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Michael Kunz and Christoph Kottmeier

Abstract

A diagnostic model for simulating orographic precipitation over low mountain ranges is presented. It is based on linear theory of hydrostatic flow over mountains and calculates condensation rates from vertical lifting at the different model layers. Several other physical processes, such as hydrometeor drifting, evaporation, and moisture loss, are incorporated in the model by simple parameterizations. Idealized simulations of precipitation with different model performances provide insight into the physical processes of orographic precipitation. Evaporation, in combination with hydrometeor drifting into descent regions, is identified as one of the key aspects that primarily determine the spatial distribution of precipitation. The variability in orographic precipitation that results from changes in model parameters and ambient conditions is investigated in sensitivity studies. Simulated intensities as well as their spatial distributions are very sensitive to the temperature T 0 at the lowest layer and to the variables that define the Froude number Frm: the horizontal wind speed U, static stability Nm, and mountain height H. Most of the parameters exhibit a nonlinear relation to the simulated precipitation intensities. Relative to ambient conditions, orographic precipitation is found to be less sensitive to changes in formation time t ice, terminal velocity of ice particles υ ice, and melting level Δz. In each case, the sensitivities of simulation results strongly depend on the location in the model domain.

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Michael Kunz and Christoph Kottmeier

Abstract

A diagnostic precipitation model that combines linear theory of hydrostatic flow with parameterized microphysics is applied to several stratiform heavy precipitation events over the low mountain ranges of southwestern Germany. Model-simulated rainfall is in good agreement with observations in both magnitude and location, yielding correlation coefficients against observational data between 0.74 and 0.90. Two events that caused local flooding over and near the Black Forest mountains, on 11–13 December 1997 and on 28–29 October 1998, are discussed in detail. Results show that, in addition to orographic features, wind speed U, moist static stability Nm, and melting level are important parameters to describe the amount and spatial distribution of orographic precipitation. The effect of hydrometeor drifting significantly reduces the precipitation peaks near the crests, and the inclusion of evaporation decreases precipitation mainly in descent regions downstream of the mountains. Using the upslope approach instead of linear theory, the precipitation intensities increase substantially and primarily over and downstream of the mountain peaks, whereas the maxima are shifted slightly downstream. The best simulation results relative to the observations were obtained on a 2.5-km grid, whereas areal rainfall is underestimated by about 10% on a 5-km grid and by about 35% on a 10-km grid.

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Ralph Timmermann, Peter Lemke, and Christoph Kottmeier

Abstract

A dynamic–thermodynamic sea ice–mixed layer model for the Weddell Sea is complemented by a simple, diagnostic model to account for local sea ice–atmosphere interaction. To consider the atmospheric influence on the oceanic mixed layer, the pycnocline upwelling velocity is calculated using the theory of Ekman pumping. In several experiments, formation and conservation of a polynya in the Weddell Sea are investigated. Intrusion of heat into the lower atmosphere above the polynya area is assumed to cause a thermal perturbation and a cyclonic thermal wind field. Superposed with daily ECMWF surface winds, this modified atmospheric forcing field intensifies oceanic upwelling and induces divergent ice drift. Simulation results indicate that in case of a weak atmospheric cross-polynya flow the formation of a thermal wind field can significantly extend the lifetime of a large polynya. The repeated occurrence of the Weddell polynya in the years 1974–76 thus appears to be an effect of feedback mechanisms between sea ice, atmosphere, and oceanic mixed layer.

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Romi Sasse, Gerd Schädler, and Christoph Kottmeier

Abstract

This study addresses the question of how complex topography in a low-mountain region affects the partitioning and the variability of the atmospheric water budget components (WBCs) as a function of synoptic-scale flow conditions. The WBCs are calculated for regions of different size and location in southwestern Germany and the summer months from 2005 to 2009 using the high-resolution regional climate model COSMO-CLM driven by Global Model (GME) analyses. Comparisons with observations from the Convective and Orographically-induced Precipitation Study (COPS) performed in summer 2007 show that the model is capable of simulating the atmospheric water budget reasonably (absolute mean error between 0.1 and 0.7 kg m−2 day−1). To investigate the influence of synoptic weather conditions, the daily WBCs are classified based on the inflow direction of the air masses and the cyclonality at 500 hPa. Using statistical tests, four groups out of the six synoptic conditions have significantly different distributions of the WBCs. This can be explained by differences in the air mass features and the influence of high/low pressure systems. The sensitivity of the modeled WBCs to topography and land cover is investigated by comparing a region in the flat upper Rhine Valley with one in the mountainous Black Forest/Swabian Jura. Compared to the Rhine Valley, increases of evapotranspiration (+5% to +16%), precipitation (+26% to +57%), and moisture convergence (+24% to +93%) are noticeable in the low-mountain region. Local modifications of the synoptic-scale flow, thermally induced winds, and land use cause this intensification of the atmospheric water budget, especially on the windward slopes of the mountains.

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Miles G. McPhee, Christoph Kottmeier, and James H. Morison

Abstract

Seasonal sea ice, which plays a pivotal role in air–sea interaction in the Weddell Sea (a region of large deep-water formation with potential impact on climate), depends critically on heat flux from the deep ocean. During the austral winter of 1994, an intensive process-oriented field program named the Antarctic Zone Flux Experiment measured upper-ocean turbulent fluxes during two short manned ice-drift station experiments near the Maud Rise seamount region of the Weddell Sea. Unmanned data buoys left at the site of the first manned drift provided a season-long time series of ice motion, mixed layer temperature and salinity, plus a (truncated) high-resolution record of temperature within the ice column. Direct turbulence flux measurements made in the ocean boundary layer during the manned drift stations were extended to the ice–ocean interface with a “mixing length” model and were used to evaluate parameters in bulk expressions for interfacial stress (a “Rossby similarity” drag law) and ocean-to-ice heat flux (proportional to the product of friction velocity and mixed layer temperature elevation above freezing). The Rossby parameters and dimensionless heat transfer coefficient agree closely with previous studies from perennial pack ice in the Arctic, despite a large disparity in undersurface roughness. For the manned drifts, ocean heat flux averaged 52 W m−2 west of Maud Rise and 23 W m−2 over Maud Rise. Unmanned buoy heat flux averaged 27 W m−2 over a 76-day drift. Although short-term differences were large, average conductive heat flux in the ice was nearly identical to ocean heat flux over the 44-day ice thermistor record.

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Pieter Groenemeijer, Christian Barthlott, Ulrich Corsmeier, Jan Handwerker, Martin Kohler, Christoph Kottmeier, Holger Mahlke, Andreas Wieser, Andreas Behrendt, Sandip Pal, Marcus Radlach, Volker Wulfmeyer, and Jörg Trentmann

Abstract

Measurements of a convective storm cluster in the northern Black Forest in southwest Germany have revealed the development of a warm and dry downdraft under its anvil cloud that had an inhibiting effect on the subsequent development of convection. These measurements were made on 12 July 2006 as part of the field campaign Prediction, Identification and Tracking of Convective Cells (PRINCE) during which a number of new measurement strategies were deployed. These included the collocation of a rotational Raman lidar and a Doppler lidar on the summit of the highest mountain in the region (1164 m MSL) as well as the deployment of teams carrying radiosondes to be released in the vicinity of convective storms. In addition, an aircraft equipped with sensors for meteorological variables and dropsondes was in operation and determined that the downdraft air was approximately 1.5 K warmer, 4 g kg−1 drier, and therefore 3 g m−3 less dense than the air at the same altitude in the storm’s surroundings. The Raman lidar detected undulating aerosol-rich layers in the preconvective environment and a gradual warming trend of the lower troposphere as the nearby storm system evolved. The Doppler lidar both detected a pattern of convergent radial winds under a developing convective updraft and an outflow emerging under the storm’s anvil cloud. The dryness of the downdraft air indicates that it had subsided from higher altitudes. Its low density reveals that its development was not caused by negative thermal buoyancy, but was rather due to the vertical mass flux balance accompanying the storm’s updrafts.

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Jochem Marotzke, Wolfgang A. Müller, Freja S. E. Vamborg, Paul Becker, Ulrich Cubasch, Hendrik Feldmann, Frank Kaspar, Christoph Kottmeier, Camille Marini, Iuliia Polkova, Kerstin Prömmel, Henning W. Rust, Detlef Stammer, Uwe Ulbrich, Christopher Kadow, Armin Köhl, Jürgen Kröger, Tim Kruschke, Joaquim G. Pinto, Holger Pohlmann, Mark Reyers, Marc Schröder, Frank Sienz, Claudia Timmreck, and Markus Ziese

Abstract

Mittelfristige Klimaprognose (MiKlip), an 8-yr German national research project on decadal climate prediction, is organized around a global prediction system comprising the Max Planck Institute Earth System Model (MPI-ESM) together with an initialization procedure and a model evaluation system. This paper summarizes the lessons learned from MiKlip so far; some are purely scientific, others concern strategies and structures of research that target future operational use.

Three prediction system generations have been constructed, characterized by alternative initialization strategies; the later generations show a marked improvement in hindcast skill for surface temperature. Hindcast skill is also identified for multiyear-mean European summer surface temperatures, extratropical cyclone tracks, the quasi-biennial oscillation, and ocean carbon uptake, among others. Regionalization maintains or slightly enhances the skill in European surface temperature inherited from the global model and also displays hindcast skill for wind energy output. A new volcano code package permits rapid modification of the predictions in response to a future eruption.

MiKlip has demonstrated the efficacy of subjecting a single global prediction system to a major research effort. The benefits of this strategy include the rapid cycling through the prediction system generations, the development of a sophisticated evaluation package usable by all MiKlip researchers, and regional applications of the global predictions. Open research questions include the optimal balance between model resolution and ensemble size, the appropriate method for constructing a prediction ensemble, and the decision between full-field and anomaly initialization.

Operational use of the MiKlip system is targeted for the end of the current decade, with a recommended generational cycle of 2–3 years.

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Ute Weber, Sabine Attinger, Burkard Baschek, Julia Boike, Dietrich Borchardt, Holger Brix, Nicolas Brüggemann, Ingeborg Bussmann, Peter Dietrich, Philipp Fischer, Jens Greinert, Irena Hajnsek, Norbert Kamjunke, Dorit Kerschke, Astrid Kiendler-Scharr, Arne Körtzinger, Christoph Kottmeier, Bruno Merz, Ralf Merz, Martin Riese, Michael Schloter, HaPe Schmid, Jörg-Peter Schnitzler, Torsten Sachs, Claudia Schütze, Ralf Tillmann, Harry Vereecken, Andreas Wieser, and Georg Teutsch

Abstract

Modular Observation Solutions of Earth Systems (MOSES) is a novel observation system that is specifically designed to unravel the impact of distinct, dynamic events on the long-term development of environmental systems. Hydrometeorological extremes such as the recent European droughts or the floods of 2013 caused severe and lasting environmental damage. Modeling studies suggest that abrupt permafrost thaw events accelerate Arctic greenhouse gas emissions. Short-lived ocean eddies seem to comprise a significant share of the marine carbon uptake or release. Although there is increasing evidence that such dynamic events bear the potential for major environmental impacts, our knowledge on the processes they trigger is still very limited. MOSES aims at capturing such events, from their formation to their end, with high spatial and temporal resolution. As such, the observation system extends and complements existing national and international observation networks, which are mostly designed for long-term monitoring. Several German Helmholtz Association centers have developed this research facility as a mobile and modular “system of systems” to record energy, water, greenhouse gas, and nutrient cycles on the land surface, in coastal regions, in the ocean, in polar regions, and in the atmosphere—but especially the interactions between the Earth compartments. During the implementation period (2017–21), the measuring systems were put into operation and test campaigns were performed to establish event-driven campaign routines. With MOSES’s regular operation starting in 2022, the observation system will then be ready for cross-compartment and cross-discipline research on the environmental impacts of dynamic events.

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Keith A. Browning, Alan M. Blyth, Peter A. Clark, Ulrich Corsmeier, Cyril J. Morcrette, Judith L. Agnew, Sue P. Ballard, Dave Bamber, Christian Barthlott, Lindsay J. Bennett, Karl M. Beswick, Mark Bitter, Karen E. Bozier, Barbara J. Brooks, Chris G. Collier, Fay Davies, Bernhard Deny, Mark A. Dixon, Thomas Feuerle, Richard M. Forbes, Catherine Gaffard, Malcolm D. Gray, Rolf Hankers, Tim J. Hewison, Norbert Kalthoff, Samiro Khodayar, Martin Kohler, Christoph Kottmeier, Stephan Kraut, Michael Kunz, Darcy N. Ladd, Humphrey W. Lean, Jürgen Lenfant, Zhihong Li, John Marsham, James McGregor, Stephan D. Mobbs, John Nicol, Emily Norton, Douglas J. Parker, Felicity Perry, Markus Ramatschi, Hugo M. A. Ricketts, Nigel M. Roberts, Andrew Russell, Helmut Schulz, Elizabeth C. Slack, Geraint Vaughan, Joe Waight, David P. Wareing, Robert J. Watson, Ann R. Webb, and Andreas Wieser

The Convective Storm Initiation Project (CSIP) is an international project to understand precisely where, when, and how convective clouds form and develop into showers in the mainly maritime environment of southern England. A major aim of CSIP is to compare the results of the very high resolution Met Office weather forecasting model with detailed observations of the early stages of convective clouds and to use the newly gained understanding to improve the predictions of the model.

A large array of ground-based instruments plus two instrumented aircraft, from the U.K. National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS) and the German Institute for Meteorology and Climate Research (IMK), Karlsruhe, were deployed in southern England, over an area centered on the meteorological radars at Chilbolton, during the summers of 2004 and 2005. In addition to a variety of ground-based remote-sensing instruments, numerous rawinsondes were released at one- to two-hourly intervals from six closely spaced sites. The Met Office weather radar network and Meteosat satellite imagery were used to provide context for the observations made by the instruments deployed during CSIP.

This article presents an overview of the CSIP field campaign and examples from CSIP of the types of convective initiation phenomena that are typical in the United Kingdom. It shows the way in which certain kinds of observational data are able to reveal these phenomena and gives an explanation of how the analyses of data from the field campaign will be used in the development of an improved very high resolution NWP model for operational use.

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