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L. R. Wyatt, L. J. Ledgard, and C. W. Anderson

Abstract

The maximum-likelihood method is used to extract parameters of two-parameter models of the directional spreading of short wind waves from the power spectrum of high-frequency (HF) radar backscatter. The wind waves have a wavelength of half the radio wavelength that, for the data presented here, is at a frequency of 0.53 Hz. The parameters are short-wave direction, which at this frequency can be identified with wind direction, and the directional spread angle, the parameterization of which is model dependent. For the data presented here, the results suggest that the Donelan directional spreading model provides a better description of directional spreading than the coss model. The HF radar and wave buoy measurements are compared and show good agreement. Measurements are presented that show the temporal and spatial structure of the short-wave field responding to the passage of a frontal system.

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C. Anderson, J. Figa, H. Bonekamp, J. J. W. Wilson, J. Verspeek, A. Stoffelen, and M. Portabella

Abstract

The Advanced Scatterometer (ASCAT) on the Meteorological Operational (MetOp) series of satellites is designed to provide data for the retrieval of ocean wind fields. Three transponders were used to give an absolute calibration and the worst-case calibration error is estimated to be 0.15–0.25 dB.

In this paper the calibrated data are validated by comparing the backscatter from a range of naturally distributed targets against models developed from European Remote Sensing Satellite (ERS) scatterometer data.

For the Amazon rainforest it is found that the isotropic backscatter decreases from −6.2 to −6.8 dB over the incidence angle range. The ERS value is around −6.5 dB. All ASCAT beams are within 0.1 dB of each other. Rainforest backscatter over a 3-yr period is found to be very stable with annual changes of approximately 0.02 dB.

ASCAT ocean backscatter is compared against values from the C-band geophysical model function (CMOD-5) using ECMWF wind fields. A difference of approximately 0.2 dB below 55° incidence is found. Differences of over 1 dB above 55° are likely due to inaccuracies in CMOD-5, which has not been fully validated at large incidence angles. All beams are within 0.1 dB of each other.

Backscatter from regions of stable Antarctic sea ice is found to be consistent with model backscatter except at large incidence angles where the model has not been validated. The noise in the ice backscatter indicates that the normalized standard deviation of the backscatter values Kp is around 4.5%, which is consistent with the expected value.

These results agree well with the expected calibration accuracy and give confidence that the calibration has been successful and that ASCAT products are of high quality.

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C. W. Fairall, P. O. G. Persson, E. F. Bradley, R. E. Payne, and S. P. Anderson

Abstract

The calibration and accuracy of the Eppley precision infrared radiometer (PIR) is examined both theoretically and experimentally. A rederivation of the fundamental energy balance of the PIR indicates that the calibration equation in common use in the geophysical community today contains an erroneous factor of the emissivity of the thermopile. If a realistic value (0.98) for the emissivity is used, then this leads to errors in the total flux of 5–10 W m−2. The basic precision of the instrument is found to be about 1.5% of the total IR irradiance when the thermopile voltage and both dome and case temperatures are measured. If the manufacturer’s optional battery-compensated output is used exclusively, then the uncertainties increase to about 5% of the total (20 W m−2). It is suggested that a modern radiative transfer model combined with radiosonde profiles can be used as a secondary standard to improve the absolute accuracy of PIR data from field programs. Downwelling IR fluxes calculated using the Rapid Radiative Transfer Model (RRTM), from 55 radiosondes ascents in cloud-free conditions during the Tropical Oceans Global Atmosphere Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere Response Experiment field program, gave mean agreement within 2 W m−2 of those measured with a shipborne PIR. PIR data from two sets of instrument intercomparisons were used to demonstrate ways of detecting inconsistencies in thermopile-sensitivity coefficients and dome-heating correction coefficients. These comparisons indicated that pairs of PIRs are easily corrected to yield mean differences of 1 W m−2 and rms differences of 2 W m−2. Data from a previous field program over the ocean indicate that pairs of PIRs can be used to deduce the true surface skin temperature to an accuracy of a few tenths of a kelvin.

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Wiebe A. Oost, Christopher W. Fairall, James B. Edson, Stuart D. Smith, Robert J. Anderson, John A.B. Wills, Kristina B. Katsaros, and Janice DeCosmo

Abstract

Several methods are examined for correction of turbulence and eddy fluxes in the atmospheric boundary layer, two of them based on a potential-flow approach initiated by Wyngaard. If the distorting object is cylindrical or if the distance to the sensor is much greater than the size of the body, the undisturbed wind stress can be calculated solely from measurements made by the sensor itself; no auxiliary measurements or lengthy model calculations are needed. A more general potential-flow correction has been developed in which distorting objects of complex shape are represented as a number of ellipsoidal elements.

These models are applied to data from three turbulence anemometers with differing amounts of flow distortion, operated simultaneously in the Humidity Exchange over the Sea (HEXOS) Main Experiment. The results are compared with wind-stress estimates by the inertial-dissipation technique; these are much less sensitive to local flow distortion and are consistent with the corrected eddy correlation results. From these comparisons it is concluded that the commonly used “tilt correction” is not sufficient to correct eddy wind stress for distortion by nearby objects, such as probe supports and neighboring sensors.

Neither potential-flow method is applicable to distortion by larger bodies of a scale comparable to the measuring height, such as the superstructure of the Meetpost Noordwijk (MPN) platform used in HEXOS. Flow distortion has been measured around a model of MPN in a wind tunnel study. The results were used to correct mean winds, but simulation of distortion effects on turbulence levels and wind stress turned out not to be feasible.

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K.B. Katsaros, J. DeCosmo, R.J. Lind, R.J. Anderson, S.D. Smith, R. Kraan, W. Oost, K. Uhlig, P.G. Mestayer, S.E. Larsen, M.H. Smith, and G. De Leeuw

Abstract

Accurate measurement of fluctuations in temperature and humidity are needed for determination of the surface evaporation rate and the air-sea sensible heat flux using either the eddy correlation or inertial dissipation method for flux calculations. These measurements are difficult to make over the ocean, and are subject to large errors when sensors are exposed to marine air containing spray droplets. All currently available commercial measurement devices for atmospheric humidity require frequent maintenance. Included in the objectives of the Humidity Exchange over the Sea program were testing and comparison of sensors used for measuring both the fluctuating and mean humidity in the marine atmosphere at high wind speeds and development of techniques for the protection of these sensors against contamination by oceanic aerosols. These sensors and droplet removal techniques are described and comparisons between measurements from several different systems are discussed in this paper.

To accomplish these goals, participating groups devised and tested three methods of removing sea spray from the sample airstream. The best performance was given by a rotating semen device, the “spray Ringer.” Several high-frequency temperature and humidity instruments, based on different physical principles, were used in the collaborative field experiment. Temperature and humidity fluctuations were measured with sufficient accuracy inside the spray removal devices using Lyman-α hygrometers and a fast thermocouple psychrometer. Comparison of several types of psychrometers (using electric thermometers) and a Rotronic MP-100 humidity sensor for measuring the mean humidity illustrated the hysteresis of the Rotronic MP-100 device after periods of high relative humidity. Confidence in the readings of the electronic psychrometer was established by in situ calibration with repeated and careful readings of ordinary hand-held Assman psychrometers (based on mercury thermometers). Electronic psychrometer employing platinum resistance thermometers perform very well.

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A. B. White, M. L. Anderson, M. D. Dettinger, F. M. Ralph, A. Hinojosa, D. R. Cayan, R. K. Hartman, D. W. Reynolds, L. E. Johnson, T. L. Schneider, R. Cifelli, Z. Toth, S. I. Gutman, C. W. King, F. Gehrke, P. E. Johnston, C. Walls, D. Mann, D. J. Gottas, and T. Coleman

Abstract

During Northern Hemisphere winters, the West Coast of North America is battered by extratropical storms. The impact of these storms is of paramount concern to California, where aging water supply and flood protection infrastructures are challenged by increased standards for urban flood protection, an unusually variable weather regime, and projections of climate change. Additionally, there are inherent conflicts between releasing water to provide flood protection and storing water to meet requirements for the water supply, water quality, hydropower generation, water temperature and flow for at-risk species, and recreation. To improve reservoir management and meet the increasing demands on water, improved forecasts of precipitation, especially during extreme events, are required. Here, the authors describe how California is addressing their most important and costliest environmental issue—water management—in part, by installing a state-of-the-art observing system to better track the area’s most severe wintertime storms.

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