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M. Segal, M. Leuthold, R. W. Arritt, C. Anderson, and J. Shen

The diversity of small lakes' (size < 50 km) configurations, sizes, surrounding terrain, and land use combined with relative sparsity of observations complicates the observational evaluation of the lake breezes (LB) that are induced by these lakes. In the present article observational data obtained from available documents, data archives, and special projects were surveyed to suggest characterization of the LB features. The observational survey was complemented by conceptual evaluations. A preliminary generalization of the LB intensity and inland penetration in relation to the surrounding land use was inferred. The conceptual evaluation suggested that for a given lake width the prime factor affecting the LB intensity is the magnitude of the surface sensible heat flux over the surrounding land. Cooling related to the lake water temperature was indicated to have usually a secondary effect on the LB intensity for small lakes. Surface observations implied that the onshore penetration of the LB by the early afternoon hours is typically less than the characteristic width of the lake. Lower atmosphere observations indicated that the vertical extent of the LB may reach several hundred meters. Implications of the observed LB features in support of characterization of the real-world vegetation breeze are discussed.

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Jason A. Otkin, Mark Svoboda, Eric D. Hunt, Trent W. Ford, Martha C. Anderson, Christopher Hain, and Jeffrey B. Basara

Abstract

Given the increasing use of the term “flash drought” by the media and scientific community, it is prudent to develop a consistent definition that can be used to identify these events and to understand their salient characteristics. It is generally accepted that flash droughts occur more often during the summer owing to increased evaporative demand; however, two distinct approaches have been used to identify them. The first approach focuses on their rate of intensification, whereas the second approach implicitly focuses on their duration. These conflicting notions for what constitutes a flash drought (i.e., unusually fast intensification vs short duration) introduce ambiguity that affects our ability to detect their onset, monitor their development, and understand the mechanisms that control their evolution. Here, we propose that the definition for “flash drought” should explicitly focus on its rate of intensification rather than its duration, with droughts that develop much more rapidly than normal identified as flash droughts. There are two primary reasons for favoring the intensification approach over the duration approach. First, longevity and impact are fundamental characteristics of drought. Thus, short-term events lasting only a few days and having minimal impacts are inconsistent with the general understanding of drought and therefore should not be considered flash droughts. Second, by focusing on their rapid rate of intensification, the proposed “flash drought” definition highlights the unique challenges faced by vulnerable stakeholders who have less time to prepare for its adverse effects.

Open access
J. Boutin, Y. Chao, W. E. Asher, T. Delcroix, R. Drucker, K. Drushka, N. Kolodziejczyk, T. Lee, N. Reul, G. Reverdin, J. Schanze, A. Soloviev, L. Yu, J. Anderson, L. Brucker, E. Dinnat, A. Santos-Garcia, W. L. Jones, C. Maes, T. Meissner, W. Tang, N. Vinogradova, and B. Ward

Abstract

Remote sensing of salinity using satellite-mounted microwave radiometers provides new perspectives for studying ocean dynamics and the global hydrological cycle. Calibration and validation of these measurements is challenging because satellite and in situ methods measure salinity differently. Microwave radiometers measure the salinity in the top few centimeters of the ocean, whereas most in situ observations are reported below a depth of a few meters. Additionally, satellites measure salinity as a spatial average over an area of about 100 × 100 km2. In contrast, in situ sensors provide pointwise measurements at the location of the sensor. Thus, the presence of vertical gradients in, and horizontal variability of, sea surface salinity complicates comparison of satellite and in situ measurements. This paper synthesizes present knowledge of the magnitude and the processes that contribute to the formation and evolution of vertical and horizontal variability in near-surface salinity. Rainfall, freshwater plumes, and evaporation can generate vertical gradients of salinity, and in some cases these gradients can be large enough to affect validation of satellite measurements. Similarly, mesoscale to submesoscale processes can lead to horizontal variability that can also affect comparisons of satellite data to in situ data. Comparisons between satellite and in situ salinity measurements must take into account both vertical stratification and horizontal variability.

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Randolph H. Ware, David W. Fulker, Seth A. Stein, David N. Anderson, Susan K. Avery, Richard D. Clark, Kelvin K. Droegemeier, Joachim P. Kuettner, J. Bernard Minster, and Soroosh Sorooshian

“SuomiNet,” a university-based, real-time, national Global Positioning System (GPS) network, is being developed for atmospheric research and education with funding from the National Science Foundation and with cost share from collaborating universities. The network, named to honor meteorological satellite pioneer Verner Suomi, will exploit the recently shown ability of ground-based GPS receivers to make thousands of accurate upper- and lower-atmospheric measurements per day. Phase delays induced in GPS signals by the ionosphere and neutral atmosphere can be measured with high precision simultaneously along a dozen or so GPS ray paths in the field of view. These delays can be converted into integrated water vapor (if surface pressure data or estimates are available) and total electron content (TEC), along each GPS ray path. The resulting continuous, accurate, all-weather, real-time GPS moisture data will help advance university research in mesoscale modeling and data assimilation, severe weather, precipitation, cloud dynamics, regional climate, and hydrology. Similarly, continuous, accurate, all-weather, real-time TEC data have applications in modeling and prediction of severe terrestrial and space weather, detection and forecasting of low-altitude ionospheric scintillation activity and geomagnetic storm effects at ionospheric midlatitudes, and detection of ionospheric effects induced by a variety of geophysical events. SuomiNet data also have potential applications in coastal meteorology, providing ground truth for satellite radiometry, and detection of scintillation associated with atmospheric turbulence in the lower troposphere. The goal of SuomiNet is to make large amounts of spatially and temporally dense GPS-sensed atmospheric data widely available in real time, for academic research and education. Information on participation in SuomiNet is available via www.unidata.ucar.edu/suominet.

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Guy P. Brasseur, Mohan Gupta, Bruce E. Anderson, Sathya Balasubramanian, Steven Barrett, David Duda, Gregg Fleming, Piers M. Forster, Jan Fuglestvedt, Andrew Gettelman, Rangasayi N. Halthore, S. Daniel Jacob, Mark Z. Jacobson, Arezoo Khodayari, Kuo-Nan Liou, Marianne T. Lund, Richard C. Miake-Lye, Patrick Minnis, Seth Olsen, Joyce E. Penner, Ronald Prinn, Ulrich Schumann, Henry B. Selkirk, Andrei Sokolov, Nadine Unger, Philip Wolfe, Hsi-Wu Wong, Donald W. Wuebbles, Bingqi Yi, Ping Yang, and Cheng Zhou

Abstract

Under the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Aviation Climate Change Research Initiative (ACCRI), non-CO2 climatic impacts of commercial aviation are assessed for current (2006) and for future (2050) baseline and mitigation scenarios. The effects of the non-CO2 aircraft emissions are examined using a number of advanced climate and atmospheric chemistry transport models. Radiative forcing (RF) estimates for individual forcing effects are provided as a range for comparison against those published in the literature. Preliminary results for selected RF components for 2050 scenarios indicate that a 2% increase in fuel efficiency and a decrease in NOx emissions due to advanced aircraft technologies and operational procedures, as well as the introduction of renewable alternative fuels, will significantly decrease future aviation climate impacts. In particular, the use of renewable fuels will further decrease RF associated with sulfate aerosol and black carbon. While this focused ACCRI program effort has yielded significant new knowledge, fundamental uncertainties remain in our understanding of aviation climate impacts. These include several chemical and physical processes associated with NOx–O3–CH4 interactions and the formation of aviation-produced contrails and the effects of aviation soot aerosols on cirrus clouds as well as on deriving a measure of change in temperature from RF for aviation non-CO2 climate impacts—an important metric that informs decision-making.

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C. L. Reddington, K. S. Carslaw, P. Stier, N. Schutgens, H. Coe, D. Liu, J. Allan, J. Browse, K. J. Pringle, L. A. Lee, M. Yoshioka, J. S. Johnson, L. A. Regayre, D. V. Spracklen, G. W. Mann, A. Clarke, M. Hermann, S. Henning, H. Wex, T. B. Kristensen, W. R. Leaitch, U. Pöschl, D. Rose, M. O. Andreae, J. Schmale, Y. Kondo, N. Oshima, J. P. Schwarz, A. Nenes, B. Anderson, G. C. Roberts, J. R. Snider, C. Leck, P. K. Quinn, X. Chi, A. Ding, J. L. Jimenez, and Q. Zhang

Abstract

The largest uncertainty in the historical radiative forcing of climate is caused by changes in aerosol particles due to anthropogenic activity. Sophisticated aerosol microphysics processes have been included in many climate models in an effort to reduce the uncertainty. However, the models are very challenging to evaluate and constrain because they require extensive in situ measurements of the particle size distribution, number concentration, and chemical composition that are not available from global satellite observations. The Global Aerosol Synthesis and Science Project (GASSP) aims to improve the robustness of global aerosol models by combining new methodologies for quantifying model uncertainty, to create an extensive global dataset of aerosol in situ microphysical and chemical measurements, and to develop new ways to assess the uncertainty associated with comparing sparse point measurements with low-resolution models. GASSP has assembled over 45,000 hours of measurements from ships and aircraft as well as data from over 350 ground stations. The measurements have been harmonized into a standardized format that is easily used by modelers and nonspecialist users. Available measurements are extensive, but they are biased to polluted regions of the Northern Hemisphere, leaving large pristine regions and many continental areas poorly sampled. The aerosol radiative forcing uncertainty can be reduced using a rigorous model–data synthesis approach. Nevertheless, our research highlights significant remaining challenges because of the difficulty of constraining many interwoven model uncertainties simultaneously. Although the physical realism of global aerosol models still needs to be improved, the uncertainty in aerosol radiative forcing will be reduced most effectively by systematically and rigorously constraining the models using extensive syntheses of measurements.

Open access
Robert M. Rauber, Harry T. Ochs III, L. Di Girolamo, S. Göke, E. Snodgrass, Bjorn Stevens, Charles Knight, J. B. Jensen, D. H. Lenschow, R. A. Rilling, D. C. Rogers, J. L. Stith, B. A. Albrecht, P. Zuidema, A. M. Blyth, C. W. Fairall, W. A. Brewer, S. Tucker, S. G. Lasher-Trapp, O. L. Mayol-Bracero, G. Vali, B. Geerts, J. R. Anderson, B. A. Baker, R. P. Lawson, A. R. Bandy, D. C. Thornton, E. Burnet, J-L. Brenguier, L. Gomes, P. R. A. Brown, P. Chuang, W. R. Cotton, H. Gerber, B. G. Heikes, J. G. Hudson, P. Kollias, S. K. Krueger, L. Nuijens, D. W. O'Sullivan, A. P. Siebesma, and C. H. Twohy
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Robert M. Rauber, Bjorn Stevens, Harry T. Ochs III, Charles Knight, B. A. Albrecht, A. M. Blyth, C. W. Fairall, J. B. Jensen, S. G. Lasher-Trapp, O. L. Mayol-Bracero, G. Vali, J. R. Anderson, B. A. Baker, A. R. Bandy, E. Burnet, J.-L. Brenguier, W. A. Brewer, P. R. A. Brown, R Chuang, W. R. Cotton, L. Di Girolamo, B. Geerts, H. Gerber, S. Göke, L. Gomes, B. G. Heikes, J. G. Hudson, P. Kollias, R. R Lawson, S. K. Krueger, D. H. Lenschow, L. Nuijens, D. W. O'Sullivan, R. A. Rilling, D. C. Rogers, A. P. Siebesma, E. Snodgrass, J. L. Stith, D. C. Thornton, S. Tucker, C. H. Twohy, and P. Zuidema

Shallow, maritime cumuli are ubiquitous over much of the tropical oceans, and characterizing their properties is important to understanding weather and climate. The Rain in Cumulus over the Ocean (RICO) field campaign, which took place during November 2004–January 2005 in the trades over the western Atlantic, emphasized measurements of processes related to the formation of rain in shallow cumuli, and how rain subsequently modifies the structure and ensemble statistics of trade wind clouds. Eight weeks of nearly continuous S-band polarimetric radar sampling, 57 flights from three heavily instrumented research aircraft, and a suite of ground- and ship-based instrumentation provided data on trade wind clouds with unprecedented resolution. Observational strategies employed during RICO capitalized on the advances in remote sensing and other instrumentation to provide insight into processes that span a range of scales and that lie at the heart of questions relating to the cause and effects of rain from shallow maritime cumuli.

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Bruce A. Wielicki, D. F. Young, M. G. Mlynczak, K. J. Thome, S. Leroy, J. Corliss, J. G. Anderson, C. O. Ao, R. Bantges, F. Best, K. Bowman, H. Brindley, J. J. Butler, W. Collins, J. A. Dykema, D. R. Doelling, D. R. Feldman, N. Fox, X. Huang, R. Holz, Y. Huang, Z. Jin, D. Jennings, D. G. Johnson, K. Jucks, S. Kato, D. B. Kirk-Davidoff, R. Knuteson, G. Kopp, D. P. Kratz, X. Liu, C. Lukashin, A. J. Mannucci, N. Phojanamongkolkij, P. Pilewskie, V. Ramaswamy, H. Revercomb, J. Rice, Y. Roberts, C. M. Roithmayr, F. Rose, S. Sandford, E. L. Shirley, Sr. W. L. Smith, B. Soden, P. W. Speth, W. Sun, P. C. Taylor, D. Tobin, and X. Xiong

The Climate Absolute Radiance and Refractivity Observatory (CLARREO) mission will provide a calibration laboratory in orbit for the purpose of accurately measuring and attributing climate change. CLARREO measurements establish new climate change benchmarks with high absolute radiometric accuracy and high statistical confidence across a wide range of essential climate variables. CLARREO's inherently high absolute accuracy will be verified and traceable on orbit to Système Internationale (SI) units. The benchmarks established by CLARREO will be critical for assessing changes in the Earth system and climate model predictive capabilities for decades into the future as society works to meet the challenge of optimizing strategies for mitigating and adapting to climate change. The CLARREO benchmarks are derived from measurements of the Earth's thermal infrared spectrum (5–50 μm), the spectrum of solar radiation reflected by the Earth and its atmosphere (320–2300 nm), and radio occultation refractivity from which accurate temperature profiles are derived. The mission has the ability to provide new spectral fingerprints of climate change, as well as to provide the first orbiting radiometer with accuracy sufficient to serve as the reference transfer standard for other space sensors, in essence serving as a “NIST [National Institute of Standards and Technology] in orbit.” CLARREO will greatly improve the accuracy and relevance of a wide range of space-borne instruments for decadal climate change. Finally, CLARREO has developed new metrics and methods for determining the accuracy requirements of climate observations for a wide range of climate variables and uncertainty sources. These methods should be useful for improving our understanding of observing requirements for most climate change observations.

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G. Vaughan, J. Methven, D. Anderson, B. Antonescu, L. Baker, T. P. Baker, S. P. Ballard, K. N. Bower, P. R. A. Brown, J. Chagnon, T. W. Choularton, J. Chylik, P. J. Connolly, P. A. Cook, R. J. Cotton, J. Crosier, C. Dearden, J. R. Dorsey, T. H. A. Frame, M. W. Gallagher, M. Goodliff, S. L. Gray, B. J. Harvey, P. Knippertz, H. W. Lean, D. Li, G. Lloyd, O. Martínez–Alvarado, J. Nicol, J. Norris, E. Öström, J. Owen, D. J. Parker, R. S. Plant, I. A. Renfrew, N. M. Roberts, P. Rosenberg, A. C. Rudd, D. M. Schultz, J. P. Taylor, T. Trzeciak, R. Tubbs, A. K. Vance, P. J. van Leeuwen, A. Wellpott, and A. Woolley

Abstract

The Diabatic Influences on Mesoscale Structures in Extratropical Storms (DIAMET) project aims to improve forecasts of high-impact weather in extratropical cyclones through field measurements, high-resolution numerical modeling, and improved design of ensemble forecasting and data assimilation systems. This article introduces DIAMET and presents some of the first results. Four field campaigns were conducted by the project, one of which, in late 2011, coincided with an exceptionally stormy period marked by an unusually strong, zonal North Atlantic jet stream and a succession of severe windstorms in northwest Europe. As a result, December 2011 had the highest monthly North Atlantic Oscillation index (2.52) of any December in the last 60 years. Detailed observations of several of these storms were gathered using the U.K.’s BAe 146 research aircraft and extensive ground-based measurements. As an example of the results obtained during the campaign, observations are presented of Extratropical Cyclone Friedhelm on 8 December 2011, when surface winds with gusts exceeding 30 m s–1 crossed central Scotland, leading to widespread disruption to transportation and electricity supply. Friedhelm deepened 44 hPa in 24 h and developed a pronounced bent-back front wrapping around the storm center. The strongest winds at 850 hPa and the surface occurred in the southern quadrant of the storm, and detailed measurements showed these to be most intense in clear air between bands of showers. High-resolution ensemble forecasts from the Met Office showed similar features, with the strongest winds aligned in linear swaths between the bands, suggesting that there is potential for improved skill in forecasts of damaging winds.

Open access