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  • Author or Editor: Michael G. Bosilovich x
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Michael G. Bosilovich


Reanalyses have increasingly improved resolution and physical representation of regional climate and so may provide useful data in many regional applications. These data are not observations, however, and their limitations and uncertainties need to be closely investigated. The ability of reanalyses to reproduce the seasonal variations of precipitation and temperature over the United States during summer, when model forecasts have characteristically weak forecast skill, is assessed. Precipitation variations are reproduced well over much of the United States, especially in the Northwest, where ENSO contributes to the large-scale circulation. Some significant biases in the seasonal mean do exist. The weakest regions are the Midwest and Southeast, where land–atmosphere interactions strongly affect the physical parameterizations in the forecast model. In particular, the variance of the Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA) is too low (extreme seasonal averages are weak), and the variability of the Interim ECMWF Re-Analysis (ERA-Interim) is affected by spurious low-frequency trends. Surface temperature is generally robust among the reanalyses examined, though; reanalyses that assimilate near-surface observations have distinct advantages. Observations and forecast error from MERRA are used to assess the reanalysis uncertainty across U.S. regions. These data help to show where the reanalysis is realistically replicating physical processes, and they provide guidance on the quality of the data and needs for further development.

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Michael G. Bosilovich, Junye Chen, Franklin R. Robertson, and Robert F. Adler


Retrospective-analysis (or reanalysis) systems merge observations and models to provide global four-dimensional earth system data encompassing many physical and dynamical processes. Precipitation is one critical diagnostic that is not only sensitive to the observing system and model physics, but also reflects the general circulation. Climate records of observed precipitation through a merged satellite and gauge dataset provide a reference for comparison, though not without their own uncertainty. In this study, five reanalyses precipitation fields are compared with two observed data products to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the reanalyses. Taylor diagrams show the skill of the reanalyses relative to the reference dataset. While there is a general sense that the reanalyses precipitation data are improving in recent systems, it is not always the case. In some ocean regions, NCEP–NCAR reanalysis spatial patterns are closer to observed precipitation than NCEP–Department of Energy. The 40-yr ECMWF reanalysis (ERA-40) produces reasonable comparisons over Northern Hemisphere continents, but less so in the tropical oceans. On the other hand, the most recent reanalysis, the Japanese 25-yr reanalysis (JRA-25), shows good comparisons in both the Northern Hemisphere continents and the tropical oceans but contains distinct variation according to the available observing systems. The statistics and methods used are also tested on short experiments from a data assimilation system proposed to perform a satellite-era reanalysis.

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Natalie P. Thomas, Michael G. Bosilovich, Allison B. Marquardt Collow, Randal D. Koster, Siegfried D. Schubert, Amin Dezfuli, and Sarith P. Mahanama


Heat waves are extreme climate events that have the potential to cause immense stress on human health, agriculture, and energy systems, so understanding the processes leading to their onset is crucial. There is no single accepted definition for heat waves, but they are generally described as a sustained amount of time over which temperature exceeds a local threshold. Multiple different temperature variables are potentially relevant, because high values of both daily maximum and minimum temperatures can be detrimental to human health. In this study, we focus explicitly on the different mechanisms associated with summertime heat waves manifested during daytime hours versus nighttime hours over the contiguous United States. Heat waves are examined using the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications, version 2 (MERRA-2). Over 1980–2018, the increase in the number of heat-wave days per summer was generally stronger for nighttime heat-wave days than for daytime heat-wave days, with localized regions of significant positive trends. Processes linked with daytime and nighttime heat waves are identified through composite analysis of precipitation, soil moisture, clouds, humidity, and fluxes of heat and moisture. Daytime heat waves are associated with dry conditions, reduced cloud cover, and increased sensible heating. Mechanisms leading to nighttime heat waves differ regionally across the United States, but they are typically associated with increased clouds, humidity, and/or low-level temperature advection. In the midwestern United States, enhanced moisture is transported from the Gulf of Mexico during nighttime heat waves.

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