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Stephen A. Cohn, Vanda Grubiššićć, and William O. J. Brown

Abstract

A network of three boundary layer radar wind profilers is used to study characteristics of mountain waves and rotors and to explore the utility of such a network. The data employed were collected as part of the Terrain-Induced Rotor Experiment (T-REX), which took place in Owens Valley, California, in early 2006. The wind profilers provide a continuous time––height representation of wave and rotor structure. During intensive observing period 3 (IOP 3), the profiler network was positioned in an L-shaped configuration, capturing key features of the mountain waves and rotor, including the boundary layer vortex sheet (or shear layer), turbulence within this shear layer, the classical lower turbulence zone (LTZ), and wave motion above the LTZ. Observed features were found to be in good agreement with recent high-resolution numerical simulations. Using the wind profiler with superior time resolution (Multiple Antenna Profiler Radar), a series of updraft––downdraft couplets were observed beneath the first downwind wave crest. These are interpreted as signatures of subrotors. Such detailed observations of subrotors are rare, even though subrotors are believed to be a common feature of rotor circulations in Owens Valley. During IOP 6, the network was repositioned to form a line across the valley. A simple algorithm was used to determine the amplitude, wavelength, and phase of the primary wave over the valley and to observe their changes over time and height. In the IOP-6 case, the wavelength increased over time, the phase indicated an eastward-shifting wave crest, and the amplitude increased with height and also varied over time.

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Brian Billings, Stephen A. Cohn, Rodney J. Kubesh, and William O. J. Brown

Abstract

The best way to train the next wave of observational talent is through direct experience. In 2012 and again in 2014, students at St. Cloud State University (SCSU) welcomed deployments of professional atmospheric research equipment, allowing them to support and execute field projects. The Boundary Structure Experiments with Central Minnesota Profiling (BaSE CaMP) projects brought the Mobile Integrated Sounding System (MISS) from the National Center for Atmospheric Research’s (NCAR) Earth Observing Laboratory (EOL) to SCSU for a National Science Foundation–funded educational deployment. Its diverse instrumentation and ability to travel to interesting weather events and locations makes MISS extremely valuable for teaching students about both weather experiments and measurement strategies. In addition to the university project, outreach activities with MISS took place at high schools, regional conferences, and public events. MISS carries four instruments: a boundary layer wind profiler, a radio acoustic sounding system (RASS), radiosondes, and an instrumented 10-m tower. The type and time of MISS deployments were quite varied so students could participate around their class schedule, jobs, and other commitments. Each year the project had periods of fixed operations and mobile activity, where MISS was relocated to best observe current weather conditions. BaSE CaMP operations and results were incorporated into many classes in the meteorology program at SCSU. The original course request was for Radar and Satellite Meteorology, but other activities contributed to Atmospheric Dynamics, Physical Meteorology, and Meteorological Analysis Software courses.

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James D. Doyle, Vanda Grubišić, William O. J. Brown, Stephan F. J. De Wekker, Andreas Dörnbrack, Qingfang Jiang, Shane D. Mayor, and Martin Weissmann

Abstract

High-resolution observations from scanning Doppler and aerosol lidars, wind profiler radars, as well as surface and aircraft measurements during the Terrain-induced Rotor Experiment (T-REX) provide the first comprehensive documentation of small-scale intense vortices associated with atmospheric rotors that form in the lee of mountainous terrain. Although rotors are already recognized as potential hazards for aircraft, it is proposed that these small-scale vortices, or subrotors, are the most dangerous features because of strong wind shear and the transient nature of the vortices. A life cycle of a subrotor event is captured by scanning Doppler and aerosol lidars over a 5-min period. The lidars depict an amplifying vortex, with a characteristic length scale of ∼500–1000 m, that overturns and intensifies to a maximum spanwise vorticity greater than 0.2 s−1. Radar wind profiler observations document a series of vortices, characterized by updraft/downdraft couplets and regions of enhanced reversed flow, that are generated in a layer of strong vertical wind shear and subcritical Richardson number. The observations and numerical simulations reveal that turbulent subrotors occur most frequently along the leading edge of an elevated sheet of horizontal vorticity that is a manifestation of boundary layer shear and separation along the lee slopes. As the subrotors break from the vortex sheet, intensification occurs through vortex stretching and in some cases tilting processes related to three-dimensional turbulent mixing. The subrotors and ambient vortex sheet are shown to intensify through a modest increase in the upstream inversion strength, which illustrates the predictability challenges for the turbulent characterization of rotors.

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Neil P. Lareau, Erik Crosman, C. David Whiteman, John D. Horel, Sebastian W. Hoch, William O. J. Brown, and Thomas W. Horst

The Persistent Cold-Air Pool Study (PCAPS) was conducted in Utah's Salt Lake valley from 1 December 2010 to 7 February 2011. The field campaign's primary goal was to improve understanding of the physical processes governing the evolution of multiday cold-air pools (CAPs) that are common in mountain basins during the winter. Meteorological instrumentation deployed throughout the Salt Lake valley provided observations of the processes contributing to the formation, maintenance, and destruction of 10 persistent CAP episodes. The close proximity of PCAPS field sites to residences and the University of Utah campus allowed many undergraduate and graduate students to participate in the study.

Ongoing research, supported by the National Science Foundation, is using the PCAPS dataset to examine CAP evolution. Preliminary analyses reveal that variations in CAP thermodynamic structure are attributable to a multitude of physical processes affecting local static stability: for example, synoptic-scale processes impact changes in temperatures and cloudiness aloft while variations in boundary layer forcing modulate the lower levels of CAPs. During episodes of strong winds, complex interactions between the synoptic and mesoscale f lows, local thermodynamic structure, and terrain lead to both partial and complete removal of CAPs. In addition, the strength and duration of CAP events affect the local concentrations of pollutants such as PM2.5.

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Metcrax 2006

Meteorological Experiments in Arizona's Meteor Crater

C. David Whiteman, Andreas Muschinski, Sharon Zhong, David Fritts, Sebastian W. Hoch, Maura Hahnenberger, Wenqing Yao, Vincent Hohreiter, Mario Behn, Yonghun Cheon, Craig B. Clements, Thomas W. Horst, William O. J. Brown, and Steven P. Oncley

The Meteor Crater Experiment (METCRAX 2006) was conducted in October 2006 at Arizona's Meteor Crater to investigate stable boundary layer evolution in a topographically uncomplicated basin surrounded by the nearly homogeneous plain of the Colorado Plateau. The two goals of the experiment were 1) to investigate the microscale and mesoscale structure and evolution of the stable boundary layer in the crater and its surroundings and 2) to determine whether atmospheric seiches or standing waves are produced inside the crater. This article provides an overview of the scientific goals of the experiment; summarizes the research measurements, the crater topography, and the synoptic meteorology of the study period; and presents initial analysis results. Analyses show that nighttime temperature inversions form frequently in the crater and that they are often perturbed by internal wave motions. Nighttime cooling produces a shallow (15–30 m deep) surface-based inversion that is surmounted by a horizontally homogeneous near-isothermal layer that extends all the way to the rim, where a second inversion extends above rim level. Seiches are sometimes present on the crater floor. The diurnal propagation of shadows from the crater rim produces important spatial differences in the surface radiation budget and thus the timing of the slope flow transition, and the crater atmosphere is often perturbed during nighttime by a southwesterly mesoscale drainage flow.

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Philip A. Feiner, William H. Brune, David O. Miller, Li Zhang, Ronald C. Cohen, Paul S. Romer, Allen H. Goldstein, Frank N. Keutsch, Kate M. Skog, Paul O. Wennberg, Tran B. Nguyen, Alex P. Teng, Joost DeGouw, Abigail Koss, Robert J. Wild, Steven S. Brown, Alex Guenther, Eric Edgerton, Karsten Baumann, and Juliane L. Fry

Abstract

The chemical species emitted by forests create complex atmospheric oxidation chemistry and influence global atmospheric oxidation capacity and climate. The Southern Oxidant and Aerosol Study (SOAS) provided an opportunity to test the oxidation chemistry in a forest where isoprene is the dominant biogenic volatile organic compound. Hydroxyl (OH) and hydroperoxyl (HO2) radicals were two of the hundreds of atmospheric chemical species measured, as was OH reactivity (the inverse of the OH lifetime). OH was measured by laser-induced fluorescence (LIF) and by taking the difference in signals without and with an OH scavenger that was added just outside the instrument’s pinhole inlet. To test whether the chemistry at SOAS can be simulated by current model mechanisms, OH and HO2 were evaluated with a box model using two chemical mechanisms: Master Chemical Mechanism, version 3.2 (MCMv3.2), augmented with explicit isoprene chemistry and MCMv3.3.1. Measured and modeled OH peak at about 106 cm−3 and agree well within combined uncertainties. Measured and modeled HO2 peak at about 27 pptv and also agree well within combined uncertainties. Median OH reactivity cycled between about 11 s−1 at dawn and about 26 s−1 during midafternoon. A good test of the oxidation chemistry is the balance between OH production and loss rates using measurements; this balance was observed to within uncertainties. These SOAS results provide strong evidence that the current isoprene mechanisms are consistent with measured OH and HO2 and, thus, capture significant aspects of the atmospheric oxidation chemistry in this isoprene-rich forest.

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Edward G. Patton, Thomas W. Horst, Peter P. Sullivan, Donald H. Lenschow, Steven P. Oncley, William O. J. Brown, Sean P. Burns, Alex B. Guenther, Andreas Held, Thomas Karl, Shane D. Mayor, Luciana V. Rizzo, Scott M. Spuler, Jielun Sun, Andrew A. Turnipseed, Eugene J. Allwine, Steven L. Edburg, Brian K. Lamb, Roni Avissar, Ronald J. Calhoun, Jan Kleissl, William J. Massman, Kyaw Tha Paw U, and Jeffrey C. Weil

The Canopy Horizontal Array Turbulence Study (CHATS) took place in spring 2007 and is the third in the series of Horizontal Array Turbulence Study (HATS) experiments. The HATS experiments have been instrumental in testing and developing subfilterscale (SFS) models for large-eddy simulation (LES) of planetary boundary layer (PBL) turbulence. The CHATS campaign took place in a deciduous walnut orchard near Dixon, California, and was designed to examine the impacts of vegetation on SFS turbulence. Measurements were collected both prior to and following leafout to capture the impact of leaves on the turbulence, stratification, and scalar source/sink distribution. CHATS utilized crosswind arrays of fast-response instrumentation to investigate the impact of the canopy-imposed distribution of momentum extraction and scalar sources on SFS transport of momentum, energy, and three scalars. To directly test and link with PBL parameterizations of canopy-modified turbulent exchange, CHATS also included a 30-m profile tower instrumented with turbulence instrumentation, fast and slow chemical sensors, aerosol samplers, and radiation instrumentation. A highresolution scanning backscatter lidar characterized the turbulence structure above and within the canopy; a scanning Doppler lidar, mini sodar/radio acoustic sounding system (RASS), and a new helicopter-observing platform provided details of the PBL-scale flow. Ultimately, the CHATS dataset will lead to improved parameterizations of energy and scalar transport to and from vegetation, which are a critical component of global and regional land, atmosphere, and chemical models. This manuscript presents an overview of the experiment, documents the regime sampled, and highlights some preliminary key findings.

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Manuela Lehner, C. David Whiteman, Sebastian W. Hoch, Erik T. Crosman, Matthew E. Jeglum, Nihanth W. Cherukuru, Ronald Calhoun, Bianca Adler, Norbert Kalthoff, Richard Rotunno, Thomas W. Horst, Steven Semmer, William O. J. Brown, Steven P. Oncley, Roland Vogt, A. Martina Grudzielanek, Jan Cermak, Nils J. Fonteyne, Christian Bernhofer, Andrea Pitacco, and Petra Klein

Abstract

The second Meteor Crater Experiment (METCRAX II) was conducted in October 2013 at Arizona’s Meteor Crater. The experiment was designed to investigate nighttime downslope windstorm−type flows that form regularly above the inner southwest sidewall of the 1.2-km diameter crater as a southwesterly mesoscale katabatic flow cascades over the crater rim. The objective of METCRAX II is to determine the causes of these strong, intermittent, and turbulent inflows that bring warm-air intrusions into the southwest part of the crater. This article provides an overview of the scientific goals of the experiment; summarizes the measurements, the crater topography, and the synoptic meteorology of the study period; and presents initial analysis results.

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David C. Fritts, Ronald B. Smith, Michael J. Taylor, James D. Doyle, Stephen D. Eckermann, Andreas Dörnbrack, Markus Rapp, Bifford P. Williams, P.-Dominique Pautet, Katrina Bossert, Neal R. Criddle, Carolyn A. Reynolds, P. Alex Reinecke, Michael Uddstrom, Michael J. Revell, Richard Turner, Bernd Kaifler, Johannes S. Wagner, Tyler Mixa, Christopher G. Kruse, Alison D. Nugent, Campbell D. Watson, Sonja Gisinger, Steven M. Smith, Ruth S. Lieberman, Brian Laughman, James J. Moore, William O. Brown, Julie A. Haggerty, Alison Rockwell, Gregory J. Stossmeister, Steven F. Williams, Gonzalo Hernandez, Damian J. Murphy, Andrew R. Klekociuk, Iain M. Reid, and Jun Ma

Abstract

The Deep Propagating Gravity Wave Experiment (DEEPWAVE) was designed to quantify gravity wave (GW) dynamics and effects from orographic and other sources to regions of dissipation at high altitudes. The core DEEPWAVE field phase took place from May through July 2014 using a comprehensive suite of airborne and ground-based instruments providing measurements from Earth’s surface to ∼100 km. Austral winter was chosen to observe deep GW propagation to high altitudes. DEEPWAVE was based on South Island, New Zealand, to provide access to the New Zealand and Tasmanian “hotspots” of GW activity and additional GW sources over the Southern Ocean and Tasman Sea. To observe GWs up to ∼100 km, DEEPWAVE utilized three new instruments built specifically for the National Science Foundation (NSF)/National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Gulfstream V (GV): a Rayleigh lidar, a sodium resonance lidar, and an advanced mesosphere temperature mapper. These measurements were supplemented by in situ probes, dropsondes, and a microwave temperature profiler on the GV and by in situ probes and a Doppler lidar aboard the German DLR Falcon. Extensive ground-based instrumentation and radiosondes were deployed on South Island, Tasmania, and Southern Ocean islands. Deep orographic GWs were a primary target but multiple flights also observed deep GWs arising from deep convection, jet streams, and frontal systems. Highlights include the following: 1) strong orographic GW forcing accompanying strong cross-mountain flows, 2) strong high-altitude responses even when orographic forcing was weak, 3) large-scale GWs at high altitudes arising from jet stream sources, and 4) significant flight-level energy fluxes and often very large momentum fluxes at high altitudes.

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Brian J. Butterworth, Ankur R. Desai, Stefan Metzger, Philip A. Townsend, Mark D. Schwartz, Grant W. Petty, Matthias Mauder, Hannes Vogelmann, Christian G. Andresen, Travis J. Augustine, Timothy H. Bertram, William O. J. Brown, Michael Buban, Patricia Cleary, David J. Durden, Christopher R. Florian, Trevor J. Iglinski, Eric L. Kruger, Kathleen Lantz, Temple R. Lee, Tilden P. Meyers, James K. Mineau, Erik R. Olson, Steven P. Oncley, Sreenath Paleri, Rosalyn A. Pertzborn, Claire Pettersen, David M. Plummer, Laura D. Riihimaki, Eliceo Ruiz Guzman, Joseph Sedlar, Elizabeth N. Smith, Johannes Speidel, Paul C. Stoy, Matthias Sühring, Jonathan E. Thom, David D. Turner, Michael P. Vermeuel, Timothy J. Wagner, Zhien Wang, Luise Wanner, Loren D. White, James M. Wilczak, Daniel B. Wright, and Ting Zheng

Abstract

The Chequamegon Heterogeneous Ecosystem Energy-Balance Study Enabled by a High-Density Extensive Array of Detectors 2019 (CHEESEHEAD19) is an ongoing National Science Foundation project based on an intensive field campaign that occurred from June to October 2019. The purpose of the study is to examine how the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) responds to spatial heterogeneity in surface energy fluxes. One of the main objectives is to test whether lack of energy balance closure measured by eddy covariance (EC) towers is related to mesoscale atmospheric processes. Finally, the project evaluates data-driven methods for scaling surface energy fluxes, with the aim to improve model–data comparison and integration. To address these questions, an extensive suite of ground, tower, profiling, and airborne instrumentation was deployed over a 10 km × 10 km domain of a heterogeneous forest ecosystem in the Chequamegon–Nicolet National Forest in northern Wisconsin, United States, centered on an existing 447-m tower that anchors an AmeriFlux/NOAA supersite (US-PFa/WLEF). The project deployed one of the world’s highest-density networks of above-canopy EC measurements of surface energy fluxes. This tower EC network was coupled with spatial measurements of EC fluxes from aircraft; maps of leaf and canopy properties derived from airborne spectroscopy, ground-based measurements of plant productivity, phenology, and physiology; and atmospheric profiles of wind, water vapor, and temperature using radar, sodar, lidar, microwave radiometers, infrared interferometers, and radiosondes. These observations are being used with large-eddy simulation and scaling experiments to better understand submesoscale processes and improve formulations of subgrid-scale processes in numerical weather and climate models.

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