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C. R. Englund, A. B. Crawford, and W. W. Mumford
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R. E. Stewart, R. W. Crawford, N. R. Donaldson, T. B. Low, and B. E. Sheppard

Abstract

Precipitation and environmental conditions occurring during accretion in Canadian east coast winter storms are described and investigated. Accretion is generally associated with snow, freezing rain, and ice pellets within saturated conditions. Precipitation types are sometimes invariant but usually evolve during individual accretion events. Accretion events are also generally associated with moderate wind speeds (average of 7.5 m s−1) and warm temperatures (between −1° and 0°C are most common). Remote sensing of particle shapes and terminal velocities are capable of identifying some of the features of these precipitation types. Model calculations indicate that a detailed understanding of precipitation characteristics, such as the nature of wet snow, is needed to accurately simulate accretion.

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H. F. Dacre, B. R. Crawford, A. J. Charlton-Perez, G. Lopez-Saldana, G. H. Griffiths, and J. Vicencio Veloso

Abstract

The 2016/17 wildfire season in Chile was the worst on record, burning more than 600,000 ha. While wildfires are an important natural process in some areas of Chile, supporting its diverse ecosystems, wildfires are also one of the biggest threats to Chile’s unique biodiversity and its timber and wine industries. They also pose a danger to human life and property because of the sharp wildland–urban interface that exists in many Chilean towns and cities. Wildfires are, however, difficult to predict because of the combination of physical (meteorology, vegetation, and fuel condition) and human (population density and awareness level) factors. Most Chilean wildfires are started because of accidental ignition by humans. This accidental ignition could be minimized if an effective wildfire warning system alerted the population to the heightened danger of wildfires in certain locations and meteorological conditions. Here, we demonstrate the design of a novel probabilistic wildfire prediction system. The system uses ensemble forecast meteorological data together with a long time series of fire products derived from Earth observation to predict not only fire occurrence but also how intense wildfires could be. The system provides wildfire risk estimation and associated uncertainty for up to six days in advance and communicates it to a variety of end users. The advantage of this probabilistic wildfire warning system over deterministic systems is that it allows users to assess the confidence of a forecast and thus make more informed decisions regarding resource allocation and forest management. The approach used in this study could easily be adapted to communicate other probabilistic forecasts of natural hazards.

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R. E. Stewart, H. G. Leighton, P. Marsh, G. W. K. Moore, H. Ritchie, W. R. Rouse, E. D. Soulis, G. S. Strong, R. W. Crawford, and B. Kochtubajda

The Mackenzie River is the largest North American source of freshwater for the Arctic Ocean. This basin is subjected to wide fluctuations in its climate and it is currently experiencing a pronounced warming trend. As a major Canadian contribution to the Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment (GEWEX), the Mackenzie GEWEX Study (MAGS) is focusing on understanding and modeling the fluxes and reservoirs governing the flow of water and energy into and through the climate system of the Mackenzie River Basin. MAGS necessarily involves research into many atmospheric, land surface, and hydrological issues associated with cold climate systems. The overall objectives and scope of MAGS will be presented in this article.

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Energy and Water Cycles in a High-Latitude, North-Flowing River System

Summary of Results from the Mackenzie GEWEX Study—Phase I

W. R. Rouse, E. M. Blyth, R. W. Crawford, J. R. Gyakum, J. R. Janowicz, B. Kochtubajda, H. G. Leighton, P. Marsh, L. Martz, A. Pietroniro, H. Ritchie, W. M. Schertzer, E. D. Soulis, R. E. Stewart, G. S. Strong, and M. K. Woo

The MacKenzie Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment (GEWEX) Study, Phase 1, seeks to improve understanding of energy and water cycling in the Mackenzie River basin (MRB) and to initiate and test atmospheric, hydrologic, and coupled models that will project the sensitivity of these cycles to climate change and to human activities. Major findings from the study are outlined in this paper. Absorbed solar radiation is a primary driving force of energy and water, and shows dramatic temporal and spatial variability. Cloud amounts feature large diurnal, seasonal, and interannual fluctuations. Seasonality in moisture inputs and outputs is pronounced. Winter in the northern MRB features deep thermal inversions. Snow hydrological processes are very significant in this high-latitude environment and are being successfully modeled for various landscapes. Runoff processes are distinctive in the major terrain units, which is important to overall water cycling. Lakes and wetlands compose much of MRB and are prominent as hydrologic storage systems that must be incorporated into models. Additionally, they are very efficient and variable evaporating systems that are highly sensitive to climate variability. Mountainous high-latitude sub-basins comprise a mosaic of land surfaces with distinct hydrological attributes that act as variable source areas for runoff generation. They also promote leeward cyclonic storm generation. The hard rock terrain of the Canadian Shield exhibits a distinctive energy flux regimen and hydrologic regime. The MRB has been warming dramatically recently, and ice breakup and spring outflow into the Polar Sea has been occurring progressively earlier. This paper presents initial results from coupled atmospheric-hydrologic modeling and delineates distinctive cold region inputs needed for developments in regional and global climate modeling.

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Renee A. McPherson, Christopher A. Fiebrich, Kenneth C. Crawford, James R. Kilby, David L. Grimsley, Janet E. Martinez, Jeffrey B. Basara, Bradley G. Illston, Dale A. Morris, Kevin A. Kloesel, Andrea D. Melvin, Himanshu Shrivastava, J. Michael Wolfinbarger, Jared P. Bostic, David B. Demko, Ronald L. Elliott, Stephen J. Stadler, J. D. Carlson, and Albert J. Sutherland

Abstract

Established as a multipurpose network, the Oklahoma Mesonet operates more than 110 surface observing stations that send data every 5 min to an operations center for data quality assurance, product generation, and dissemination. Quality-assured data are available within 5 min of the observation time. Since 1994, the Oklahoma Mesonet has collected 3.5 billion weather and soil observations and produced millions of decision-making products for its customers.

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J.-P. Vernier, T. D. Fairlie, T. Deshler, M. Venkat Ratnam, H. Gadhavi, B. S. Kumar, M. Natarajan, A. K. Pandit, S. T. Akhil Raj, A. Hemanth Kumar, A. Jayaraman, A. K. Singh, N. Rastogi, P. R. Sinha, S. Kumar, S. Tiwari, T. Wegner, N. Baker, D. Vignelles, G. Stenchikov, I. Shevchenko, J. Smith, K. Bedka, A. Kesarkar, V. Singh, J. Bhate, V. Ravikiran, M. Durga Rao, S. Ravindrababu, A. Patel, H. Vernier, F. G. Wienhold, H. Liu, T. N. Knepp, L. Thomason, J. Crawford, L. Ziemba, J. Moore, S. Crumeyrolle, M. Williamson, G. Berthet, F. Jégou, and J.-B. Renard

Abstract

We describe and show results from a series of field campaigns that used balloonborne instruments launched from India and Saudi Arabia during the summers 2014–17 to study the nature, formation, and impacts of the Asian Tropopause Aerosol Layer (ATAL). The campaign goals were to i) characterize the optical, physical, and chemical properties of the ATAL; ii) assess its impacts on water vapor and ozone; and iii) understand the role of convection in its formation. To address these objectives, we launched 68 balloons from four locations, one in Saudi Arabia and three in India, with payload weights ranging from 1.5 to 50 kg. We measured meteorological parameters; ozone; water vapor; and aerosol backscatter, concentration, volatility, and composition in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UTLS) region. We found peaks in aerosol concentrations of up to 25 cm–3 for radii > 94 nm, associated with a scattering ratio at 940 nm of ∼1.9 near the cold-point tropopause. During medium-duration balloon flights near the tropopause, we collected aerosols and found, after offline ion chromatography analysis, the dominant presence of nitrate ions with a concentration of about 100 ng m–3. Deep convection was found to influence aerosol loadings 1 km above the cold-point tropopause. The Balloon Measurements of the Asian Tropopause Aerosol Layer (BATAL) project will continue for the next 3–4 years, and the results gathered will be used to formulate a future National Aeronautics and Space Administration–Indian Space Research Organisation (NASA–ISRO) airborne campaign with NASA high-altitude aircraft.

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