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Sean M. Davis
and
Karen H. Rosenlof

Abstract

Poleward migration of the latitudinal edge of the tropics of 0.25°–3.0° decade−1 has been reported in several recent studies based on satellite and radiosonde data and reanalysis output covering the past ~30 yr. The goal of this paper is to identify the extent to which this large range of trends can be explained by the use of different data sources, time periods, and edge definitions, as well as how the widening varies as a function of hemisphere and season. Toward this end, a suite of tropical edge latitude diagnostics based on tropopause height, winds, precipitation–evaporation, and outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) are analyzed using several reanalyses and satellite datasets. These diagnostics include both previously used definitions and new definitions designed for more robust detection. The wide range of widening trends is shown to be primarily due to the use of different datasets and edge definitions and only secondarily due to varying start–end dates. This study also shows that the large trends (>~1° decade−1) previously reported in tropopause and OLR diagnostics are due to the use of subjective definitions based on absolute thresholds. Statistically significant Hadley cell expansion based on the mean meridional streamfunction of 1.0°–1.5° decade−1 is found in three of four reanalyses that cover the full time period (1979–2009), whereas other diagnostics yield trends of −0.5°–0.8° decade−1 that are mostly insignificant. There are indications of hemispheric and seasonal differences in the trends, but the differences are not statistically significant.

Full access
Neil F. Tandon
,
Lorenzo M. Polvani
, and
Sean M. Davis

Abstract

An idealized, dry general circulation model is used to examine the response of the tropospheric circulation to thermal forcings that mimic changes in stratospheric water vapor (SWV). It is found that SWV-like cooling in the stratosphere produces a poleward-shifted, strengthened jet and an expanded, weakened Hadley cell. This response is shown to be almost entirely driven by cooling located in the extratropical lower stratosphere; when cooling is limited to the tropical stratosphere, it generates a much weaker and qualitatively opposite response. It is demonstrated that these circulation changes arise independently of any changes in tropopause height, are insensitive to the detailed structure of the forcing function, and are robust to model resolution. The responses are quantitatively of the same order as those due to well-mixed greenhouse gases, suggesting a potentially significant contribution of SWV to past and future changes in the tropospheric circulation.

Full access
Sean M. Davis
,
A. Gannet Hallar
,
Linnea M. Avallone
, and
William Engblom

Abstract

The University of Colorado closed-path tunable diode laser hygrometer (CLH), a new instrument for the in situ measurement of enhanced total water (eTW, the sum of water vapor and condensed water enhanced by a subisokinetic inlet), has recently been flown aboard the NASA DC-8 and WB-57F aircrafts. The CLH has the sensitivity necessary to quantify the ice water content (IWC) of extremely thin subvisual cirrus clouds (∼0.1 mg m−3), while still providing measurements over a large range of conditions typical of upper-tropospheric cirrus (up to 1 g m−3). A key feature of the CLH is its subisokinetic inlet system, which is described in detail in this paper. The enhancement and evaporation of ice particles that results from the heated subisokinetic inlet is described both analytically and based on computational fluid dynamical simulations of the flow around the aircraft. Laboratory mixtures of water vapor with an accuracy of 2%–10% (2σ) were used to calibrate the CLH over a wide range of water vapor mixing ratios (∼50–50 000 ppm) and pressures (∼100–1000 mb). The water vapor retrieval algorithm, which is based on the CLH instrument properties as well as on the spectroscopic properties of the water absorption line, accurately fits the calibration data to within the uncertainty of the calibration mixtures and instrument signal-to-noise ratio. A method for calculating cirrus IWC from the CLH enhanced total water measurement is presented. In this method, the particle enhancement factor is determined from an independent particle size distribution measurement and the size-dependent CLH inlet efficiency. It is shown that despite the potentially large uncertainty in particle size measurements, the error introduced by this method adds ∼5% error to the IWC calculation. IWC accuracy ranges from 20% at the largest IWC to 50% at small IWC (<5 mg m−3).

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Kevin M. Grise
,
Sean M. Davis
,
Paul W. Staten
, and
Ori Adam

Abstract

In recent decades, the subtropical edges of Earth’s Hadley circulation have shifted poleward. Some studies have concluded that this observed tropical expansion is occurring more rapidly than predicted by global climate models. However, recent modeling studies have shown that internal variability can account for a large fraction of the observed circulation trends, at least in an annual-mean, zonal-mean framework. This study extends these previous results by examining the seasonal and regional characteristics of the recent poleward expansion of the Hadley circulation using seven reanalysis datasets, sea level pressure observations, and surface wind observations. The circulation has expanded the most poleward during summer and fall in both hemispheres, with more zonally asymmetric circulation trends occurring in the Northern Hemisphere (NH). The seasonal and regional characteristics of these observed trends generally fall within the range of trends predicted by climate models for the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, and in most cases, the magnitude of the observed trends does not exceed the range of interdecadal trends in the models’ control runs, which arise exclusively from internal variability. One exception occurs during NH fall when large observed poleward shifts in the atmospheric circulation over the North Atlantic sector exceed nearly all trends projected by models. While most recent NH circulation trends are consistent with a change in phase of the Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO), the observed circulation trends over the North Atlantic instead reflect 1) large natural variability unrelated to the PDO and/or 2) a climate forcing (or the circulation response to that forcing) that is not properly captured by models.

Full access
Kevin M. Grise
,
Sean M. Davis
,
Isla R. Simpson
,
Darryn W. Waugh
,
Qiang Fu
,
Robert J. Allen
,
Karen H. Rosenlof
,
Caroline C. Ummenhofer
,
Kristopher B. Karnauskas
,
Amanda C. Maycock
,
Xiao-Wei Quan
,
Thomas Birner
, and
Paul W. Staten

Abstract

Previous studies have documented a poleward shift in the subsiding branches of Earth’s Hadley circulation since 1979 but have disagreed on the causes of these observed changes and the ability of global climate models to capture them. This synthesis paper reexamines a number of contradictory claims in the past literature and finds that the tropical expansion indicated by modern reanalyses is within the bounds of models’ historical simulations for the period 1979–2005. Earlier conclusions that models were underestimating the observed trends relied on defining the Hadley circulation using the mass streamfunction from older reanalyses. The recent observed tropical expansion has similar magnitudes in the annual mean in the Northern Hemisphere (NH) and Southern Hemisphere (SH), but models suggest that the factors driving the expansion differ between the hemispheres. In the SH, increasing greenhouse gases (GHGs) and stratospheric ozone depletion contributed to tropical expansion over the late twentieth century, and if GHGs continue increasing, the SH tropical edge is projected to shift further poleward over the twenty-first century, even as stratospheric ozone concentrations recover. In the NH, the contribution of GHGs to tropical expansion is much smaller and will remain difficult to detect in a background of large natural variability, even by the end of the twenty-first century. To explain similar recent tropical expansion rates in the two hemispheres, natural variability must be taken into account. Recent coupled atmosphere–ocean variability, including the Pacific decadal oscillation, has contributed to tropical expansion. However, in models forced with observed sea surface temperatures, tropical expansion rates still vary widely because of internal atmospheric variability.

Full access
Paul W. Staten
,
Kevin M. Grise
,
Sean M. Davis
,
Kristopher B. Karnauskas
,
Darryn W. Waugh
,
Amanda C. Maycock
,
Qiang Fu
,
Kerry Cook
,
Ori Adam
,
Isla R. Simpson
,
Robert J Allen
,
Karen Rosenlof
,
Gang Chen
,
Caroline C. Ummenhofer
,
Xiao-Wei Quan
,
James P. Kossin
,
Nicholas A. Davis
, and
Seok-Woo Son

Abstract

Over the past 15 years, numerous studies have suggested that the sinking branches of Earth’s Hadley circulation and the associated subtropical dry zones have shifted poleward over the late twentieth century and early twenty-first century. Early estimates of this tropical widening from satellite observations and reanalyses varied from 0.25° to 3° latitude per decade, while estimates from global climate models show widening at the lower end of the observed range. In 2016, two working groups, the U.S. Climate Variability and Predictability (CLIVAR) working group on the Changing Width of the Tropical Belt and the International Space Science Institute (ISSI) Tropical Width Diagnostics Intercomparison Project, were formed to synthesize current understanding of the magnitude, causes, and impacts of the recent tropical widening evident in observations. These working groups concluded that the large rates of observed tropical widening noted by earlier studies resulted from their use of metrics that poorly capture changes in the Hadley circulation, or from the use of reanalyses that contained spurious trends. Accounting for these issues reduces the range of observed expansion rates to 0.25°–0.5° latitude decade‒1—within the range from model simulations. Models indicate that most of the recent Northern Hemisphere tropical widening is consistent with natural variability, whereas increasing greenhouse gases and decreasing stratospheric ozone likely played an important role in Southern Hemisphere widening. Whatever the cause or rate of expansion, understanding the regional impacts of tropical widening requires additional work, as different forcings can produce different regional patterns of widening.

Free access
Paul W. Staten
,
Kevin M. Grise
,
Sean M. Davis
,
Kristopher B. Karnauskas
,
Darryn W. Waugh
,
Amanda C. Maycock
,
Qiang Fu
,
Kerry Cook
,
Ori Adam
,
Isla R. Simpson
,
Robert J Allen
,
Karen Rosenlof
,
Gang Chen
,
Caroline C. Ummenhofer
,
Xiao-Wei Quan
,
James P. Kossin
,
Nicholas A. Davis
, and
Seok-Woo Son
Full access
M. Ades
,
R. Adler
,
Rob Allan
,
R. P. Allan
,
J. Anderson
,
Anthony Argüez
,
C. Arosio
,
J. A. Augustine
,
C. Azorin-Molina
,
J. Barichivich
,
J. Barnes
,
H. E. Beck
,
Andreas Becker
,
Nicolas Bellouin
,
Angela Benedetti
,
David I. Berry
,
Stephen Blenkinsop
,
Olivier. Bock
,
Michael G. Bosilovich
,
Olivier. Boucher
,
S. A. Buehler
,
Laura. Carrea
,
Hanne H. Christiansen
,
F. Chouza
,
John R. Christy
,
E.-S. Chung
,
Melanie Coldewey-Egbers
,
Gil P. Compo
,
Owen R. Cooper
,
Curt Covey
,
A. Crotwell
,
Sean M. Davis
,
Elvira de Eyto
,
Richard A. M de Jeu
,
B.V. VanderSat
,
Curtis L. DeGasperi
,
Doug Degenstein
,
Larry Di Girolamo
,
Martin T. Dokulil
,
Markus G. Donat
,
Wouter A. Dorigo
,
Imke Durre
,
Geoff S. Dutton
,
G. Duveiller
,
James W. Elkins
,
Vitali E. Fioletov
,
Johannes Flemming
,
Michael J. Foster
,
Richard A. Frey
,
Stacey M. Frith
,
Lucien Froidevaux
,
J. Garforth
,
S. K. Gupta
,
Leopold Haimberger
,
Brad D. Hall
,
Ian Harris
,
Andrew K Heidinger
,
D. L. Hemming
,
Shu-peng (Ben) Ho
,
Daan Hubert
,
Dale F. Hurst
,
I. Hüser
,
Antje Inness
,
K. Isaksen
,
Viju John
,
Philip D. Jones
,
J. W. Kaiser
,
S. Kelly
,
S. Khaykin
,
R. Kidd
,
Hyungiun Kim
,
Z. Kipling
,
B. M. Kraemer
,
D. P. Kratz
,
R. S. La Fuente
,
Xin Lan
,
Kathleen O. Lantz
,
T. Leblanc
,
Bailing Li
,
Norman G Loeb
,
Craig S. Long
,
Diego Loyola
,
Wlodzimierz Marszelewski
,
B. Martens
,
Linda May
,
Michael Mayer
,
M. F. McCabe
,
Tim R. McVicar
,
Carl A. Mears
,
W. Paul Menzel
,
Christopher J. Merchant
,
Ben R. Miller
,
Diego G. Miralles
,
Stephen A. Montzka
,
Colin Morice
,
Jens Mühle
,
R. Myneni
,
Julien P. Nicolas
,
Jeannette Noetzli
,
Tim J. Osborn
,
T. Park
,
A. Pasik
,
Andrew M. Paterson
,
Mauri S. Pelto
,
S. Perkins-Kirkpatrick
,
G. Pétron
,
C. Phillips
,
Bernard Pinty
,
S. Po-Chedley
,
L. Polvani
,
W. Preimesberger
,
M. Pulkkanen
,
W. J. Randel
,
Samuel Rémy
,
L. Ricciardulli
,
A. D. Richardson
,
L. Rieger
,
David A. Robinson
,
Matthew Rodell
,
Karen H. Rosenlof
,
Chris Roth
,
A. Rozanov
,
James A. Rusak
,
O. Rusanovskaya
,
T. Rutishäuser
,
Ahira Sánchez-Lugo
,
P. Sawaengphokhai
,
T. Scanlon
,
Verena Schenzinger
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S. Geoffey Schladow
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R. W Schlegel
,
Eawag Schmid, Martin
,
H. B. Selkirk
,
S. Sharma
,
Lei Shi
,
S. V. Shimaraeva
,
E. A. Silow
,
Adrian J. Simmons
,
C. A. Smith
,
Sharon L Smith
,
B. J. Soden
,
Viktoria Sofieva
,
T. H. Sparks
,
Paul W. Stackhouse Jr.
,
Wolfgang Steinbrecht
,
Dimitri A. Streletskiy
,
G. Taha
,
Hagen Telg
,
S. J. Thackeray
,
M. A. Timofeyev
,
Kleareti Tourpali
,
Mari R. Tye
,
Ronald J. van der A
,
Robin, VanderSat B.V. van der Schalie
,
Gerard van der SchrierW. Paul
,
Guido R. van der Werf
,
Piet Verburg
,
Jean-Paul Vernier
,
Holger Vömel
,
Russell S. Vose
,
Ray Wang
,
Shohei G. Watanabe
,
Mark Weber
,
Gesa A. Weyhenmeyer
,
David Wiese
,
Anne C. Wilber
,
Jeanette D. Wild
,
Takmeng Wong
,
R. Iestyn Woolway
,
Xungang Yin
,
Lin Zhao
,
Guanguo Zhao
,
Xinjia Zhou
,
Jerry R. Ziemke
, and
Markus Ziese
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Robert J. H. Dunn
,
F. Aldred
,
Nadine Gobron
,
John B. Miller
,
Kate M. Willett
,
M. Ades
,
Robert Adler
,
Richard, P. Allan
,
Rob Allan
,
J. Anderson
,
Anthony Argüez
,
C. Arosio
,
John A. Augustine
,
C. Azorin-Molina
,
J. Barichivich
,
H. E. Beck
,
Andreas Becker
,
Nicolas Bellouin
,
Angela Benedetti
,
David I. Berry
,
Stephen Blenkinsop
,
Olivier Bock
,
X. Bodin
,
Michael G. Bosilovich
,
Olivier Boucher
,
S. A. Buehler
,
B. Calmettes
,
Laura Carrea
,
Laura Castia
,
Hanne H. Christiansen
,
John R. Christy
,
E.-S. Chung
,
Melanie Coldewey-Egbers
,
Owen R. Cooper
,
Richard C. Cornes
,
Curt Covey
,
J.-F. Cretaux
,
M. Crotwell
,
Sean M. Davis
,
Richard A. M. de Jeu
,
Doug Degenstein
,
R. Delaloye
,
Larry Di Girolamo
,
Markus G. Donat
,
Wouter A. Dorigo
,
Imke Durre
,
Geoff S. Dutton
,
Gregory Duveiller
,
James W. Elkins
,
Vitali E. Fioletov
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Johannes Flemming
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Michael J. Foster
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Stacey M. Frith
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Lucien Froidevaux
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J. Garforth
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Matthew Gentry
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S. K. Gupta
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S. Hahn
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Leopold Haimberger
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Brad D. Hall
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Ian Harris
,
D. L. Hemming
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M. Hirschi
,
Shu-pen (Ben) Ho
,
F. Hrbacek
,
Daan Hubert
,
Dale F. Hurst
,
Antje Inness
,
K. Isaksen
,
Viju O. John
,
Philip D. Jones
,
Robert Junod
,
J. W. Kaiser
,
V. Kaufmann
,
A. Kellerer-Pirklbauer
,
Elizabeth C. Kent
,
R. Kidd
,
Hyungjun Kim
,
Z. Kipling
,
A. Koppa
,
B. M. Kraemer
,
D. P. Kratz
,
Xin Lan
,
Kathleen O. Lantz
,
D. Lavers
,
Norman G. Loeb
,
Diego Loyola
,
R. Madelon
,
Michael Mayer
,
M. F. McCabe
,
Tim R. McVicar
,
Carl A. Mears
,
Christopher J. Merchant
,
Diego G. Miralles
,
L. Moesinger
,
Stephen A. Montzka
,
Colin Morice
,
L. Mösinger
,
Jens Mühle
,
Julien P. Nicolas
,
Jeannette Noetzli
,
Ben Noll
,
J. O’Keefe
,
Tim J. Osborn
,
T. Park
,
A. J. Pasik
,
C. Pellet
,
Maury S. Pelto
,
S. E. Perkins-Kirkpatrick
,
G. Petron
,
Coda Phillips
,
S. Po-Chedley
,
L. Polvani
,
W. Preimesberger
,
D. G. Rains
,
W. J. Randel
,
Nick A. Rayner
,
Samuel Rémy
,
L. Ricciardulli
,
A. D. Richardson
,
David A. Robinson
,
Matthew Rodell
,
N. J. Rodríguez-Fernández
,
K.H. Rosenlof
,
C. Roth
,
A. Rozanov
,
T. Rutishäuser
,
Ahira Sánchez-Lugo
,
P. Sawaengphokhai
,
T. Scanlon
,
Verena Schenzinger
,
R. W. Schlegel
,
S. Sharma
,
Lei Shi
,
Adrian J. Simmons
,
Carolina Siso
,
Sharon L. Smith
,
B. J. Soden
,
Viktoria Sofieva
,
T. H. Sparks
,
Paul W. Stackhouse Jr.
,
Wolfgang Steinbrecht
,
Martin Stengel
,
Dimitri A. Streletskiy
,
Sunny Sun-Mack
,
P. Tans
,
S. J. Thackeray
,
E. Thibert
,
D. Tokuda
,
Kleareti Tourpali
,
Mari R. Tye
,
Ronald van der A
,
Robin van der Schalie
,
Gerard van der Schrier
,
M. van der Vliet
,
Guido R. van der Werf
,
A. Vance
,
Jean-Paul Vernier
,
Isaac J. Vimont
,
Holger Vömel
,
Russell S. Vose
,
Ray Wang
,
Markus Weber
,
David Wiese
,
Anne C. Wilber
,
Jeanette D. Wild
,
Takmeng Wong
,
R. Iestyn Woolway
,
Xinjia Zhou
,
Xungang Yin
,
Guangyu Zhao
,
Lin Zhao
,
Jerry R. Ziemke
,
Markus Ziese
, and
R. M. Zotta
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Robert J. H. Dunn
,
Freya Aldred
,
Nadine Gobron
,
John B. Miller
,
Kate M. Willett
,
Melanie Ades
,
Robert Adler
,
R. P. Allan
,
John Anderson
,
Orlane Anneville
,
Yasuyuki Aono
,
Anthony Argüez
,
Carlo Arosio
,
John A. Augustine
,
Cesar Azorin-Molina
,
Jonathan Barichivich
,
Aman Basu
,
Hylke E. Beck
,
Nicolas Bellouin
,
Angela Benedetti
,
Kevin Blagrave
,
Stephen Blenkinsop
,
Olivier Bock
,
Xavier Bodin
,
Michael G. Bosilovich
,
Olivier Boucher
,
Gerald Bove
,
Dennis Buechler
,
Stefan A. Buehler
,
Laura Carrea
,
Kai-Lan Chang
,
Hanne H. Christiansen
,
John R. Christy
,
Eui-Seok Chung
,
Laura M. Ciasto
,
Melanie Coldewey-Egbers
,
Owen R. Cooper
,
Richard C. Cornes
,
Curt Covey
,
Thomas Cropper
,
Molly Crotwell
,
Diego Cusicanqui
,
Sean M. Davis
,
Richard A. M. de Jeu
,
Doug Degenstein
,
Reynald Delaloye
,
Markus G. Donat
,
Wouter A. Dorigo
,
Imke Durre
,
Geoff S. Dutton
,
Gregory Duveiller
,
James W. Elkins
,
Thomas W. Estilow
,
Nava Fedaeff
,
David Fereday
,
Vitali E. Fioletov
,
Johannes Flemming
,
Michael J. Foster
,
Stacey M. Frith
,
Lucien Froidevaux
,
Martin Füllekrug
,
Judith Garforth
,
Jay Garg
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Matthew Gentry
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Steven Goodman
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Qiqi Gou
,
Nikolay Granin
,
Mauro Guglielmin
,
Sebastian Hahn
,
Leopold Haimberger
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Brad D. Hall
,
Ian Harris
,
Debbie L. Hemming
,
Martin Hirschi
,
Shu-pen (Ben) Ho
,
Robert Holzworth
,
Filip Hrbáček
,
Daan Hubert
,
Petra Hulsman
,
Dale F. Hurst
,
Antje Inness
,
Ketil Isaksen
,
Viju O. John
,
Philip D. Jones
,
Robert Junod
,
Andreas Kääb
,
Johannes W. Kaiser
,
Viktor Kaufmann
,
Andreas Kellerer-Pirklbauer
,
Elizabeth C. Kent
,
Richard Kidd
,
Hyungiun Kim
,
Zak Kipling
,
Akash Koppa
,
Jan Henning L’Abée-Lund
,
Xin Lan
,
Kathleen O. Lantz
,
David Lavers
,
Norman G. Loeb
,
Diego Loyola
,
Remi Madelon
,
Hilmar J. Malmquist
,
Wlodzimierz Marszelewski
,
Michael Mayer
,
Matthew F. McCabe
,
Tim R. McVicar
,
Carl A. Mears
,
Annette Menzel
,
Christopher J. Merchant
,
Diego G. Miralles
,
Stephen A. Montzka
,
Colin Morice
,
Leander Mösinger
,
Jens Mühle
,
Julien P. Nicolas
,
Jeannette Noetzli
,
Tiina Nõges
,
Ben Noll
,
John O’Keefe
,
Tim J. Osborn
,
Taejin Park
,
Cecile Pellet
,
Maury S. Pelto
,
Sarah E. Perkins-Kirkpatrick
,
Coda Phillips
,
Stephen Po-Chedley
,
Lorenzo Polvani
,
Wolfgang Preimesberger
,
Colin Price
,
Merja Pulkkanen
,
Dominik G. Rains
,
William J. Randel
,
Samuel Rémy
,
Lucrezia Ricciardulli
,
Andrew D. Richardson
,
David A. Robinson
,
Matthew Rodell
,
Nemesio J. Rodríguez-Fernández
,
Karen H. Rosenlof
,
Chris Roth
,
Alexei Rozanov
,
This Rutishäuser
,
Ahira Sánchez-Lugo
,
Parnchai Sawaengphokhai
,
Verena Schenzinger
,
Robert W. Schlegel
,
Udo Schneider
,
Sapna Sharma
,
Lei Shi
,
Adrian J. Simmons
,
Carolina Siso
,
Sharon L. Smith
,
Brian J. Soden
,
Viktoria Sofieva
,
Tim H. Sparks
,
Paul W. Stackhouse Jr.
,
Ryan Stauffer
,
Wolfgang Steinbrecht
,
Andrea K. Steiner
,
Kenton Stewart
,
Pietro Stradiotti
,
Dimitri A. Streletskiy
,
Hagen Telg
,
Stephen J. Thackeray
,
Emmanuel Thibert
,
Michael Todt
,
Daisuke Tokuda
,
Kleareti Tourpali
,
Mari R. Tye
,
Ronald van der A
,
Robin van der Schalie
,
Gerard van der Schrier
,
Mendy van der Vliet
,
Guido R. van der Werf
,
Arnold. van Vliet
,
Jean-Paul Vernier
,
Isaac J. Vimont
,
Katrina Virts
,
Sebastiàn Vivero
,
Holger Vömel
,
Russell S. Vose
,
Ray H. J. Wang
,
Markus Weber
,
David Wiese
,
Jeanette D. Wild
,
Earle Williams
,
Takmeng Wong
,
R. I. Woolway
,
Xungang Yin
,
Ye Yuan
,
Lin Zhao
,
Xinjia Zhou
,
Jerry R. Ziemke
,
Markus Ziese
, and
Ruxandra M. Zotta
Free access