Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 12 items for

  • Author or Editor: Belay Demoz x
  • Refine by Access: All Content x
Clear All Modify Search
Micheal Hicks
,
Belay Demoz
,
Kevin Vermeesch
, and
Dennis Atkinson

Abstract

A network of automated weather stations (AWS) with ceilometers can be used to detect sky conditions, aerosol dispersion, and mixing layer heights, in addition to the routine surface meteorological parameters (temperature, pressure, humidity, etc.). Currently, a dense network of AWSs that observe all of these parameters does not exist in the United States even though networks of them with ceilometers exist. These networks normally use ceilometers for determining only sky conditions. Updating AWS networks to obtain those nonstandard observations with ceilometers, especially mixing layer height, across the United States would provide valuable information for validating and improving weather/climate forecast models. In this respect, an aerosol-based mixing layer height detection method, called the combined-hybrid method, is developed and evaluated for its uncertainty characteristics for application in the United States. Four years of ceilometer data from the National Weather Service Ceilometer Proof of Concept Project taken in temperate, maritime polar, and hot/arid climate regimes are utilized in this evaluation. Overall, the method proved to be a strong candidate for estimating mixing layer heights with ceilometer data, with averaged uncertainties of 237 ± 398 m in all tested climate regimes and 69 ± 250 m when excluding the hot/arid climate regime.

Full access
Zhien Wang
,
Kenneth Sassen
,
David N. Whiteman
, and
Belay B. Demoz

Abstract

Mixed-phase clouds are still poorly understood, though studies have indicated that their parameterization in general circulation models is critical for climate studies. Most of the knowledge of mixed-phase clouds has been gained from in situ measurements, but reliable remote sensing algorithms to study mixed-phase clouds extensively are lacking. A combined active and passive remote sensing approach for studying supercooled altocumulus with ice virga, using multiple remote sensor observations, is presented. Precipitating altocumulus clouds are a common type of mixed-phase clouds, and their easily identifiable structure provides a simple scenario to study mixed-phase clouds. First, ice virga is treated as an independent ice cloud, and an existing lidar–radar algorithm to retrieve ice water content and general effective size profiles is applied. Then, a new iterative approach is used to retrieve supercooled water cloud properties by minimizing the difference between atmospheric emitted radiance interferometer (AERI)–observed radiances and radiances, calculated using the discrete-ordinate radiative transfer model at 12 selected wavelengths. Case studies demonstrate the capabilities of this approach in retrieving radiatively important microphysical properties to characterize this type of mixed-phase cloud. The good agreement between visible optical depths derived from lidar measurement and those estimated from retrieved liquid water path and effective radius provides a closure test for the accuracy of mainly AERI-based supercooled water cloud retrieval.

Full access
Belay B. Demoz
,
Renyi Zhang
, and
Richard L. Pitter

Abstract

Systematic observations of the sizes, shapes, and degrees of riming of ice particles falling at a downwind station of a major mountain barrier are presented. The observational station was equipped to measure ice-particle masses from 1 µg to a few milligrams, and to measure ice-particle dimensions, habits, degrees of riming, and degrees of aggregation. The results are shown to be useful in learning where ice nucleation and growth take place in the cloud system.

The present study analyzed dissipating and developing winter orographic storm systems, which are representative of more than 60% of the storms observed over the study region. It suggests that most of the needles and columns observed at the ground may be formed by secondary ice production. Heavy riming was associated with light precipitation, while high precipitation rates were correlated with a high number fraction of aggregate crystals. Aggregation was found to be important in the process of precipitation development and the aggregate mass was mostly contained in the dendritic crystal growth region.

Full access
Edward Strobach
,
Lynn C. Sparling
,
Scott Daniel Rabenhorst
, and
Belay Demoz

Abstract

This paper presents a case study of a strong low-level jet (LLJ) that was observed about 20 km off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland, during a measurement campaign in the summer of 2013. Doppler wind lidar observations offshore, together with analyses of 4-km WRF Model data and NARR data, are used to reconstruct the forcing mechanisms that led to the growth and rapid collapse of the jet offshore as well as to differentiate the forcing mechanisms resulting in an LLJ farther inland. It was observed that the LLJ over the mid-Atlantic coastal plain decreased gradually throughout the early morning hours relative to the LLJ along the coastal ocean as a downslope wind moved eastward from the Appalachian Mountains. The forcing of the LLJ was a result of both thermal and mechanical mechanisms linked to the topography, while synoptic forcing from an approaching cold front led to a downslope wind. Data from a wind profiler near Cambridge, Maryland, also showed an LLJ, but forced by different regional conditions, emphasizing the difficulties of inferring wind conditions offshore from onshore observations. The sudden breakdown of the jet offshore appears to have been a result of an interaction with a downslope wind from the Appalachian Mountains. This particular case study highlights the 1) importance of both large-scale and regional forcing, 2) impact that topographical forcing farther inland had on offshore wind, and 3) different responses in the wind profile as a downslope wind moved across the mid-Atlantic region.

Open access
Brian J. Carroll
,
Belay B. Demoz
,
David D. Turner
, and
Ruben Delgado

Abstract

The 2015 Plains Elevated Convection at Night (PECAN) field campaign provided a wealth of intensive observations for improving understanding of interplay between the Great Plains low-level jet (LLJ), mesoscale convective systems (MCSs), and other phenomena in the nocturnal boundary layer. This case study utilizes PECAN ground-based Doppler and water vapor lidar and airborne water vapor lidar observations for a detailed examination of water vapor transport in the Great Plains. The chosen case, 11 July 2015, featured a strong LLJ that helped sustain an MCS overnight. The lidars resolved boundary layer moisture being transported northward, leading to a large increase in water vapor in the lowest several hundred meters above the surface in northern Kansas. A branch of nocturnal convection initiated coincident with the observed maximum water vapor flux. Radiosondes confirmed an increase in convective potential within the LLJ layer. Moist static energy (MSE) growth was generated by increasing moisture in spite of a temperature decrease in the LLJ layer. This unique dataset is also used to evaluate the Rapid Refresh (RAP) analysis model performance, comparing model output against the continuous lidar profiles of water vapor and wind. While the RAP analysis captured the large-scale trends, errors in water vapor mixing ratio were found ranging from 0 to 2 g kg−1 at the ground-based lidar sites. Comparison with the airborne lidar throughout the PECAN domain yielded an RMSE of 1.14 g kg−1 in the planetary boundary layer. These errors mostly manifested as contiguous dry or wet regions spanning spatial scales on the order of ten to hundreds of kilometers.

Full access
Israel Lopez-Coto
,
Micheal Hicks
,
Anna Karion
,
Ricardo K. Sakai
,
Belay Demoz
,
Kuldeep Prasad
, and
James Whetstone

Abstract

Accurate simulation of planetary boundary layer height (PBLH) is key to greenhouse gas emission estimation, air quality prediction, and weather forecasting. This paper describes an extensive performance assessment of several Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model configurations in which novel observations from ceilometers, surface stations, and a flux tower were used to study their ability to reproduce the PBLH and the impact that the urban heat island (UHI) has on the modeled PBLHs in the greater Washington, D.C., area. In addition, CO2 measurements at two urban towers were compared with tracer transport simulations. The ensemble of models used four PBL parameterizations, two sources of initial and boundary conditions, and one configuration including the building energy parameterization urban canopy model. Results have shown low biases over the whole domain and period for wind speed, wind direction, and temperature, with no drastic differences between meteorological drivers. We find that PBLH errors are mostly positively correlated with sensible heat flux errors and that modeled positive UHI intensities are associated with deeper modeled PBLs over the urban areas. In addition, we find that modeled PBLHs are typically biased low during nighttime for most of the configurations with the exception of those using the MYNN parameterization, and these biases directly translate to tracer biases. Overall, the configurations using the MYNN scheme performed the best, reproducing the PBLH and CO2 molar fractions reasonably well during all hours and thus opening the door to future nighttime inverse modeling.

Free access
Belay B. Demoz
,
Arlen W. Huggins
,
Joseph A. Warburton
, and
Richard L. Smith

Abstract

In the winter of 1986, two microwave radiometers were operated side by side at a high-altitude weather observation site in the central Sierra Nevada for the purpose of comparing measurements in a variety of ambient weather conditions. The instruments continuously recorded measurements of vertically integrated water vapor and liquid water during storms affecting the area. One radiometer was designed with a spinning reflector to shed precipitation particles while the other radiometer's reflector was fixed. Temporal records of the data show periods of wet weather contamination for the fixed reflector radiometer. The absence (presence) of these contaminated periods is mainly explained by the difference in the design of the radiometers. These contaminated periods led to larger standard deviation in the data from the fixed-reflector radiometer and lower correlation coefficients between the two instruments. Correlation coefficients of 0.83 for the liquid and 0.68 for the vapor values were found for the radiometer-radiometer comparisons. When some of the points suspected of contamination were removed, the correlation coefficients improved to 0.87 and 0.71 for the liquid and vapor channels, respectively. The standard deviations were 0.1 mm and 0.12 cm for the liquid and vapor channels, respectively, of the spinning reflector radiometer. For the fixed-reflector design radiometer, a standard deviation of 0.1 mm for the liquid and 0.26 cm for the vapor was found. Comparison of radiometer vapor and rawinsonde precipitable water resulted in a correlation coefficient of 0.97 for the spinning-reflector radiometer and 0.8 for the fixed-reflector radiometer.

Full access
Thomas Rickenbach
,
Paul Kucera
,
Megan Gentry
,
Larry Carey
,
Andrew Lare
,
Ruei-Fong Lin
,
Belay Demoz
, and
David O’C. Starr

Abstract

One of the important goals of NASA’s Cirrus Regional Study of Tropical Anvils and Cirrus Layers–Florida Area Cirrus Experiment (CRYSTAL-FACE) was to further the understanding of the evolution of tropical anvil clouds generated by deep convective systems. An important step toward understanding the radiative properties of convectively generated anvil clouds is to study their life cycle. Observations from ground-based radar, geostationary satellite radiometers, aircraft, and radiosondes during CRYSTAL-FACE provided a comprehensive look at the generation of anvil clouds by convective systems over South Florida during July 2002. This study focused on the relationship between convective rainfall and the evolution of the anvil cloud shield associated with convective systems over South Florida on 23 July 2002, during the CRYSTAL-FACE experiment. Anvil clouds emanating from convective cells grew downwind (to the southwest), reaching their maximum area at all temperature thresholds 1–2 h after the active convective cells collapsed. Radar reflectivity data revealed that precipitation-sized anvil particles extended downwind with the cloud tops. The time lag between maximum rainfall and maximum anvil cloud area increased with system size and rainfall. Observations from airborne radar and analysis of in situ cloud particle size distribution measurements in the anvil region suggested that gravitational size sorting of cloud particles dispersed downshear was a likely mechanism in the evolution of the anvil region. Linear regression analysis suggested a positive trend between this time lag and maximum convective rainfall for this case, as well as between the time lag and maximum system cloud cover. The injection of condensate into the anvil region by large areas of intense cells and dispersal in the upper-level winds was a likely explanation to cause the anvil cloud-top area to grow for 1–2 h after the surface convective rainfall began to weaken. In future work these relationships should be evaluated in differing regimes of shear, stability, or precipitation efficiency, such as over the tropical oceans, in order to generalize the results. The results of this study implied that for these cloud systems, the maximum in latent heating (proportional to rainfall) may precede the peak radiative forcing (related to anvil cloud height and area) by a lead time that was proportional to system size and strength. Mesoscale modeling simulations of convective systems on this day are under way to examine anvil evolution and growth mechanisms.

Full access
Belay Demoz
,
Cyrille Flamant
,
Tammy Weckwerth
,
David Whiteman
,
Keith Evans
,
Frédéric Fabry
,
Paolo Di Girolamo
,
David Miller
,
Bart Geerts
,
William Brown
,
Geary Schwemmer
,
Bruce Gentry
,
Wayne Feltz
, and
Zhien Wang

Abstract

A detailed analysis of the structure of a double dryline observed over the Oklahoma panhandle during the first International H2O Project (IHOP_2002) convective initiation (CI) mission on 22 May 2002 is presented. A unique and unprecedented set of high temporal and spatial resolution measurements of water vapor mixing ratio, wind, and boundary layer structure parameters were acquired using the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) scanning Raman lidar (SRL), the Goddard Lidar Observatory for Winds (GLOW), and the Holographic Airborne Rotating Lidar Instrument Experiment (HARLIE), respectively. These measurements are combined with the vertical velocity measurements derived from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Multiple Antenna Profiler Radar (MAPR) and radar structure function from the high-resolution University of Massachusetts frequency-modulated continuous-wave (FMCW) radar to reveal the evolution and structure of the late afternoon double-dryline boundary layer. The eastern dryline advanced and then retreated over the Homestead profiling site in the Oklahoma panhandle, providing conditions ripe for a detailed observation of the small-scale variability within the boundary layer and the dryline. In situ aircraft data, dropsonde and radiosonde data, along with NCAR S-band dual-polarization Doppler radar (S-Pol) measurements, are also used to provide the larger-scale picture of the double-dryline environment.

Moisture and temperature jumps of about 3 g kg−1 and 1–2 K, respectively, were observed across the eastern radar fine line (dryline), more than the moisture jumps (1–2 g kg−1) observed across the western radar fine line (secondary dryline). Most updraft plumes observed were located on the moist side of the eastern dryline with vertical velocities exceeding 3 m s−1 and variable horizontal widths of 2–5 km, although some were as wide as 7–8 km. These updrafts were up to 1.5 g kg−1 moister than the surrounding environment.

Although models suggested deep convection over the Oklahoma panhandle and several cloud lines were observed near the dryline, the dryline itself did not initiate any storms over the intensive observation region (IOR). Possible reasons for this lack of convection are discussed. Strong capping inversion and moisture detrainment between the lifting condensation level and the level of free convection related to an overriding drier air, together with the relatively small near-surface moisture values (less than 10 g kg−1), were detrimental to CI in this case.

Full access
Tammy M. Weckwerth
,
David B. Parsons
,
Steven E. Koch
,
James A. Moore
,
Margaret A. LeMone
,
Belay B. Demoz
,
Cyrille Flamant
,
Bart Geerts
,
Junhong Wang
, and
Wayne F. Feltz

The International H2O Project (IHOP_2002) is one of the largest North American meteorological field experiments in history. From 13 May to 25 June 2002, over 250 researchers and technical staff from the United States, Germany, France, and Canada converged on the Southern Great Plains to measure water vapor and other atmospheric variables. The principal objective of IHOP_2002 is to obtain an improved characterization of the time-varying three-dimensional water vapor field and evaluate its utility in improving the understanding and prediction of convective processes. The motivation for this objective is the combination of extremely low forecast skill for warm-season rainfall and the relatively large loss of life and property from flash floods and other warm-season weather hazards. Many prior studies on convective storm forecasting have shown that water vapor is a key atmospheric variable that is insufficiently measured. Toward this goal, IHOP_2002 brought together many of the existing operational and new state-of-the-art research water vapor sensors and numerical models.

The IHOP_2002 experiment comprised numerous unique aspects. These included several instruments fielded for the first time (e.g., reference radiosonde); numerous upgraded instruments (e.g., Wyoming Cloud Radar); the first ever horizontal-pointing water vapor differential absorption lidar (DIAL; i.e., Leandre II on the Naval Research Laboratory P-3), which required the first onboard aircraft avoidance radar; several unique combinations of sensors (e.g., multiple profiling instruments at one field site and the German water vapor DIAL and NOAA/Environmental Technology Laboratory Doppler lidar on board the German Falcon aircraft); and many logistical challenges. This article presents a summary of the motivation, goals, and experimental design of the project, illustrates some preliminary data collected, and includes discussion on some potential operational and research implications of the experiment.

Full access