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S. J. Ghan, J. C. Liljegren, W. J. Shaw, J. H. Hubbe, and J. C. Doran

Abstract

A 6.25-km resolution dataset of meteorology, vegetation type, and soil type for a domain covering a typical global climate model grid cell is used to drive a land surface physics model for a period of 6 months. Additional simulations are performed driving the land surface physics model by spatially averaged meteorology, spatially averaged vegetation characteristics, spatially averaged soil properties, and spatially averaged meteorology, vegetation characteristics, and soil properties. By comparing the simulated water balance for the whole domain for each simulation, the relative influence of subgrid variability in meteorology, vegetation, and soil are assessed. Subgrid variability in summertime precipitation is found to have the largest effect on the surface hydrology, with a nearly twofold increase on surface runoff and a 15% increase in evapotranspiration. Subgrid variations in vegetation and soil properties also increase surface runoff and reduce evapotranspiration, so that surface runoff is 2.75 times as great with subgrid variability than without and evapotranspiration is 19% higher with subgrid variability than without.

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J. M. Hubbe, J. C. Doran, J. C. Liljegren, and W. J. Shaw

Abstract

Results from a field campaign to study the response of the planetary boundary layer to spatially varying surface conditions are presented. Radiosondes released at four locations with contrasting land use characteristics in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Cloud and Radiation Testbed (CART) in Kansas and Oklahoma showed significant variations in mixed-layer depth, temperature, and water vapor mixing ratios over distances of 100–200 km. Using CART and radiosonde data, estimates of the surface sensible and latent heat fluxes are derived; the results from several methods are compared and a discussion of the similarities and differences in the values is given. Although substantial flux differences among the sites account for some of the variations in the boundary layer behavior, other features of the ambient meteorology and initial conditions appear to be equally important. Despite large changes in mixed-layer and surface-layer temperatures over scales of approximately 100 km, no evidence for temperature-induced secondary circulations was found. A simple scaling argument is presented that gives a possible reason for this absence.

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K. Ivanova, E. E. Clothiaux, H. N. Shirer, T. P. Ackerman, J. C. Liljegren, and M. Ausloos

Abstract

Time series both of microwave radiometer brightness temperature measurements at 23.8 and 31.4 GHz and of retrievals of water vapor and liquid water path from these brightness temperatures are evaluated using the detrended fluctuation analysis method. As quantified by the parameter α, this method (i) enables identification of the timescales over which noise dominates the time series and (ii) characterizes the temporal range of correlations in the time series. The more common spectral analysis method is also used to assess the data, and its results are compared with those from the detrended fluctuation analysis method. The assumption that measurements should have certain scaling properties allows the quality of the measurements to be characterized. The additional assumption that the scaling properties of the measurements of an atmospheric quantity are preserved in a useful retrieval provides a means for evaluating the retrieval itself. Applying these two assumptions to microwave radiometer measurements and retrievals demonstrates three points. First, the retrieved water vapor path during cloudy-sky periods can be dominated by noise on shorter-than-30-min timescales (α exponent = 0.1) and exhibits no scaling behavior at longer timescales. However, correlations in the brightness temperatures and liquid water path retrievals are found to be consistent with a power-law behavior for timescales up to 3 h with an α exponent equal to approximately 0.3, as in other geophysical phenomena. Second, clear-sky, moist atmospheres show the expected scaling for both measurements and retrievals of the water vapor path. Third, during clear-sky, dry atmospheric days, instrument noise from the 31.4-GHz channel compromises the quality of the water vapor path retrieval. The detrended fluctuation analysis method is thus proposed as means for assessing the quality of both the instrument data and the retrieved parameters obtained from these data.

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D. D. Turner, B. M. Lesht, S. A. Clough, J. C. Liljegren, H. E. Revercomb, and D. C. Tobin

Abstract

Thousands of comparisons between total precipitable water vapor (PWV) obtained from radiosonde (Vaisala RS80-H) profiles and PWV retrieved from a collocated microwave radiometer (MWR) were made at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program's Southern Great Plains Cloud and Radiation Testbed (SGP CART) site in northern Oklahoma from 1994 to 2000. These comparisons show that the RS80-H radiosonde has an approximate 5% dry bias compared to the MWR. This observation is consistent with interpretations of Vaisala RS80 radiosonde data obtained during the Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere Response Experiment (TOGA COARE). In addition to the dry bias, analysis of the PWV comparisons as well as of data obtained from dual-sonde soundings done at the SGP show that the calibration of the radiosonde humidity measurements varies considerably both when the radiosondes come from different calibration batches and when the radiosondes come from the same calibration batch. This variability can result in peak-to-peak differences between radiosondes of greater than 25% in PWV. Because accurate representation of the vertical profile of water vapor is critical for ARM's science objectives, an empirical method for correcting the radiosonde humidity profiles is developed based on a constant scaling factor. By using an independent set of observations and radiative transfer models to test the correction, it is shown that the constant humidity scaling method appears both to improve the accuracy and reduce the uncertainty of the radiosonde data. The ARM data are also used to examine a different, physically based, correction scheme that was developed recently by scientists from Vaisala and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). This scheme, which addresses the dry bias problem as well as other calibration-related problems with the RS80-H sensor, results in excellent agreement between the PWV retrieved from the MWR and integrated from the corrected radiosonde. However, because the physically based correction scheme does not address the apparently random calibration variations observed, it does not reduce the variability either between radiosonde calibration batches or within individual calibration batches.

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The Arm Program's Water Vapor Intensive Observation Periods

Overview, Initial Accomplishments, and Future Challenges

H. E. Revercomb, D. D. Turner, D. C. Tobin, R. O. Knuteson, W. F. Feltz, J. Barnard, J. Bösenberg, S. Clough, D. Cook, R. Ferrare, J. Goldsmith, S. Gutman, R. Halthore, B. Lesht, J. Liljegren, H. Linné, J. Michalsky, V. Morris, W. Porch, S. Richardson, B. Schmid, M. Splitt, T. Van Hove, E. Westwater, and D. Whiteman

A series of water vapor intensive observation periods (WVIOPs) were conducted at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) site in Oklahoma between 1996 and 2000. The goals of these WVIOPs are to characterize the accuracy of the operational water vapor observations and to develop techniques to improve the accuracy of these measurements.

The initial focus of these experiments was on the lower atmosphere, for which the goal is an absolute accuracy of better than 2% in total column water vapor, corresponding to ~1 W m−2 of infrared radiation at the surface. To complement the operational water vapor instruments during the WVIOPs, additional instrumentation including a scanning Raman lidar, microwave radiometers, chilled-mirror hygrometers, a differential absorption lidar, and ground-based solar radiometers were deployed at the ARM site. The unique datasets from the 1996, 1997, and 1999 experiments have led to many results, including the discovery and characterization of a large (> 25%) sonde-to-sonde variability in the water vapor profiles from Vaisala RS-80H radiosondes that acts like a height-independent calibration factor error. However, the microwave observations provide a stable reference that can be used to remove a large part of the sonde-to-sonde calibration variability. In situ capacitive water vapor sensors demonstrated agreement within 2% of chilled-mirror hygrometers at the surface and on an instrumented tower. Water vapor profiles retrieved from two Raman lidars, which have both been calibrated to the ARM microwave radiometer, showed agreement to within 5% for all altitudes below 8 km during two WVIOPs. The mean agreement of the total precipitable water vapor from different techniques has converged significantly from early analysis that originally showed differences up to 15%. Retrievals of total precipitable water vapor (PWV) from the ARM microwave radiometer are now found to be only 3% moister than PWV derived from new GPS results, and about 2% drier than the mean of radiosonde data after a recently defined sonde dry-bias correction is applied. Raman lidar profiles calibrated using tower-mounted chilled-mirror hygrometers confirm the expected sensitivity of microwave radiometer data to water vapor changes, but it is drier than the microwave radiometer (MWR) by 0.95 mm for all PWV amounts. However, observations from different collocated microwave radiometers have shown larger differences than expected and attempts to resolve the remaining inconsistencies (in both calibration and forward modeling) are continuing.

The paper concludes by outlining the objectives of the recent 2000 WVIOP and the ARM–First International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) Regional Experiment (FIRE) Water Vapor Experiment (AFWEX), the latter of which switched the focus to characterizing upper-tropospheric humidity measurements.

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D. D. Turner, A. M. Vogelmann, R. T. Austin, J. C. Barnard, K. Cady-Pereira, J. C. Chiu, S. A. Clough, C. Flynn, M. M. Khaiyer, J. Liljegren, K. Johnson, B. Lin, C. Long, A. Marshak, S. Y. Matrosov, S. A. McFarlane, M. Miller, Q. Min, P. Minimis, W. O'Hirok, Z. Wang, and W. Wiscombe

Many of the clouds important to the Earth's energy balance, from the Tropics to the Arctic, contain small amounts of liquid water. Longwave and shortwave radiative fluxes are very sensitive to small perturbations of the cloud liquid water path (LWP), when the LWP is small (i.e., < 100 g m−2; clouds with LWP less than this threshold will be referred to as “thin”). Thus, the radiative properties of these thin liquid water clouds must be well understood to capture them correctly in climate models. We review the importance of these thin clouds to the Earth's energy balance, and explain the difficulties in observing them. In particular, because these clouds are thin, potentially mixed phase, and often broken (i.e., have large 3D variability), it is challenging to retrieve their microphysical properties accurately. We describe a retrieval algorithm intercomparison that was conducted to evaluate the issues involved. The intercomparison used data collected at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Southern Great Plains (SGP) site and included 18 different algorithms to evaluate their retrieved LWP, optical depth, and effective radii. Surprisingly, evaluation of the simplest case, a single-layer overcast stratocumulus, revealed that huge discrepancies exist among the various techniques, even among different algorithms that are in the same general classification. This suggests that, despite considerable advances that have occurred in the field, much more work must be done, and we discuss potential avenues for future research.)

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