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Xianglei Huang, Jason N. S. Cole, Fei He, Gerald L. Potter, Lazaros Oreopoulos, Dongmin Lee, Max Suarez, and Norman G. Loeb

Abstract

The cloud radiative effect (CRE) of each longwave (LW) absorption band of a GCM’s radiation code is uniquely valuable for GCM evaluation because 1) comparing band-by-band CRE avoids the compensating biases in the broadband CRE comparison and 2) the fractional contribution of each band to the LW broadband CRE (f CRE) is sensitive to cloud-top height but largely insensitive to cloud fraction, thereby presenting a diagnostic metric to separate the two macroscopic properties of clouds. Recent studies led by the first author have established methods to derive such band-by-band quantities from collocated Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) and Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) observations. A study is presented here that compares the observed band-by-band CRE over the tropical oceans with those simulated by three different atmospheric GCMs—the GFDL Atmospheric Model version 2 (GFDL AM2), NASA Goddard Earth Observing System version 5 (GEOS-5), and the fourth-generation AGCM of the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis (CCCma CanAM4)—forced by observed SST. The models agree with observation on the annual-mean LW broadband CRE over the tropical oceans within ±1 W m−2. However, the differences among these three GCMs in some bands can be as large as or even larger than ±1 W m−2. Observed seasonal cycles of f CRE in major bands are shown to be consistent with the seasonal cycle of cloud-top pressure for both the amplitude and the phase. However, while the three simulated seasonal cycles of f CRE agree with observations on the phase, the amplitudes are underestimated. Simulated interannual anomalies from GFDL AM2 and CCCma CanAM4 are in phase with observed anomalies. The spatial distribution of f CRE highlights the discrepancies between models and observation over the low-cloud regions and the compensating biases from different bands.

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Matthew T. DeLand, Richard P. Cebula, Liang-Kang Huang, Steven L. Taylor, Richard S. Stolarski, and Richard D. McPeters

Abstract

Satellite measurements using the backscattered ultraviolet technique provide a powerful method for the observation of stratospheric ozone. However, rapid input signal variations over three to four orders of magnitude in several minutes can lead to problems with instrument response. Inflight data have recently been used to characterize a “hysteresis” problem on the NOAA-9 SBUV/2 instrument, which affects measurements made shortly after emerging from darkness. Radiance values observed under these conditions can be up to 2%–3% lower than expected. A correction has been derived for NOAA-9 data that is solar zenith angle dependent and varies in amplitude and time. Typical changes to affected polar total ozone values are on the order of 1% but can reach 5% in some cases. Profile ozone changes are altitude dependent, with maximum values of 4%–5% at 1 hPa. The NOAA-11 and NOAA-14 SBUV/2 instruments have a much smaller hysteresis effect than that observed for NOAA-9 SBUV/2 due to a change in photomultiplier tubes. The Nimbus-7 SBUV instrument also shows a hysteresis effect, which has not been fully characterized at this time.

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Boyin Huang, Michelle L’Heureux, Jay Lawrimore, Chunying Liu, Huai-Min Zhang, Viva Banzon, Zeng-Zhen Hu, and Arun Kumar

Abstract

During June–November 2012, pronounced differences in tropical Pacific sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies were observed between three widely used SST products: the extended reconstructed SST version 3b (ERSSTv3b), and the optimum interpolation SST version 2 analyses (OISST), produced weekly (OISSTwk) and daily (OISSTdy). During June–August 2012, the Niño-3.4 SST anomaly (SSTA) index was 0.2°–0.3°C lower in ERSSTv3b than in OISSTwk and OISSTdy, while it was 0.3°–0.4°C higher from September to November 2012. Such differences in the Niño-3.4 SSTA index can impact the assessment of the status of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation, which is determined using a threshold of ±0.5°C in the Niño-3.4 SSTA index.

To investigate the reasons for the differences between ERSSTv3b and OISSTdy/OISSTwk, an experimental analysis (called ERSSTsat) is created that is similar to ERSSTv3b but includes satellite-derived SSTs. However, significant differences in the Niño-3.4 SSTA index remained between ERSSTsat and OISSTdy/OISSTwk. Comparisons of ERSSTsat and OISSTdy indicate that their differences are mostly associated with the different schemes for bias adjustment applied to the satellite-based SSTs. It is therefore suggested that the differences in the Niño-3.4 SSTA index between ERSSTv3b and OISSTdy cannot be solely due to the inclusion of but by the bias adjustment methodology of satellite data in OISSTdy.

Finally, the SST products are compared with observations from ships, buoys, and satellites. On the monthly time scale, the area-averaged Niño-3.4 SSTA index in the tropical Pacific is more consistent with in situ observations in ERSSTv3b than in OISSTdy. In contrast, pointwise observations across the tropical Pacific are more consistent with OISSTdy than ERSSTv3b. It is therefore suggested that the differences among SST products are partially due to a structural uncertainty of various SST estimates.

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Xianglei Huang, Xiuhong Chen, Gerald L. Potter, Lazaros Oreopoulos, Jason N. S. Cole, Dongmin Lee, and Norman G. Loeb

Abstract

Longwave (LW) spectral flux and cloud radiative effect (CRE) are important for understanding the earth’s radiation budget and cloud–radiation interaction. Here, the authors extend their previous algorithms to collocated Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) and Cloud and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) observations over the entire globe and show that the algorithms yield consistently good performances for measurements over both land and ocean. As a result, the authors are able to derive spectral flux and CRE at 10-cm−1 intervals over the entire LW spectrum from all currently available collocated AIRS and CERES observations. Using this multiyear dataset, they delineate the climatology of spectral CRE, including the far IR, over the entire globe as well as in different climate zones. Furthermore, the authors define two quantities, IR-effective cloud-top height (CTHeff) and cloud amount (CAeff), based on the monthly-mean spectral (or band by band) CRE. Comparisons with cloud fields retrieved by the CERES–Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) algorithm indicate that, under many circumstances, the CTHeff and CAeff can be related to the physical retrievals of CTH and CA and thus can enhance understandings of model deficiencies in LW radiation budgets and cloud fields. Using simulations from the GFDL global atmosphere model, version 2 (AM2); NASA’s Goddard Earth Observing System, version 5 (GEOS-5); and Environment Canada’s Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis (CCCma) Fourth Generation Canadian Atmospheric General Circulation Model (CanAM4) as case studies, the authors further demonstrate the merits of the CTHeff and CAeff concepts in providing insights on global climate model evaluations that cannot be obtained solely from broadband LW flux and CRE comparisons.

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Edwin K. Schneider, Bohua Huang, Zhengxin Zhu, David G. DeWitt, James L. Kinter III, Ben P. Kirtman, and J. Shukla

Abstract

A scheme for making seasonal to interannual predictions of El Niño–Southern Oscillation with a coupled atmosphere–ocean general circulation model that incorporates subsurface ocean measurements in the initial conditions is described. Anomaly initial conditions are used in order to reduce initial shock and climate drift. The ocean component of the prediction model has a nearly global domain, and the coupled model does not employ anomaly coupling or empirical statistical corrections.

Initial conditions for the ocean were obtained from a near-global ocean analysis produced by an ocean data assimilation system. The assimilation system uses a variationally formulated optimal interpolation method to analyze oceanic fields from temperature observations and a first-guess field provided by integrating a global ocean general circulation model. The period of the analysis was 1986 through 1992.

The anomaly initial conditions for the ocean were generated by adding the anomalies of the assimilated fields from the assimilation climatology to the coupled model climatology. A series of 28 1-yr hindcast experiments, four each year for the years 1986–1992, was carried out to test the scheme. The hindcasts show considerable skill in the equatorial Pacific.

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Daniel K. Zhou, William L. Smith Sr., Xu Liu, Allen M. Larar, Stephen A. Mango, and Hung-Lung Huang

Abstract

A physical inversion scheme has been developed dealing with cloudy as well as cloud-free radiance observed with ultraspectral infrared sounders to simultaneously retrieve surface, atmospheric thermodynamic, and cloud microphysical parameters. A fast radiative transfer model, which applies to the clouded atmosphere, is used for atmospheric profile and cloud parameter retrieval. A one-dimensional (1D) variational multivariable inversion solution is used to improve an iterative background state defined by an eigenvector-regression retrieval. The solution is iterated in order to account for nonlinearity in the 1D variational solution. It is shown that relatively accurate temperature and moisture retrievals can be achieved below optically thin clouds. For optically thick clouds, accurate temperature and moisture profiles down to cloud-top level are obtained. For both optically thin and thick cloud situations, the cloud-top height can be retrieved with relatively high accuracy (i.e., error <1 km). National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Airborne Sounder Testbed Interferometer (NAST-I) retrievals from the The Observing-System Research and Predictability Experiment (THORPEX) Atlantic Regional Campaign are compared with coincident observations obtained from dropsondes and the nadir-pointing cloud physics lidar (CPL). This work was motivated by the need to obtain solutions for atmospheric soundings from infrared radiances observed for every individual field of view, regardless of cloud cover, from future ultraspectral geostationary satellite sounding instruments, such as the Geosynchronous Imaging Fourier Transform Spectrometer (GIFTS). However, this retrieval approach can also be applied to the ultraspectral sounding instruments to fly on polar satellites, such as the Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI) on the European MetOp satellite, the Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS) on the NPOESS Preparatory Project, and the follow-on NPOESS series of satellites.

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R. J. Bantges, H. E. Brindley, X. H. Chen, X. L. Huang, J. E. Harries, and J. E. Murray

Abstract

Differences between Earth’s global mean all-sky outgoing longwave radiation spectrum as observed in 1970 [Interferometric Infrared Spectrometer (IRIS)], 1997 [Interferometric Monitor for Greenhouse Gases (IMG)], and 2012 [Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Instrument (IASI)] are presented. These differences are evaluated to determine whether these are robust signals of multidecadal radiative forcing and hence whether there is the potential for evaluating feedback-type responses. IASI–IRIS differences range from +2 K in the atmospheric window (800–1000 cm−1) to −5.5 K in the 1304 cm−1 CH4 band center. Corresponding IASI–IMG differences are much smaller, at 0.2 and −0.8 K, respectively. More noticeably, IASI–IRIS differences show a distinct step change across the 1042 cm−1 O3 band that is not seen in IASI–IMG comparisons. This step change is a consequence of a difference in behavior when moving from colder to warmer scenes in the IRIS data compared to IASI and IMG. Matched simulations for the relevant periods using ERA reanalyses mimic the spectral behavior shown by IASI and IMG rather than by IRIS. These findings suggest that uncertainties in the spectral response of IRIS preclude the use of these data for quantitative assessments of forcing and feedback processes.

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Bohua Huang, Chul-Su Shin, J. Shukla, Lawrence Marx, Magdalena A. Balmaseda, Subhadeep Halder, Paul Dirmeyer, and James L. Kinter III

Abstract

A set of ensemble seasonal reforecasts for 1958–2014 is conducted using the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Climate Forecast System, version 2. In comparison with other current reforecasts, this dataset extends the seasonal reforecasts to the 1960s–70s. Direct comparison of the predictability of the ENSO events occurring during the 1960s–70s with the more widely studied ENSO events since then demonstrates the seasonal forecast system’s capability in different phases of multidecadal variability and degrees of global climate change. A major concern for a long reforecast is whether the seasonal reforecasts before 1979 provide useful skill when observations, particularly of the ocean, were sparser. This study demonstrates that, although the reforecasts have lower skill in predicting SST anomalies in the North Pacific and North Atlantic before 1979, the prediction skill of the onset and development of ENSO events in 1958–78 is comparable to that for 1979–2014. In particular, the ENSO predictions initialized in April during 1958–78 show higher skill in the summer. However, the skill of the earlier predictions declines faster in the ENSO decaying phase, because the reforecasts initialized after boreal summer persistently predict lingering wind and SST anomalies over the eastern equatorial Pacific during such events. Reforecasts initialized in boreal fall overestimate the peak SST anomalies of strong El Niño events since the 1980s. Both phenomena imply that the model’s air–sea feedback is overly active in the eastern Pacific before ENSO event termination. Whether these differences are due to changes in the observing system or are associated with flow-dependent predictability remains an open question.

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Hongyi Li, Mark S. Wigmosta, Huan Wu, Maoyi Huang, Yinghai Ke, André M. Coleman, and L. Ruby Leung

Abstract

A new physically based runoff routing model, called the Model for Scale Adaptive River Transport (MOSART), has been developed to be applicable across local, regional, and global scales. Within each spatial unit, surface runoff is first routed across hillslopes and then discharged along with subsurface runoff into a “tributary subnetwork” before entering the main channel. The spatial units are thus linked via routing through the main channel network, which is constructed in a scale-consistent way across different spatial resolutions. All model parameters are physically based, and only a small subset requires calibration. MOSART has been applied to the Columbia River basin at ⅙°, ⅛°, ¼°, and ½° spatial resolutions and was evaluated using naturalized or observed streamflow at a number of gauge stations. MOSART is compared to two other routing models widely used with land surface models, the River Transport Model (RTM) in the Community Land Model (CLM) and the Lohmann routing model, included as a postprocessor in the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) model package, yielding consistent performance at multiple resolutions. MOSART is further evaluated using the channel velocities derived from field measurements or a hydraulic model at various locations and is shown to be capable of producing the seasonal variation and magnitude of channel velocities reasonably well at different resolutions. Moreover, the impacts of spatial resolution on model simulations are systematically examined at local and regional scales. Finally, the limitations of MOSART and future directions for improvements are discussed.

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Fukai Liu, Jian Lu, Oluwayemi A. Garuba, Yi Huang, L. Ruby Leung, Bryce E. Harrop, and Yiyong Luo

Abstract

A large set of Green’s function-type experiments is performed with q-flux forcings mimicking the effects of the ocean heat uptake (OHU) to examine the global surface air temperature (SAT) sensitivities to the location of the forcing. The result of the experiments confirms the earlier notion derived from experiments with different model complexities that the global mean SAT is far more sensitive to the oceanic forcing from high latitudes than the tropics. Remarkably, no matter in which latitude the q-flux forcings are placed, the SAT response is always characterized by a feature of polar amplification, implicating that it is intrinsic to our climate system. Considerable zonal asymmetry is also present in the efficacy of the tropical OHU, with the tropical eastern Pacific being much more efficient than the Indian Ocean and tropical Atlantic in driving global SAT warming by exciting the leading neutral mode of the SAT that projects strongly onto global mean warming. Using a radiative kernel, feedback analysis is also conducted to unravel the underlying processes responsible for the spatial heterogeneity in the global OHU efficacy, the polar amplification structures, and the tropical altruism of sharing the warmth with remote latitudes. Warming “altruism” for a q flux at a given latitude is also investigated in terms of the ratio of the induced remote latitudes versus the directly forced local warming. It is found that the tropics are much more altruistic than higher latitudes because of the high-energy transport efficiency of the Hadley circulation.

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