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A Review of Quasi-Two-Dimensional Structures in the Atmospheric Boundary Layer

George S. Young, David A. R. Kristovich, Mark R. Hjelmfelt, and Ralph C. Foster

The atmospheric boundary layer is home to a number of horizontally elongated quasi-two-dimensional phenomena including cloud streets, roll vortices, thermal waves, and surface layer streaks. These phenomena, their dynamics, and their interactions are explored via a review of the literature. Making a clear distinction between the various quasi-two-dimensional phenomena allows improved synthesis of previous results and a better understanding of the interrelationships between phenomena.

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Xiaofeng Li, Jun A. Zhang, Xiaofeng Yang, William G. Pichel, Mark DeMaria, David Long, and Ziwei Li

In 2008, the Canadian Space Agency sponsored the Radarsat Hurricane Applications Project (RHAP), for researching new developments in the application of Radarsat-1 synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data and innovative mapping approaches to better understand the dynamics of tropical cyclone genesis, morphology, and movement. Although tropical cyclones can be detected by many remote sensors, SAR can yield high-resolution (subkilometer) and low-level storm information that cannot be seen below the clouds by other sensors. In addition to the wind field and tropical cyclone eye information, structures associated with atmospheric processes can also be detected by SAR. We have acquired 161 Radarsat-1 SAR images through RHAP between 2001 and 2007. Among these, 73 images show clear tropical cyclone eye structure. In addition, we also acquired 10 images from the European Space Agency's Envisat SAR between 2004 and 2010. Both Atlantic hurricanes and Pacific typhoons are included.

In this study, we analyze these 83 (73 Radarsat-1 and 10 Envisat) images with tropical cyclone eye information along with ancillary tropical cyclone intensity information from the archive to generate tropical cyclone morphology statistics. Histograms of wave-number asymmetry and intensity are presented. The statistics show that when the storm has higher intensity, the tropical cyclone eye tends to become more symmetric, and the area of the tropical cyclone eye, defined by the minimum wind area, tends to be smaller. Examples of finescale structures within the tropical cyclone (i.e., eye/eyewall mesovortices, arc clouds, double eyewalls, and abnormally high wind or rain within eyes) are presented and discussed.

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David L. Randel, Thomas H. Vonder Haar, Mark A. Ringerud, Graeme L. Stephens, Thomas J. Greenwald, and Cynthia L. Combs

A comprehensive and accurate global water vapor dataset is critical to the adequate understanding of water vapor's role in the earth's climate system. To begin to satisfy this need, the authors have produced a blended dataset made up of global, 5-yr (1988–92), l°x 1° spatial resolution, atmospheric water vapor (WV) and liquid water path products. These new products consist of both the daily total column-integrated composites and a multilayered WV product at three layers (1000–700, 700–500, 500–300 mb). The analyses combine WV retrievals from the Television and Infrared Operational Satellite (TIROS) Operational Vertical Sounder (TOVS), the Special Sensor Microwave/Imager, and radiosonde observations. The global, vertical-layered water vapor dataset was developed by slicing the blended total column water vapor using layer information from TOVS and radiosonde. Also produced was a companion, over oceans only, liquid water path dataset. Satellite observations of liquid water path are growing in importance since many of the global climate models are now either incorporating or contain liquid water as an explicit variable. The complete dataset (all three products) has been named NVAP, an acronym for National Aeronautics and Space Administration Water Vapor Project.

This paper provides examples of the new dataset as well as scientific analysis of the observed annual cycle and the interannual variability of water vapor at global, hemispheric, and regional scales. A distinct global annual cycle is shown to be dominated by the Northern Hemisphere observations. Planetary-scale variations are found to relate well to recent independent estimates of tropospheric temperature variations. Maps of regional interannual variability in the 5-yr period show the effect of the 1992 ENSO and other features.

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Shawn R. Smith, Jacques Servain, David M. Legler, James N . Stricherz, Mark A. Bourassa, and James J. O'brien

Quality wind stress fields are desired for a wide range of oceanographic and atmospheric studies. An overview is presented of the monthly quick-look and research-quality tropical ocean wind (pseudostress) products produced for the Pacific and Indian Oceans by The Florida State University (FSU) and for the Atlantic Ocean by the French Institut de Recherche pour le Développement [IRD; formerly Institut Français de Recherche Scientifique pour le Développement en Coopération (ORSTOM)]. This review article briefly discusses the current state of tropical wind stress products, including an introduction to the new objective FSU analysis technique and advancements in the IRD method. The primary focus is a detailed discussion of how the FSU and IRD pseudostress fields evolved from early subjective in situ analysis techniques. The historical retrospective introduces the scientific motivation, development, and methodology for each product. Examples of the wide range of scientific research and operational applications of the FSU and IRD products are provided.

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Ralph A. Kahn, John A. Ogren, Thomas P. Ackerman, Jens Bösenberg, Robert J. Charlson, David J. Diner, Brent N. Holben, Robert T. Menzies, Mark A. Miller, and John H. Seinfeld

We briefly but systematically review major sources of aerosol data, emphasizing suites of measurements that seem most likely to contribute to assessments of global aerosol climate forcing. The strengths and limitations of existing satellite, surface, and aircraft remote sensing systems are described, along with those of direct sampling networks and ship-based stations. It is evident that an enormous number of aerosol-related observations have been made, on a wide range of spatial and temporal sampling scales, and that many of the key gaps in this collection of data could be filled by technologies that either exist or are expected to be available in the near future. Emphasis must be given to combining remote sensing and in situ active and passive observations and integrating them with aerosol chemical transport models, in order to create a more complete environmental picture, having sufficient detail to address current climate forcing questions. The Progressive Aerosol Retrieval and Assimilation Global Observing Network (PARAGON) initiative would provide an organizational framework to meet this goal.

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James R. Campbell, David A. Peterson, Jared W. Marquis, Gilberto J. Fochesatto, Mark A. Vaughan, Sebastian A. Stewart, Jason L. Tackett, Simone Lolli, Jasper R. Lewis, Mayra I. Oyola, and Ellsworth J. Welton
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Anthony G. Barnston, Huug M. van den Dool, Stephen E. Zebiak, Tim P. Barnett, Ming Ji, David R. Rodenhuis, Mark A. Cane, Ants Leetmaa, Nicholas E. Graham, Chester R. Ropelewski, Vernon E. Kousky, Edward A. O'Lenic, and Robert E. Livezey

The National Weather Service intends to begin routinely issuing long-lead forecasts of 3-month mean U. S. temperature and precipitation by the beginning of 1995. The ability to produce useful forecasts for certain seasons and regions at projection times of up to 1 yr is attributed to advances in data observing and processing, computer capability, and physical understanding—particularly, for tropical ocean-atmosphere phenomena. Because much of the skill of the forecasts comes from anomalies of tropical SST related to ENSO, we highlight here long-lead forecasts of the tropical Pacific SST itself, which have higher skill than the U.S forecasts that are made largely on their basis.

The performance of five ENSO prediction systems is examined: Two are dynamical [the Cane-Zebiak simple coupled model of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the nonsimple coupled model of the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP)]; one is a hybrid coupled model (the Scripps Institution for Oceanography-Max Planck Institute for Meteorology system with a full ocean general circulation model and a statistical atmosphere); and two are statistical (canonical correlation analysis and constructed analogs, used at the Climate Prediction Center of NCEP). With increasing physical understanding, dynamically based forecasts have the potential to become more skillful than purely statistical ones. Currently, however, the two approaches deliver roughly equally skillful forecasts, and the simplest model performs about as well as the more comprehensive models. At a lead time of 6 months (defined here as the time between the end of the latest observed period and the beginning of the predict and period), the SST forecasts have an overall correlation skill in the 0.60s for 1982–93, which easily outperforms persistence and is regarded as useful. Skill for extra-tropical surface climate is this high only in limited regions for certain seasons. Both types of forecasts are not much better than local higher-order autoregressive controls. However, continual progress is being made in understanding relations among global oceanic and atmospheric climate-scale anomaly fields.

It is important that more real-time forecasts be made before we rush to judgement. Performance in the real-time setting is the ultimate test of the utility of a long-lead forecast. The National Weather Service's plan to implement new operational long-lead seasonal forecast products demonstrates its effectiveness in identifying and transferring “cutting edge” technologies from theory to applications. This could not have been accomplished without close ties with, and the active cooperation of, the academic and research communities.

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Mark A. Bourassa, Sarah T. Gille, Cecilia Bitz, David Carlson, Ivana Cerovecki, Carol Anne Clayson, Meghan F. Cronin, Will M. Drennan, Chris W. Fairall, Ross N. Hoffman, Gudrun Magnusdottir, Rachel T. Pinker, Ian A. Renfrew, Mark Serreze, Kevin Speer, Lynne D. Talley, and Gary A. Wick

Polar regions have great sensitivity to climate forcing; however, understanding of the physical processes coupling the atmosphere and ocean in these regions is relatively poor. Improving our knowledge of high-latitude surface fluxes will require close collaboration among meteorologists, oceanographers, ice physicists, and climatologists, and between observationalists and modelers, as well as new combinations of in situ measurements and satellite remote sensing. This article describes the deficiencies in our current state of knowledge about air–sea surface fluxes in high latitudes, the sensitivity of various high-latitude processes to changes in surface fluxes, and the scientific requirements for surface fluxes at high latitudes. We inventory the reasons, both logistical and physical, why existing flux products do not meet these requirements. Capturing an annual cycle in fluxes requires that instruments function through long periods of cold polar darkness, often far from support services, in situations subject to icing and extreme wave conditions. Furthermore, frequent cloud cover at high latitudes restricts the availability of surface and atmospheric data from visible and infrared (IR) wavelength satellite sensors. Recommendations are made for improving high-latitude fluxes, including 1) acquiring more in situ observations, 2) developing improved satellite-flux-observing capabilities, 3) making observations and flux products more accessible, and 4) encouraging flux intercomparisons.

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David J. Diner, Robert T. Menzies, Ralph A. Kahn, Theodore L. Anderson, Jens Bösenberg, Robert J. Charlson, Brent N. Holben, Chris A. Hostetler, Mark A. Miller, John A. Ogren, Graeme L. Stephens, Omar Torres, Bruce A. Wielicki, Philip J. Rasch, Larry D. Travis, and William D. Collins

A comprehensive and cohesive aerosol measurement record with consistent, well-understood uncertainties is a prerequisite to understanding aerosol impacts on long-term climate and environmental variability. Objectives to attaining such an understanding include improving upon the current state-of-the-art sensor calibration and developing systematic validation methods for remotely sensed microphysical properties. While advances in active and passive remote sensors will lead to needed improvements in retrieval accuracies and capabilities, ongoing validation is essential so that the changing sensor characteristics do not mask atmospheric trends. Surface-based radiometer, chemical, and lidar networks have critical roles within an integrated observing system, yet they currently undersample key geographic regions, have limitations in certain measurement capabilities, and lack stable funding. In situ aircraft observations of size-resolved aerosol chemical composition are necessary to provide important linkages between active and passive remote sensing. A planned, systematic approach toward a global aerosol observing network, involving multiple sponsoring agencies and surface-based, suborbital, and spaceborne sensors, is required to prioritize trade-offs regarding capabilities and costs. This strategy is a key ingredient of the Progressive Aerosol Retrieval and Assimilation Global Observing Network (PARAGON) framework. A set of recommendations is presented.

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Mark S. Kulie, Claire Pettersen, Aronne J. Merrelli, Timothy J. Wagner, Norman B. Wood, Michael Dutter, David Beachler, Todd Kluber, Robin Turner, Marian Mateling, John Lenters, Peter Blanken, Maximilian Maahn, Christopher Spence, Stefan Kneifel, Paul A. Kucera, Ali Tokay, Larry F. Bliven, David B. Wolff, and Walter A. Petersen

BAMS Capsule:

Profiling radar and ground-based in situ observations reveal the ubiquity of snowfall produced by shallow clouds, the importance of near-surface snowfall enhancement processes, and regime-dependent snow particle microphysical variability in the Northern Great Lakes Region.

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