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Andreas Schiller, Gary Meyers, and Neville R. Smith

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Andrea Smith, Richard Clark, and Richard Jeffries
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Joseph A. Grim, Greg M. McFarquhar, Robert M. Rauber, Andrea M. Smith, and Brian F. Jewett

Abstract

This study employed a nondynamic microphysical column model to evaluate the degree to which the microphysical processes of sublimation, melting, and evaporation alone can explain the evolution of the relative humidity (RH) and latent cooling profiles within the trailing stratiform region of mesoscale convective systems observed during the Bow Echo and Mesoscale Convective Vortex Experiment (BAMEX). Simulations revealed that observations of a sharp change in the profile of RH, from saturated air with respect to ice above the melting layer to subsaturated air with respect to water below, developed in response to the rapid increase in hydrometeor fall speeds from 1–2 m s−1 for ice to 2–11 m s−1 for rain. However, at certain times and locations, such as the first spiral descent on 29 June 2003 within the notch of lower reflectivity, the air may remain subsaturated for temperatures (T) < 0°C. Sufficiently strong downdrafts above the melting level, such as the 1–3 m s−1 downdrafts observed in the notch of lower reflectivity on 29 June, could enable this state of sustained subsaturation. Sensitivity tests, where the hydrometeor size distributions and upstream RH profiles were varied within the range of BAMEX observations, revealed that the sharp contrast in the RH field across the melting layer always developed. The simulations also revealed that latent cooling from sublimation and melting resulted in the strongest cooling at altitudes within and above the melting layer for locations where hydrometeors did not reach the ground, such as within the rear anvil region, and where sustained subsaturated air is present for T < 0°C, such as is observed within downdrafts. Within the enhanced stratiform rain region, the air is typically at or near saturation for T < 0°C, whereas it is typically subsaturated for T > 0°C; thus, evaporation and melting result in the primary cooling in this region. The implications of these results for the descent of the rear inflow jet across the trailing stratiform region are discussed.

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AndréA. Doneaud, Stefano Ionescu-Niscov, David L. Priegnitz, and Paul L. Smith

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Digital radar data are used to investigate further a simple technique for estimating rainfall amounts on the basis of area coverage information. The basis of the technique is the existence of a strong correlation between a measure of the rain area coverage and duration called the Area-Time Integral (ATI) and the rain volume. This strong correlation is again demonstrated using echo cluster data from the North Dakota Cloud Modification Project 5 cm radars.

Integration on a scan-by-scan basis proved to be superior for determining ATI values to the hour-by-hour integration used previously. A 25 dB(z) reflectivity threshold was found suitable for the ATI calculation. The correlation coefficient on log-log plots of cluster rain volume versus ATI is approximately 0.98, indicating a power-law relationship between the variables. The exponent of that relationship is just a little higher than one, which indicates that the cluster average rainfall rate is almost independent of the storm size and duration.

A test of the relationship derived from one set of data (1980) against an independent set (1981) showed it to be consistent. Using the 1980 relationship to estimate the 1981 cluster rain volume for a given ATI, the uncertainty of the rain volume estimates was found to be −31%, +46%.

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Stephen D. Eckermann, James D. Doyle, P. Alex Reinecke, Carolyn A. Reynolds, Ronald B. Smith, David C. Fritts, and Andreas Dörnbrack

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Gravity wave perturbations in 15-μm nadir radiances from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) and Cross-Track Infrared Sounder (CrIS) informed scientific flight planning for the Deep Propagating Gravity Wave Experiment (DEEPWAVE). AIRS observations from 2003 to 2011 identified the South Island of New Zealand during June–July as a “natural laboratory” for observing deep-propagating gravity wave dynamics. Near-real-time AIRS and CrIS gravity wave products monitored wave activity in and around New Zealand continuously within 10 regions of scientific interest, providing nowcast guidance and validation for flight planners. A novel technique used these gravity wave products to validate upstream forecasts of nonorographic gravity waves with 1–2-day lead times, providing time to plan flight intercepts as tropospheric westerlies brought forecast source regions into range. Postanalysis verifies the choice of 15 μm radiances for nowcasting, since 4.3-μm gravity wave products yielded spurious diurnal cycles, provided no altitude sensitivity, and proved relatively insensitive to deep gravity wave activity over the South Island. Comparisons of DEEPWAVE flight tracks with AIRS and CrIS gravity wave maps highlight successful repeated vectoring of the aircraft into regions of deep orographic and nonorographic gravity wave activity, and how background winds control the amplitude of waves in radiance perturbation maps. We discuss how gravity wave information in AIRS and CrIS radiances might be directly assimilated into future operational forecasting systems.

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Andrea M. Smith, Greg M. McFarquhar, Robert M. Rauber, Joseph A. Grim, Michael S. Timlin, Brian F. Jewett, and David P. Jorgensen

Abstract

This study used airborne and ground-based radar and optical array probe data from the spiral descent flight patterns and horizontal flight legs of the NOAA P-3 aircraft in the trailing stratiform regions (TSRs) of mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) observed during the Bow Echo and Mesoscale Convective Vortex Experiment (BAMEX) to characterize microphysical and thermodynamic variations within the TSRs in the context of the following features: the transition zone, the notch region, the enhanced stratiform rain region, the rear anvil region, the front-to-rear flow, the rear-to-front flow, and the rear inflow jet axis. One spiral from the notch region, nine from the enhanced stratiform rain region, and two from the rear anvil region were analyzed along with numerous horizontal flight legs that traversed these zones. The spiral performed in the notch region on 29 June occurred early in the MCS life cycle and exhibited subsaturated conditions throughout its depth. The nine spirals performed within the enhanced stratiform rain region exhibited saturated conditions with respect to ice above and within the melting layer and subsaturated conditions below the melting layer. Spirals performed in the rear anvil region showed saturation until the base of the anvil, near −1°C, and subsaturation below. These data, together with analyses of total number concentration and the slope to gamma fits to size distributions, revealed that sublimation above the melting layer occurs early in the MCS life cycle but then reduces in importance as the environment behind the convective line is moistened from the top down. Evaporation below the melting layer was insufficient to attain saturation below the melting layer at any time or location within the MCS TSRs. Relative humidity was found to have a strong correlation to the component of wind parallel to the storm motion, especially within air flowing from front to rear.

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James E. Hocker, Andrea D. Melvin, Kevin A. Kloesel, Christopher A. Fiebrich, Robert W. Hill, Richard D. Smith, and Steven F. Piltz

Abstract

Since 1997, the Oklahoma Mesonet (the state’s automated mesoscale weather station network) has served a community of more than 1,400 public safety officials (emergency managers, fire officials, law enforcement, etc.) across Oklahoma through a weather data and training program called Oklahoma’s First-Response Information Resource System using Telecommunications (OK-First). OK-First provides free weather and radar data interpretation classes to eligible public safety officials and, following successful completion of training, password-protected access to weather data tools including a website and software. The objective of OK-First when it began was to fill significant gaps in weather product training and data access for Oklahoma’s public safety community. Though the core mission remains the same 20 years later, many aspects of OK-First have evolved over time, including participant membership, training curriculum, formats of training, training requirements, website and software technology, and program feedback. The purpose of this paper is to provide an update on the Mesonet’s OK-First program, with a particular focus on training, tools, and the impact it has had on the public safety community.

Open access
Luis Samaniego, Stephan Thober, Niko Wanders, Ming Pan, Oldrich Rakovec, Justin Sheffield, Eric F. Wood, Christel Prudhomme, Gwyn Rees, Helen Houghton-Carr, Matthew Fry, Katie Smith, Glenn Watts, Hege Hisdal, Teodoro Estrela, Carlo Buontempo, Andreas Marx, and Rohini Kumar

Abstract

Simulations of water fluxes at high spatial resolution that consistently cover historical observations, seasonal forecasts, and future climate projections are key to providing climate services aimed at supporting operational and strategic planning, and developing mitigation and adaptation policies. The End-to-end Demonstrator for improved decision-making in the water sector in Europe (EDgE) is a proof-of-concept project funded by the Copernicus Climate Change Service program that addresses these requirements by combining a multimodel ensemble of state-of-the-art climate model outputs and hydrological models to deliver sectoral climate impact indicators (SCIIs) codesigned with private and public water sector stakeholders from three contrasting European countries. The final product of EDgE is a water-oriented information system implemented through a web application. Here, we present the underlying structure of the EDgE modeling chain, which is composed of four phases: 1) climate data processing, 2) hydrological modeling, 3) stakeholder codesign and SCII estimation, and 4) uncertainty and skill assessments. Daily temperature and precipitation from observational datasets, four climate models for seasonal forecasts, and five climate models under two emission scenarios are consistently downscaled to 5-km spatial resolution to ensure locally relevant simulations based on four hydrological models. The consistency of the hydrological models is guaranteed by using identical input data for land surface parameterizations. The multimodel outputs are composed of 65 years of historical observations, a 19-yr ensemble of seasonal hindcasts, and a century-long ensemble of climate impact projections. These unique, high-resolution hydroclimatic simulations and SCIIs provide an unprecedented information system for decision-making over Europe and can serve as a template for water-related climate services in other regions.

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Ronald B. Smith, Alison D. Nugent, Christopher G. Kruse, David C. Fritts, James D. Doyle, Steven D. Eckermann, Michael J. Taylor, Andreas Dörnbrack, M. Uddstrom, William Cooper, Pavel Romashkin, Jorgen Jensen, and Stuart Beaton

Abstract

During the Deep Propagating Gravity Wave Experiment (DEEPWAVE) project in June and July 2014, the Gulfstream V research aircraft flew 97 legs over the Southern Alps of New Zealand and 150 legs over the Tasman Sea and Southern Ocean, mostly in the low stratosphere at 12.1-km altitude. Improved instrument calibration, redundant sensors, longer flight legs, energy flux estimation, and scale analysis revealed several new gravity wave properties. Over the sea, flight-level wave fluxes mostly fell below the detection threshold. Over terrain, disturbances had characteristic mountain wave attributes of positive vertical energy flux (EFz), negative zonal momentum flux, and upwind horizontal energy flux. In some cases, the fluxes changed rapidly within an 8-h flight, even though environmental conditions were nearly unchanged. The largest observed zonal momentum and vertical energy fluxes were MFx = −550 mPa and EFz = 22 W m−2, respectively.

A wide variety of disturbance scales were found at flight level over New Zealand. The vertical wind variance at flight level was dominated by short “fluxless” waves with wavelengths in the 6–15-km range. Even shorter scales, down to 500 m, were found in wave breaking regions. The wavelength of the flux-carrying mountain waves was much longer—mostly between 60 and 150 km. In the strong cases, however, with EFz > 4 W m−2, the dominant flux wavelength decreased (i.e., “downshifted”) to an intermediate wavelength between 20 and 60 km. A potential explanation for the rapid flux changes and the scale “downshifting” is that low-level flow can shift between “terrain following” and “envelope following” associated with trapped air in steep New Zealand valleys.

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David C. Fritts, Ronald B. Smith, Michael J. Taylor, James D. Doyle, Stephen D. Eckermann, Andreas Dörnbrack, Markus Rapp, Bifford P. Williams, P.-Dominique Pautet, Katrina Bossert, Neal R. Criddle, Carolyn A. Reynolds, P. Alex Reinecke, Michael Uddstrom, Michael J. Revell, Richard Turner, Bernd Kaifler, Johannes S. Wagner, Tyler Mixa, Christopher G. Kruse, Alison D. Nugent, Campbell D. Watson, Sonja Gisinger, Steven M. Smith, Ruth S. Lieberman, Brian Laughman, James J. Moore, William O. Brown, Julie A. Haggerty, Alison Rockwell, Gregory J. Stossmeister, Steven F. Williams, Gonzalo Hernandez, Damian J. Murphy, Andrew R. Klekociuk, Iain M. Reid, and Jun Ma

Abstract

The Deep Propagating Gravity Wave Experiment (DEEPWAVE) was designed to quantify gravity wave (GW) dynamics and effects from orographic and other sources to regions of dissipation at high altitudes. The core DEEPWAVE field phase took place from May through July 2014 using a comprehensive suite of airborne and ground-based instruments providing measurements from Earth’s surface to ∼100 km. Austral winter was chosen to observe deep GW propagation to high altitudes. DEEPWAVE was based on South Island, New Zealand, to provide access to the New Zealand and Tasmanian “hotspots” of GW activity and additional GW sources over the Southern Ocean and Tasman Sea. To observe GWs up to ∼100 km, DEEPWAVE utilized three new instruments built specifically for the National Science Foundation (NSF)/National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Gulfstream V (GV): a Rayleigh lidar, a sodium resonance lidar, and an advanced mesosphere temperature mapper. These measurements were supplemented by in situ probes, dropsondes, and a microwave temperature profiler on the GV and by in situ probes and a Doppler lidar aboard the German DLR Falcon. Extensive ground-based instrumentation and radiosondes were deployed on South Island, Tasmania, and Southern Ocean islands. Deep orographic GWs were a primary target but multiple flights also observed deep GWs arising from deep convection, jet streams, and frontal systems. Highlights include the following: 1) strong orographic GW forcing accompanying strong cross-mountain flows, 2) strong high-altitude responses even when orographic forcing was weak, 3) large-scale GWs at high altitudes arising from jet stream sources, and 4) significant flight-level energy fluxes and often very large momentum fluxes at high altitudes.

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