual nighttime cloud fraction by about 9%. Annual and diurnal cycles of surface longwave and shortwave cloud radiative forcing were also estimated. The longwave cloud radiative forcing is about 45 W m−2 year-round, but, because of highly negative shortwave cloud radiative forcing, the net cloud radiative forcing is always negative with an annual mean of −50 W m−2.

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Simon P. de Szoeke
,
Christopher W. Fairall
,
Daniel E. Wolfe
,
Ludovic Bariteau
, and
Paquita Zuidema

Abstract

A new dataset synthesizes in situ and remote sensing observations from research ships deployed to the southeastern tropical Pacific stratocumulus region for 7 years in boreal fall. Surface meteorology, turbulent and radiative fluxes, aerosols, cloud properties, and rawinsonde profiles were measured on nine ship transects along 20°S from 75° to 85°W. Fluxes at the ocean surface are essential to the equilibrium SST. Solar radiation is the only warming net heat flux, with 180–200 W m−2 in boreal fall. The strongest cooling is evaporation (60–100 W m−2), followed by net thermal infrared radiation (30 W m−2) and sensible heat flux (<10 W m−2). The 70 W m−2 imbalance of heating at the surface reflects the seasonal SST tendency and some 30 W m−2 cooling that is mostly due to ocean transport.

Coupled models simulate significant SST errors in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. Three different observation-based gridded ocean surface flux products agree with ship and buoy observations, while fluxes simulated by 15 Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 3 [CMIP3; used for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report] general circulation models have relatively large errors. This suggests the gridded observation-based flux datasets are sufficiently accurate for verifying coupled models. Longwave cooling and solar warming are correlated among model simulations, consistent with cloud radiative forcing and low cloud amount differences. In those simulations with excessive solar heating, elevated SST also results in larger evaporation and longwave cooling to compensate for the solar excess. Excessive turbulent heat fluxes (10–90 W m−2 cooling, mostly evaporation) are the largest errors in simulations once the compensation between solar and longwave radiation is taken into account. In addition to excessive solar warming and evaporation, models simulate too little oceanic residual cooling in the southeastern tropical Pacific Ocean.

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Simon P. de Szoeke
,
James B. Edson
,
June R. Marion
,
Christopher W. Fairall
, and
Ludovic Bariteau

Abstract

Dynamics of the Madden–Julian Oscillation (DYNAMO) and Tropical Ocean and Global Atmosphere Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere Response Experiment (TOGA COARE) observations and reanalysis-based surface flux products are used to test theories of atmosphere–ocean interaction that explain the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO). Negative intraseasonal outgoing longwave radiation, indicating deep convective clouds, is in phase with increased surface wind stress, decreased solar heating, and increased surface turbulent heat flux—mostly evaporation—from the ocean to the atmosphere. Net heat flux cools the upper ocean in the convective phase. Sea surface temperature (SST) warms during the suppressed phase, reaching a maximum before the onset of MJO convection. The timing of convection, surface flux, and SST is consistent from the central Indian Ocean (70°E) to the western Pacific Ocean (160°E).

Mean surface evaporation observed in TOGA COARE and DYNAMO (110 W m−2) accounts for about half of the moisture supply for the mean precipitation (210 W m−2 for DYNAMO). Precipitation maxima are an order of magnitude larger than evaporation anomalies, requiring moisture convergence in the mean, and on intraseasonal and daily time scales. Column-integrated moisture increases 2 cm before the convectively active phase over the Research Vessel (R/V) Roger Revelle in DYNAMO, in accordance with MJO moisture recharge theory. Local surface evaporation does not significantly recharge the column water budget before convection. As suggested in moisture mode theories, evaporation increases the moist static energy of the column during convection. Rather than simply discharging moisture from the column, the strongest daily precipitation anomalies in the convectively active phase accompany the increasing column moisture.

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