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Umarporn Charusombat
and
Dev Niyogi

Abstract

Characterizing and developing drought climatology continues to be a challenging problem. As decision makers seek guidance on water management strategies, there is a need for assessing the performance of drought indices. This requires the adaptation of appropriate drought indices that aid in monitoring droughts and hydrological vulnerability on a regional scale. This study aims to assist the process of developing a statewide water shortage and assessment plan (WSP) for the state of Indiana by conducting a focused hydroclimatological assessment of drought variability. Drought climatology was assessed using in situ observations and regional reanalysis data. A summary of precipitation and evaporation trends, estimated drought variability, worst-case drought scenarios, drought return period, and frequency and duration was undertaken, using multiple drought indices and streamflow analysis. Results indicated a regional and local variability in drought susceptibility. The worst-case (200-yr return period) prediction showed that Indiana has a 0.5% probability of receiving 45% of normal precipitation over a 12-month drought in any year. Consistent with other studies, the standardized precipitation index (SPI) was found to be appropriate for detecting short-term drought conditions over Indiana. This recommendation has now been incorporated in the 2009 Indiana water shortage plan. This study also highlights the difficulties in identifying past droughts from available climatic data, and the authors’ results suggest a persistent, high degree of uncertainty in making drought predictions using future climatic projections.

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Olivia Kellner
and
Dev Niyogi

Abstract

Land surface heterogeneity affects mesoscale interactions, including the evolution of severe convection. However, its contribution to tornadogenesis is not well known. Indiana is selected as an example to present an assessment of documented tornadoes and land surface heterogeneity to better understand the spatial distribution of tornadoes. This assessment is developed using a GIS framework taking data from 1950 to 2012 and investigates the following topics: temporal analysis, effect of ENSO, antecedent rainfall linkages, population density, land use/land cover, and topography, placing them in the context of land surface heterogeneity.

Spatial analysis of tornado touchdown locations reveals several spatial relationships with regard to cities, population density, land-use classification, and topography. A total of 61% of F0–F5 tornadoes and 43% of F0–F5 tornadoes in Indiana have touched down within 1 km of urban land use and land area classified as forest, respectively, suggesting the possible role of land-use surface roughness on tornado occurrences. The correlation of tornado touchdown points to population density suggests a moderate to strong relationship. A temporal analysis of tornado days shows favored time of day, months, seasons, and active tornado years. Tornado days for 1950–2012 are compared to antecedent rainfall and ENSO phases, which both show no discernible relationship with the average number of annual tornado days. Analysis of tornado touchdowns and topography does not indicate any strong relationship between tornado touchdowns and elevation. Results suggest a possible signature of land surface heterogeneity—particularly that around urban and forested land cover—in tornado climatology.

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Olivia Kellner
and
Dev Niyogi

Abstract

El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and Arctic Oscillation (AO) climatology (1980–2010) is developed and analyzed across the U.S. Corn Belt using state climate division weather and historic corn yield data using analysis of variance (ANOVA) and correlation analysis. Findings provide insight to agroclimatic conditions under different ENSO and AO episodes and are analyzed with a perspective for potential impacts to agricultural production and planning, with findings being developed into a web-based tool for the U.S. Corn Belt.

This study is unique in that it utilizes the oceanic Niño index and explores two teleconnection patterns that influence weather across different spatiotemporal scales. It is found that the AO has a more frequent weak to moderate correlation to historic yields than ENSO when correlated by average subgrowing season index values. Yield anomaly and ENSO and AO episode analysis affirms the overall positive impact of El Niño events on yields compared to La Niña events, with neutral ENSO events in between as found in previous studies. Yields when binned by the AO episode present more uncertainty. While significant temperature and precipitation impacts from ENSO and AO are felt outside of the primary growing season, correlation between threshold variables of episode-specific temperature and precipitation and historic yields suggests that relationships between ENSO and AO and yield are present during specific months of the growing season, particularly August. Overall, spatial climatic variability resulting from ENSO and AO episodes contributes to yield potential at regional to subregional scales, making generalization of impacts difficult and highlighting a continued need for finescale resolution analysis of ENSO and AO signal impacts on corn production.

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Paul Schmid
and
Dev Niyogi

Abstract

A new objective method to determine the height of the planetary boundary layer (PBL) is presented here. PBL heights are computed using the statistical variance and kurtosis of dewpoint and virtual potential temperature differences measured from radio soundings at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) program at the Southern Great Plains (SGP) site. These heights are compared with those derived from lidar, also on the site, and with gridded model data from the North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR). A climatology of mean heights in the early (1800 UTC) and late (0000 UTC) afternoon from 2002 to 2010 is presented to show the effectiveness of the method. Future work using the new method include producing an observational climatology of PBL heights and understanding the aerosol loading within the PBL as well as a better understanding of the coupling between the surface and free atmosphere.

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Paul E. Schmid
and
Dev Niyogi

Abstract

This study introduces a methodology to simulate how spatially heterogeneous urban aerosols modify a precipitating thunderstorm in a numerical weather model. An air quality model (simple photochemical model) was coupled with a high-resolution mesoscale weather model (the Regional Atmospheric Modeling System) and generated variable urban cloud condensation nuclei values consistent with those measured in previous field studies. The coupled emission model was used to simulate the passage of a synoptic low pressure system with embedded thunderstorms over an idealized city using the real-atmosphere idealized land surface (RAIL) method. Experiments were conducted to calibrate the surface formation of cloud-nucleating aerosols in an urban environment and then to assess the specific response of different aerosol loads on simulated precipitation. The model response to aerosol heterogeneity reduced the total precipitation but significantly increased simulated rain rates. High-aerosol-loading scenarios produced a peak city-edge precipitation rate of over 100 mm h−1 greater than a control containing only a city land surface with no emissions. In comparing the control with a scenario with no city, it was seen that the land surface effect produced a rain rate increase of up to 20 mm h−1. Results indicate, within the limits of the model framework, that the urban rainfall modification is a combination of land heterogeneity causing the dynamical lifting of the air mass and aerosols, with rainfall enhancement being maintained and synergistically increased because of the aerosol indirect effects on cloud properties.

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Adam L. Houston
and
Dev Niyogi

Abstract

Numerical experiments are conducted using an idealized cloud-resolving model to explore the sensitivity of deep convective initiation (DCI) to the lapse rate of the active cloud-bearing layer [ACBL; the atmospheric layer above the level of free convection (LFC)]. Clouds are initiated using a new technique that involves a preexisting airmass boundary initialized such that the (unrealistic) adjustment of the model state variables to the imposed boundary is disassociated from the simulation of convection. Reference state environments used in the experiment suite have identical mixed layer values of convective inhibition, CAPE, and LFC as well as identical profiles of relative humidity and wind. Of the six simulations conducted for the experiment set, only the three environments with the largest ACBL lapse rates support DCI. The simulated deep convection is initiated from elevated sources (parcels in the convective clouds originate near 1300 m) despite the presence of a surface-based boundary. Thermal instability release is found to be more likely in the experiments with larger ACBL lapse rates because the forced ascent at the preexisting boundary is stronger (despite nearly identical boundary depths) and because the parcels’ LFCs are lower, irrespective of parcel dilution. In one experiment without deep convection, DCI failure occurs even though thermal instability is released. Results from this experiment along with the results from a heuristic Lagrangian model reveal the existence of two convective regimes dependent on the environmental lapse rate: a supercritical state capable of supporting DCI and a subcritical state that is unlikely to support DCI. Under supercritical conditions the rate of increase in buoyancy due to parcel ascent exceeds the reduction in buoyancy due to dilution. Under subcritical conditions, the rate of increase in buoyancy due to parcel ascent is outpaced by the rate of reduction in buoyancy from dilution. Overall, results demonstrate that the lapse rate of the ACBL is useful in diagnosing and/or predicting DCI.

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Vinodkumar
,
A. Chandrasekar
,
K. Alapaty
, and
Dev Niyogi

Abstract

This study investigates the impact of the Flux-Adjusting Surface Data Assimilation System (FASDAS) and the four-dimensional data assimilation (FDDA) using analysis nudging on the simulation of a monsoon depression that formed over India during the 1999 Bay of Bengal Monsoon Experiment (BOBMEX) field campaign. FASDAS allows for the indirect assimilation/adjustment of soil moisture and soil temperature together with continuous direct surface data assimilation of surface temperature and surface humidity. Two additional numerical experiments [control (CTRL) and FDDA] were conducted to assess the relative improvements to the simulation by FASDAS. To improve the initial analysis for the FDDA and the surface data assimilation (SDA) runs, the fifth-generation Pennsylvania State University–NCAR Mesoscale Model (MM5) simulation utilized the humidity and temperature profiles from the NOAA Television Infrared Observation Satellite (TIROS) Operational Vertical Sounder (TOVS), surface winds from the Quick Scatterometer (QuikSCAT), and the conventional meteorological upper-air (radiosonde/rawinsonde, pilot balloon) and surface data. The results from the three simulations are compared with each other as well as with NCEP–NCAR reanalysis, the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), and the special buoy, ship, and radiosonde observations available during BOBMEX. As compared with the CTRL, the FASDAS and the FDDA runs resulted in (i) a relatively better-developed cyclonic circulation and (ii) a larger spatial area as well as increased rainfall amounts over the coastal regions after landfall. The FASDAS run showed a consistently improved model simulation performance in terms of reduced rms errors of surface humidity and surface temperature as compared with the CTRL and the FDDA runs.

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Dev Niyogi
,
Kiran Alapaty
,
Sethu Raman
, and
Fei Chen

Abstract

Current land surface schemes used for mesoscale weather forecast models use the Jarvis-type stomatal resistance formulations for representing the vegetation transpiration processes. The Jarvis scheme, however, despite its robustness, needs significant tuning of the hypothetical minimum-stomatal resistance term to simulate surface energy balances. In this study, the authors show that the Jarvis-type stomatal resistance/transpiration model can be efficiently replaced in a coupled land–atmosphere model with a photosynthesis-based scheme and still achieve dynamically consistent results. To demonstrate this transformative potential, the authors developed and coupled a photosynthesis, gas exchange–based surface evapotranspiration model (GEM) as a land surface scheme for mesoscale weather forecasting model applications. The GEM was dynamically coupled with a prognostic soil moisture–soil temperature model and an atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) model. This coupled system was then validated over different natural surfaces including temperate C4 vegetation (prairie grass and corn field) and C3 vegetation (soybean, fallow, and hardwood forest) under contrasting surface conditions (such as different soil moisture and leaf area index). Results indicated that the coupled model was able to realistically simulate the surface fluxes and the boundary layer characteristics over different landscapes. The surface energy fluxes, particularly for latent heat, are typically within 10%–20% of the observations without any tuning of the biophysical–vegetation characteristics, and the response to the changes in the surface characteristics is consistent with observations and theory. This result shows that photosynthesis-based transpiration/stomatal resistance models such as GEM, despite various complexities, can be applied for mesoscale weather forecasting applications. Future efforts for understanding the different scaling parameterizations and for correcting errors for low soil moisture and/or wilting vegetation conditions are necessary to improve model performance. Results from this study suggest that the GEM approach using the photosynthesis-based soil vegetation atmosphere transfer (SVAT) scheme is thus superior to the Jarvis-based approaches. Currently GEM is being implemented within the Noah land surface model for the community Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Advanced Research Version Modeling System (ARW) and the NCAR high-resolution land data assimilation system (HRLDAS), and validation is under way.

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Bryan Pijanowski
,
Nathan Moore
,
Dasaraden Mauree
, and
Dev Niyogi

Abstract

This study examines how land-use errors from the Land Transformation Model (LTM) propagate through to climate as simulated by the Regional Atmospheric Model System (RAMS). The authors conducted five simulations of regional climate over East Africa: one using observed land cover/land use (LULC) and four utilizing LTM-derived LULC. The study examined how quantifiable errors generated by the LTM impact typical land–climate variables: precipitation, land surface temperature, air temperature, soil moisture, and latent heat flux. Error propagation was not evident when domain averages for the land–climate variables of the yearlong simulation were examined. However, the authors found that spatial errors from the LTM propagate through in complex ways, temporally affecting the seasonal distributions of rainfall, surface temperature, soil moisture, and latent heat flux. In particular, rainy seasons exhibited greater precipitation in LTM-RAMS simulations than in the reference simulation and less precipitation occurred during the dry season. Complex interactions of precipitation and soil moisture were also evident. Overall, results indicate that small errors from a land change model could grow as a “coupling drift” if both are used to forecast into the future; these couplings could create larger combined errors of land–climate interactions because of time-scale differences into the future. Thus, although land-use change projection is necessary for a more accurate climate projection, existing errors from a land change model will likely amplify through the climate simulation. This finding affects interpretation of large-scale versus land-use/land-cover feedbacks on climate projections.

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Xing Liu
,
Jeff Andresen
,
Haishun Yang
, and
Dev Niyogi

Abstract

Detailed parameter sensitivity, model validation, and regional calibration of the Hybrid-Maize crop model were undertaken for the purpose of regional agroclimatic assessments. The model was run at both field scale and county scale. The county-scale study was based on 30-yr daily weather data and corn yield data from the National Agricultural Statistics Service survey for 24 locations across the Corn Belt of the United States. The field-scale study was based on AmeriFlux sites at Bondville, Illinois, and Mead, Nebraska. By using the one-at-a-time and interaction-explicit factorial design approaches for sensitivity analysis, the study found that the five most sensitive parameters of the model were potential number of kernels per ear, potential kernel filling rate, initial light use efficiency, upper temperature cutoff for growing degree-days’ accumulation, and the grain growth respiration coefficient. Model validation results show that the Hybrid-Maize model performed satisfactorily for field-scale simulations with a mean absolute error (MAE) of 10 bu acre−1 despite the difficulties of obtaining hybrid-specific information. At the county scale, the simulated results, assuming optimal crop management, overpredicted the yields but captured the variability well. A simple regional adjustment factor of 0.6 rescaled the potential yield to actual yield well. These results highlight the uncertainties that exist in applying crop models at regional scales because of the limitations in accessing crop-specific information. This study also provides confidence that uncertainties can potentially be eliminated via simple adjustment factor and that a simple crop model can be adequately useful for regional-scale agroclimatic studies.

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