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R. J. Purser and H-L. Huang

Abstract

An attempt is made to formulate consistent objective definitions of the concept of “effective data density” applicable both in the context of satellite soundings more generally in objective data analysis. The definitions based upon various forms of Backus-Gilbert “spread” functions are found to be seriously misleading in satellite soundings where the model resolution function (expressing the sensitivity of retrieval or analysis to changes in the background error) features sidelobes. Instead, estimates derived by smoothing the trace components of the model resolution function are proposed. The new estimates are found to be more reliable and informative in simulated satellite retrieval problems and, for the special case of uniformly spaced perfect observations, agree exactly with their actual density. The new estimates integrate to the “degrees of freedom for signal,” a diagnostic that is invariant to changes of units or coordinates used.

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Maoyi Huang, Xu Liang, and L. Ruby Leung

Abstract

Subsurface flow is an important hydrologic process and a key component of the water budget. Through its direct impacts on soil moisture, it can affect water and energy fluxes at the land surface and influence the regional climate and water cycle. In this study, a new subsurface flow formulation is developed that incorporates the spatial variability of both topography and recharge. It is shown through theoretical derivation and case studies that the power-law and exponential subsurface flow parameterizations and the parameterization proposed by Woods et al. are all special cases of the new formulation. The subsurface flows calculated using the new formulation compare well with values derived from observations at Tulpehocken Creek, Pennsylvania, and Walnut Creek, Iowa. Sensitivity studies show that when the spatial variability of topography or recharge, or both is increased, the subsurface flows increase at the two aforementioned sites and at the Maimai hillslope, New Zealand. This is likely due to enhancement of interactions between the groundwater table and the land surface that reduce the flow path. An important conclusion of this study is that the spatial variability of recharge alone, and/or in combination with the spatial variability of topography can substantially alter the behaviors of subsurface flows. This suggests that in macroscale hydrologic models or land surface models, subgrid variations of recharge and topography can make significant contributions to the grid mean subsurface flow and must be accounted for in regions with large surface heterogeneity. This is particularly true for regions with humid climate and a relatively shallow groundwater table where the combined impacts of spatial variability of recharge and topography are shown to be more important. For regions with an arid climate and a relatively deep groundwater table, simpler formulations, for example, the power law, for subsurface flow can work well, and the impacts of subgrid variations of recharge and topography may be ignored.

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William L. Smith, H. L. Huang, and Joe A. Jenney

Abstract

GOES high-resolution visible imagery is used to define the spatial resolution and scan geometry required for an advanced infrared sounder to fly on future polar-orbiting satellites. The definition is based on optimizing the probability of achieving one or more cloud-free infrared sounder fields of view within the footprint of an Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU) assumed to have a linear resolution of 64 km. It is found that an instrument with about 8 km linear (10 km circular), or better, resolution that samples nine, or more, spatially independent fields of view within each AMSU footprint is needed to provide a high probability of achieving uncontaminated, by cloud, infrared sounding radiance observations.

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W. McKeown, F. Bretherton, H. L. Huang, W. L. Smith, and H. L. Revercomb

Abstract

Evidence for the radiometric determination of air–water interface temperature gradients is presented. Inherent radiometric characteristics in the water molecule cause variations in the absorption coefficient that allow radiation at near-infrared frequencies (2000–5000 wavenumbers, 2.0–5.0 μm) to carry information about subsurface water temperatures. This radiation leaving the surface is predominantly sensitive to water temperature in the layer between the surface and the “effective optical depth” (inverse of the absorption coefficient). Where atmospheric transmittance is high and/or the instrument is near the liquid, the radiance variations with frequency record temperature variations with depth. To measure the small radiance variations with frequency, an instrument must be radiometrically stable in suitable frequency bands with low instrument noise.

A simulation of this technique's use for airborne beat flux measurement indicated feasibility from low altitudes at night. Laboratory experiments produced radiometric signals that strongly indicated that the thermal structures in an air–water interface can be studied in detail. Corrected for variations of emissivity and reflectivity with frequency, the water spectra showed multiple correlations with those gradients inferred from bulk temperature measurements that assumed conductive heat loss. The use of high spectral resolution increased the vertical resolution of the interface thermal structures. Although high spectral resolution is not required for a field application, problems of system noise, atmospheric absorption, and solar reflection are more tractable with its use.

This technique may be useful in laboratory studies of thermal structures relevant to heat and gas flow that reside in the air–water interface.

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J. Mielikainen, B. Huang, H.-L. A. Huang, M. D. Goldberg, and A. Mehta

Abstract

The Weather Research and Forecasting model (WRF) double-moment 6-class microphysics scheme (WDM6) implements a double-moment bulk microphysical parameterization of clouds and precipitation and is applicable in mesoscale and general circulation models. WDM6 extends the WRF single-moment 6-class microphysics scheme (WSM6) by incorporating the number concentrations for cloud and rainwater along with a prognostic variable of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) number concentration. Moreover, it predicts the mixing ratios of six water species (water vapor, cloud droplets, cloud ice, snow, rain, and graupel), similar to WSM6. This paper describes improving the computational performance of WDM6 by exploiting its inherent fine-grained parallelism using the NVIDIA graphics processing unit (GPU). Compared to the single-threaded CPU, a single GPU implementation of WDM6 obtains a speedup of 150× with the input/output (I/O) transfer and 206× without the I/O transfer. Using four GPUs, the speedup reaches 347× and 715×, respectively.

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Norden E. Huang, Steven R. Long, and L. F. Bliven

Abstract

The significant slope of a random wave field is found to be an important parameter in empirical wind-wave studies. This significant slope Ss is defined as Ss = (ζ2)½0, with ζ2 as the mean-square surface elevation and λ0 as the wavelength corresponding to the waves at the peak of the spectrum. With this parameter, the relationship between and ñ is reduced to an identity expressing a pure geometric measure of the sea state, because Ẽñ 4 = (2πSs)2. By applying the significant slope as a parameter explicitly, we proposed that the traditional empirical formulas relating the nondimensional energy , fetch and frequency ñ be combined into a single unified relationship as Ẽñ/ = (9/40)Ss9/4. This unified empirical formula governs the wind-wave data equally as well in the field as in the laboratory.

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Hung-Lung Huang, William L. Smith, and Harold M. Woolf

Abstract

A theoretical analysis is performed to evaluate the accuracy and vertical resolution of atmospheric profiles obtained with the HIRS/2, GOES I/M, and HIS instruments. In addition, a linear simultaneous retrieval algorithm is used with aircraft observations to validate the theoretical predictions. Both theoretical and observational results clearly indicate that the accuracy and vertical resolution of the retrieval profile would be improved by high spectral resolution and broad spectral coverage of infrared radiance measurements.

The HIS is found to possess the equivalent of 11 pieces of temperature-and 9 pieces of water vapor-independent precise measurements. The characteristics for temperature include a vertical resolution of 1–6 km with an accuracy of 1 K and for water vapor a vertical resolution of 0.5–3.0 km with an accuracy of 3 K in dewpoint temperature. The HIS is a factor of 2–3 times better in vertical resolution and a factor of 2 times better in accuracy than the GOES 1/M and HIRS/2 filter radiometers.

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Tuantuan Zhang, Bohua Huang, Song Yang, and James L. Kinter III

Abstract

The predictable patterns and intraensemble variability of monthly 850-hPa zonal wind over the tropical Indo-Pacific region are investigated using 7-month hindcasts for 1983–2009 from Project Minerva. When applied to the ensemble hindcasts initialized on 1 May and 1 November, a maximum signal-to-noise empirical orthogonal function analysis identifies the patterns of high predictability as the hindcasts progress. For both initial months, the most predictable patterns are associated with El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO). The second predictable patterns with May initialization reflect the anomalous evolution of the western North Pacific (WNP) monsoon, characterized by a northward shift of the WNP anomalous anticyclone/cyclone in summer and a southward shift in fall. The intraensemble variability shows a strong seasonality that affects different predictable patterns in different seasons. For May initialization, the dominant patterns of the ensemble spread bear some resemblance to the predictable WNP patterns in summer and ENSO patterns in fall, which reflect the noise-induced differences in the evolution of the predictable signals among ensemble members. On the other hand, the noise patterns with November initialization are dominated by the northern extratropical atmospheric perturbations from winter to early spring, which expand southward through the coupled footprinting mechanism to perturb the ENSO evolution in different ensemble members. In comparison, the extratropical perturbations in the Southern Hemisphere, most significant in early months with May-initialized predictions, are less effective in affecting the tropical circulation.

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Fang Pan, Xianglei Huang, L. Larabbe Strow, and Huan Guo

Abstract

The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) level-1b radiances have been shown to be well calibrated (~0.3 K or higher) and have little secular drift (~4 mK yr−1) since operation started in September 2002. This paper investigates the linear trends of 10 years (2003–12) of AIRS global-mean radiances in the CO2 v 2 band that are sensitive to emissions from the stratosphere (stratospheric channels). AIRS lower-stratospheric channels have a cooling trend of no more than 0.23 K decade−1 whereas the midstratospheric channels consistently show a statistically significant cooling trend as large as 0.58 K decade−1. The 95% confidence interval for the trend is ~±0.20 K decade−1. Two sets of synthetic AIRS radiances are computed using the principal component–based radiative transfer model (PCRTM), one based on a free-running GFDL Atmospheric Model, version 3 (AM3), over the same period and one based on ERA-Interim. The GFDL AM3 simulations overestimate the cooling trends in the mid- to upper-stratospheric channels but slightly underestimate them in the lower-stratospheric channels. The synthetic radiances based on ERA-Interim, however, have statistically significant positive trends at virtually all stratospheric channels. This confirms the challenge to the GCM modeling and reanalysis community to create a better simulation or assimilation of the stratospheric climate. It is shown that the linear trends in AIRS radiances can be reproduced to a large extent by the spectral radiative kernel technique and the trends from the AIRS L2 temperature retrievals and from the change of CO2. This suggests a closure between AIRS L1 radiances and L2 retrievals and the potential merit of AIRS data in studies of stratosphere changes.

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Jieshun Zhu, Bohua Huang, Arun Kumar, and James L. Kinter III

Abstract

Seasonality of sea surface temperature (SST) predictions in the tropical Indian Ocean (TIO) was investigated using hindcasts (1982–2009) made with the NCEP Climate Forecast System version 2 (CFSv2). CFSv2 produced useful predictions of the TIO SST with lead times up to several months. A substantial component of this skill was attributable to signals other than the Indian Ocean dipole (IOD). The prediction skill of the IOD index, defined as the difference between the SST anomaly (SSTA) averaged over 10°S–0°, 90°–110°E and 10°S–10°N, 50°–70°E, had strong seasonality, with high scores in the boreal autumn. In spite of skill in predicting its two poles with longer leads, CFSv2 did not have skill significantly better than persistence in predicting IOD. This was partly because the seasonal nature of IOD intrinsically limits its predictability.

The seasonality of the predictable patterns of the TIO SST was further explored by applying the maximum signal-to-noise (MSN) empirical orthogonal function (EOF) method to the predicted SSTA in March and October, respectively. The most predictable pattern in spring was the TIO basin warming, which is closely associated with El Niño. The basin mode, including its associated atmospheric anomalies, can be predicted at least 9 months ahead, even though some biases were evident. On the other hand, the most predictable pattern in fall was characterized by the IOD mode. This mode and its associated atmospheric variations can be skillfully predicted only 1–2 seasons ahead. Statistically, the predictable IOD mode coexists with El Niño; however, the 1994 event in a non-ENSO year (at least not a canonical ENSO year) can also be predicted at least 3 months ahead by CFSv2.

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