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Richard P. James, J. Michael Fritsch, and Paul M. Markowski

Abstract

The organizational mode of quasi-linear convective systems often falls within a spectrum of modes described by a line of discrete cells on one end (“cellular”) and an unbroken two-dimensional swath of ascent on the other (“slabular”). Convective events exhibiting distinctly cellular or slabular characteristics over the continental United States were compiled, and composite soundings of the respective inflow environments were constructed. The most notable difference between the environments of slabs and cells occurred in the wind profiles; lines organized as slabs existed in much stronger low-level line-relative inflow and stronger low-level shear.

A compressible model with high resolution (Δx = 500 m) was used to investigate the effects of varying environmental conditions on the nature of the convective overturning. The numerical results show that highly cellular convective lines are favored when the environmental conditions and initiation procedure allow the convectively generated cold pools to remain separate from one another. The transition to a continuous along-line cold pool and gust front leads to the generation of a more “solid” line of convection, as dynamic pressure forcing above the downshear edge of the cold outflow creates a swath of quasi-two-dimensional ascent. Using both full-physics simulations and a simplified cold-pool model, it is demonstrated that the magnitude of the two-dimensional ascent in slabular convective systems is closely related to the integrated cold-pool strength.

It is concluded that slabular organization tends to occur under conditions that favor the development of a strong, contiguous cold pool. The tendency to produce slabular convection is therefore enhanced by environmental conditions such as large CAPE, weak convective inhibition, strong along-line winds, and moderately strong cross-line wind shear.

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Christopher S. Velden, Christopher M. Hayden, W. Paul Menzel, James L. Franklin, and James S. Lynch

Abstract

While qualitative information from meteorological satellites has long been recognized as critical for monitoring tropical cyclone activity, quantitative data are required to improve the objective analysis and numerical weather prediction of these events. In this paper, results are presented that show that the inclusion of high-density, multispectral, satellite-derived information into the analysis of tropical cyclone environmental wind fields can effectively reduce the error of objective track forecasts. Two independent analysis and barotropic track-forecast systems are utilized in order to examine the consistency of the results. Both systems yield a 10%–23% reduction in middle- to long-range track-forecast errors with the inclusion of the satellite wind observations.

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Michelle M. Gierach, Mark A. Bourassa, Philip Cunningham, James J. O’Brien, and Paul D. Reasor

Abstract

Ocean wind vectors from the SeaWinds scatterometer aboard the Quick Scatterometer (QuikSCAT) satellite and Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) imagery are used to develop an objective technique that can detect and monitor tropical disturbances associated with the early stages of tropical cyclogenesis in the Atlantic basin. The technique is based on identification of surface vorticity and wind speed signatures that exceed certain threshold magnitudes, with vorticity averaged over an appropriate spatial scale. The threshold values applied herein are determined from the precursors of 15 tropical cyclones during the 1999–2004 Atlantic Ocean hurricane seasons using research-quality QuikSCAT data. The choice of these thresholds is complicated by the lack of suitable validation data. The combination of GOES and QuikSCAT data is used to track the tropical disturbances that are precursors to the 15 tropical cyclones. This combination of data can be used to test detection but is not as easily used to examine false alarms. Tropical disturbances are found for these cases within a range of 19–101 h before classification as tropical cyclones by the National Hurricane Center. The 15 cases are further subdivided based upon their origination source (i.e., easterly wave, upper-level cutoff low, stagnant frontal zone, etc.). The primary focus centers on the cases associated with tropical waves, because these waves account for the majority of all Atlantic tropical cyclones. The detection technique illustrates the ability to track these tropical disturbances from near the coast of Africa. Analysis of the pretropical cyclone (pre-TC) tracks for these cases depicts stages, related to wind speed and precipitation, in the evolution of a tropical disturbance within an easterly wave to a tropical cyclone.

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Ellis Remsberg, James M. Russell III, Larry L. Gordley, John C. Gille, and Paul L. Bailey

Abstract

The LIMS experiment on Nimbus 7 has provided new results on the stratospheric water vapor distribution. The data show 1) a latitudinal gradient with mixing ratios that increase by a factor of 2 from equator to ±60 degrees at 50 mb, 2) most of the time there is a fairly uniform mixing ratio of 5 ppmv at high latitudes, but more variation exists during winter, 3) a well-developed hygropause at low to midlatitudes of the lower stratosphere 4) a source region of water vapor in the upper stratosphere to lower mesosphere that is consistent with methane oxidation chemistry, at least within the uncertainties of the data, 5) an apparent zonal mean H2O distribution that is consistent with the circulation proposed by Brewer in 1949, and 6) a zonal mean distribution in the lower stratosphere that is consistent with the idea of quasi-isentropic transport by eddies in the meridional direction. Limits to the use of the data in the refinement of our understanding of the stratospheric water vapor budget are noted.

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Robert W. Fett, Marie E. White, James E. Peak, Sam Brand, and Paul M. Tag

The Naval Research Laboratory Marine Meteorology Division, over a period of more than 15 years, has developed a series of satellite imagery training documents called the Navy Tactical Applications Guides (NTAGs). The NTAG materials are unique because of their innovative focus on operationally relevant meteorological and oceanographic phenomena of concern to naval forces throughout the world and the exceedingly high quality of printed images. Advances in hypermedia and CD-ROM technology are enabling the enhancement and continued distribution of the NTAGs through the development of an electronic application called LaserTAG. CD-ROM technology provides large reproduction and storage capacity at a relatively low cost ($25 for LaserTAG discs versus $1000 for the 11-volume NTAG set). Hypermedia and electronic conversion supply the ability to 1) rapidly locate material through keyword searches and navigate to those locations through hypermedia links, 2) read text and view graphics simultaneously using multiple windows, and 3) create electronic annotation and bookmark files. A second technology, expert systems, is further expanding potential uses of the information documented in the NTAG series. The Satellite Image Analysis Meteorological Expert System (SIAMES) encapsulates important conclusions and rules of analysis. The SIAMES prototype described here leads the user through a hierarchy of image interpretation expertise derived from the NTAG series by querying the user about details appearing in the satellite imagery. The ultimate goal, particularly important when resident expertise is minimal or nonexistent, is to develop an automated method to deduce sensible weather parameters that affect navy operations. Applications of these technologies to environmental satellite image analysis provide new opportunities for their use, not only in the operational community, but in training and research as well.

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David M. L. Sills, James W. Wilson, Paul I. Joe, Donald W. Burgess, Robert M. Webb, and Neil I. Fox

Abstract

Several severe thunderstorms, including a tornadic supercell, developed on the afternoon of 3 November 2000, during the Sydney 2000 Forecast Demonstration Project. Severe weather included three tornadoes, damaging wind gusts, hail to 7-cm diameter, and heavy rain causing flash flooding. A unique dataset was collected including data from two Doppler radars, a surface mesonet, enhanced upper-air profiling, storm photography, and a storm damage survey. Synoptic-scale forcing was weak and mesoscale factors were central to the development of severe weather. In particular, low-level boundaries such as gust fronts and the sea-breeze front played critical roles in the initiation and enhancement of storms, the motion of storms, and the generation of rotation at low levels. The complex and often subtle boundary interactions that led to the development of the tornadic supercell in this case highlight the need for advanced detection and prediction tools to improve the warning capacity for such events.

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Christopher S. Velden, Christopher M. Hayden, Steven J W. Nieman, W. Paul Menzel, Steven Wanzong, and James S. Goerss

The coverage and quality of remotely sensed upper-tropospheric moisture parameters have improved considerably with the deployment of a new generation of operational geostationary meteorological satellites: GOES-8/9 and GMS-5. The GOES-8/9 water vapor imaging capabilities have increased as a result of improved radiometric sensitivity and higher spatial resolution. The addition of a water vapor sensing channel on the latest GMS permits nearly global viewing of upper-tropospheric water vapor (when joined with GOES and Meteosat) and enhances the commonality of geostationary meteorological satellite observing capabilities. Upper-tropospheric motions derived from sequential water vapor imagery provided by these satellites can be objectively extracted by automated techniques. Wind fields can be deduced in both cloudy and cloud-free environments. In addition to the spatially coherent nature of these vector fields, the GOES-8/9 multispectral water vapor sensing capabilities allow for determination of wind fields over multiple tropospheric layers in cloud-free environments. This article provides an update on the latest efforts to extract water vapor motion displacements over meteorological scales ranging from subsynoptic to global. The potential applications of these data to impact operations, numerical assimilation and prediction, and research studies are discussed.

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Colin M. Zarzycki, Michael N. Levy, Christiane Jablonowski, James R. Overfelt, Mark A. Taylor, and Paul A. Ullrich

Abstract

A variable-resolution option has been added within the spectral element (SE) dynamical core of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)–NCAR Community Atmosphere Model (CAM). CAM-SE allows for static refinement via conforming quadrilateral meshes on the cubed sphere. This paper investigates the effect of mesh refinement in a climate model by running variable-resolution (var-res) simulations on an aquaplanet. The variable-resolution grid is a 2° (~222 km) grid with a refined patch of 0.25° (~28 km) resolution centered at the equator. Climatology statistics from these simulations are compared to globally uniform runs of 2° and 0.25°.

A significant resolution dependence exists when using the CAM version 4 (CAM4) subgrid physical parameterization package across scales. Global cloud fraction decreases and equatorial precipitation increases with finer horizontal resolution, resulting in drastically different climates between the uniform grid runs and a physics-induced grid imprinting in the var-res simulation. Using CAM version 5 (CAM5) physics significantly improves cloud scaling at different grid resolutions. Additional precipitation at the equator in the high-resolution mesh results in collocated zonally anomalous divergence in both var-res simulations, although this feature is much weaker in CAM5 than CAM4. The equilibrium solution at each grid spacing within the var-res simulations captures the majority of the resolution signal of the corresponding globally uniform grids. The var-res simulation exhibits good performance with respect to wave propagation, including equatorial regions where waves pass through grid transitions. In addition, the increased frequency of high-precipitation events in the refined 0.25° area within the var-res simulations matches that observed in the global 0.25° simulations.

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Paul E. Johnston, James R. Jordan, Allen B. White, David A. Carter, David M. Costa, and Thomas E. Ayers

Abstract

A vertically pointing radar for monitoring radar brightband height (BBH) has been developed. This new radar utilizes frequency-modulated continuous wave (FM-CW) techniques to provide high-resolution data at a fraction of the cost of comparable pulsed radars. This S-band radar provides details of the vertical structure of precipitating clouds, with full Doppler information. Details of the radar design are presented along with observations from one storm. Results from a calibration using these storm data show the radar meets the design goals. Eleven of these radars have been deployed and provide BBH data in near–real time.

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Timothy J. Schmit, Mathew M. Gunshor, W. Paul Menzel, James J. Gurka, Jun Li, and A. Scott Bachmeier

The Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI), designated to be one of the instruments on a future Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) series, will introduce a new era for U.S. geostationary environmental remote sensing. ABI is slated to be launched on GOES-R in 2012 and will be used for a wide range of weather, oceanographic, climate, and environmental applications. ABI will have more spectral bands (16), faster imaging (enabling more geographical areas to be scanned), and higher spatial resolution (2 km in the infrared and 1–0.5 km in the visible) than the current GOES Imager. The purposes of the selected spectral bands are summarized in this paper. There will also be improved performance with regard to radiometrics and image navigation/registration. ABI will improve all current GOES Imager products and introduce a host of new products. New capabilities will include detecting upper-level SO2 plumes, monitoring plant health on a diurnal time scale, inferring cloud-top phase and particle size and other microphysical properties, and quantifying air quality with improved aerosol and smoke detection. ABI will be operating in concert with the GOES-R high spectral resolution sounder, part of the Hyperspectral Environmental Suite (HES); several products will be improved through the combination of high spatial resolution imager data with collocated high spectral resolution measurements. This paper introduces the proposed ABI spectral bands, discusses the rationale for their selection, and presents simulated ABI examples gleaned from current airborne and satellite instrument data.

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