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  • Author or Editor: R. A Anthes x
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David R. Rodenhuis and Richard A. Anthes

A few examples of scientific accomplishments in tropical meteorology and hurricane research are presented. Tropical field experiments such as GATE have greatly influenced observational studies of convection and tropical easterly waves. One application of the study of convection is the attempt to estimate precipitation from satellite platforms.

Research in tropical cyclones has further improved the definition of large-scale structure and the environment in which the hurricane grows. Radiation, convection, and air-sea interaction studies are directed at the forcing and possible feedback of the hurricane with its environment. With this improved physical understanding, numerical modeling of hurricanes can now produce position forecasts of reasonable accuracy that are becoming competitive with current statistical-dynamical methods. There is a continuing effort to attempt hurricane modification experiments in conjunction with an adequate measurement program.

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Y.-H. Kuo, X. Zou, S. J. Chen, W. Huang, Y.-R. Guo, R. A. Anthes, M. Exner, D. Hunt, C. Rocken, and S. Sokolovskiy

A Global Positioning System Meteorology (GPS/MET) proof-of-concept experiment became a reality on 3 April 1995. A small satellite carrying a modified GPS receiver was launched into earth orbit to demonstrate the feasibility of active limb sounding of the earth's neutral atmosphere and ionosphere using the radio occultation method. On 22 October 1995, a GPS/MET occultation took place over northeastern China where a dense network of radiosonde observations was available within an hour of the occultation. The GPS/MET refractivity profile shows an inflection, and the corresponding temperature retrieval displays a sharp temperature inversion around 310 mb. Subjective analyses based on radiosonde observations indicate that the GPS/MET occultation went through a strong upper-level front. In this paper, the GPS/MET sounding is compared with nearby radiosonde observations to assess its accuracy and ability to resolve a strong mesoscale feature. The inflection in the refractivity profile and the sharp frontal inversion seen in the GPS/MET sounding were verified closely by a radiosonde located about 150 km to the east of the GPS/MET occultation site. A similar frontal structure was also found in other nearby radiosonde observations. These results showed that high-quality GPS/MET radio occultation data can be obtained even when the occultation goes through a sharp temperature gradient associated with an upper-level front.

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Steven Businger, Steven R. Chiswell, Michael Bevis, Jingping Duan, Richard A. Anthes, Christian Rocken, Randolph H. Ware, Michael Exner, T. VanHove, and Fredrick S. Solheim

This paper provides an overview of applications of the Global Positioning System (GPS) for active measurement of the Earth's atmosphere. Microwave radio signals transmitted by GPS satellites are delayed (refracted) by the atmosphere as they propagate to Earth-based GPS receivers or GPS receivers carried on low Earth orbit satellites.

The delay in GPS signals reaching Earth-based receivers due to the presence of water vapor is nearly proportional to the quantity of water vapor integrated along the signal path. Measurement of atmospheric water vapor by Earth-based GPS receivers was demonstrated during the GPS/STORM field project to be comparable and in some respects superior to measurements by ground-based water vapor radiometers. Increased spatial and temporal resolution of the water vapor distribution provided by the GPS/STORM network proved useful in monitoring the moisture-flux convergence along a dryline and the decrease in integrated water vapor associated with the passage of a midtropospheric cold front, both of which triggered severe weather over the area during the course of the experiment.

Given the rapid growth in regional networks of continuously operating Earth-based GPS receivers currently being implemented, an opportunity exists to observe the distribution of water vapor with increased spatial and temporal coverage, which could prove valuable in a range of operational and research applications in the atmospheric sciences.

The first space-based GPS receiver designed for sensing the Earth's atmosphere was launched in April 1995. Phase measurements of GPS signals as they are occluded by the atmosphere provide refractivity profiles (see the companion article by Ware et al. on page 19 of this issue). Water vapor limits the accuracy of temperature recovery below the tropopause because of uncertainty in the water vapor distribution. The sensitivity of atmospheric refractivity to water vapor pressure, however, means that refractivity profiles can in principle yield information on the atmospheric humidity distribution given independent information on the temperature and pressure distribution from NWP models or independent observational data.

A discussion is provided of some of the research opportunities that exist to capitalize on the complementary nature of the methods of active atmospheric monitoring by GPS and other observation systems for use in weather and climate studies and in numerical weather prediction models.

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R. A Anthes, P. A Bernhardt, Y. Chen, L. Cucurull, K. F. Dymond, D. Ector, S. B. Healy, S.-P. Ho, D. C Hunt, Y.-H. Kuo, H. Liu, K. Manning, C. McCormick, T. K. Meehan, W J. Randel, C. Rocken, W S. Schreiner, S. V. Sokolovskiy, S. Syndergaard, D. C. Thompson, K. E. Trenberth, T.-K. Wee, N. L. Yen, and Z Zeng

The radio occultation (RO) technique, which makes use of radio signals transmitted by the global positioning system (GPS) satellites, has emerged as a powerful and relatively inexpensive approach for sounding the global atmosphere with high precision, accuracy, and vertical resolution in all weather and over both land and ocean. On 15 April 2006, the joint Taiwan-U.S. Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere, and Climate (COSMIC)/Formosa Satellite Mission 3 (COSMIC/FORMOSAT-3, hereafter COSMIC) mission, a constellation of six microsatellites, was launched into a 512-km orbit. After launch the satellites were gradually deployed to their final orbits at 800 km, a process that took about 17 months. During the early weeks of the deployment, the satellites were spaced closely, offering a unique opportunity to verify the high precision of RO measurements. As of September 2007, COSMIC is providing about 2000 RO soundings per day to support the research and operational communities. COSMIC RO data are of better quality than those from the previous missions and penetrate much farther down into the troposphere; 70%–90% of the soundings reach to within 1 km of the surface on a global basis. The data are having a positive impact on operational global weather forecast models.

With the ability to penetrate deep into the lower troposphere using an advanced open-loop tracking technique, the COSMIC RO instruments can observe the structure of the tropical atmospheric boundary layer. The value of RO for climate monitoring and research is demonstrated by the precise and consistent observations between different instruments, platforms, and missions. COSMIC observations are capable of intercalibrating microwave measurements from the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU) on different satellites. Finally, unique and useful observations of the ionosphere are being obtained using the RO receiver and two other instruments on the COSMIC satellites, the tiny ionosphere photometer (TIP) and the tri-band beacon.

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