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Li-Chuan Gwen Chen and Huug van den Dool

Abstract

In this study, an optimal weighting system is developed that combines multiple seasonal probabilistic forecasts in the North American Multimodel Ensemble (NMME). The system is applied to predict temperature and precipitation over the North American continent, and the analysis is conducted using the 1982–2010 hindcasts from eight NMME models, including the CFSv2, CanCM3, CanCM4, GFDL CM2.1, Forecast-Oriented Low Ocean Resolution (FLOR), GEOS5, CCSM4, and CESM models, with weights determined by minimizing the Brier score using ridge regression. Strategies to improve the performance of ridge regression are explored, such as eliminating a priori models with negative skill and increasing the effective sample size by pooling information from neighboring grids. A set of constraints is put in place to confine the weights within a reasonable range or restrict the weights from departing wildly from equal weights. So when the predictor–predictand relationship is weak, the multimodel ensemble forecast returns to an equal-weight combination. The new weighting system improves the predictive skill from the baseline, equally weighted forecasts. All models contribute to the weighted forecasts differently based upon location and forecast start and lead times. The amount of improvement varies across space and corresponds to the average model elimination percentage. The areas with higher elimination rates tend to show larger improvement in cross-validated verification scores. Some local improvements can be as large as 0.6 in temporal probability anomaly correlation (TPAC). On average, the results are about 0.02–0.05 in TPAC for temperature probabilistic forecasts and 0.03–0.05 for precipitation probabilistic forecasts over North America. The skill improvement is generally greater for precipitation probabilistic forecasts than for temperature probabilistic forecasts.

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Yingtao Ma, Rachel T. Pinker, Margaret M. Wonsick, Chuan Li, and Laura M. Hinkelman

Abstract

Snow-covered mountain ranges are a major source of water supply for runoff and groundwater recharge. Snowmelt supplies as much as 75% of the surface water in basins of the western United States. Net radiative fluxes make up about 80% of the energy balance over snow-covered surfaces. Because of the large extent of snow cover and the scarcity of ground observations, use of remotely sensed data is an attractive option for estimating radiative fluxes. Most of the available methods have been applied to low-spatial-resolution satellite observations that do not capture the spatial variability of snow cover, clouds, or aerosols, all of which need to be accounted for to achieve accurate estimates of surface radiative fluxes. The objective of this study is to use high-spatial-resolution observations that are available from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) to derive surface shortwave (0.2–4.0 μm) downward radiative fluxes in complex terrain, with attention on the effect of topography (e.g., shadowing or limited sky view) on the amount of radiation received. The developed method has been applied to several typical melt seasons (January–July during 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2009) over the western part of the United States, and the available information was used to derive metrics on spatial and temporal variability of shortwave fluxes. Issues of scale in both the satellite and ground observations are also addressed to illuminate difficulties in the validation process of satellite-derived quantities. It is planned to apply the findings from this study to test improvements in estimation of snow water equivalent.

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Rachel T. Pinker, Donglian Sun, Meng-Pai Hung, Chuan Li, and Jeffrey B. Basara

Abstract

A comprehensive evaluation of split-window and triple-window algorithms to estimate land surface temperature (LST) from Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) that were previously described by Sun and Pinker is presented. The evaluation of the split-window algorithm is done against ground observations and against independently developed algorithms. The triple-window algorithm is evaluated only for nighttime against ground observations and against the Sun and Pinker split-window (SP-SW) algorithm. The ground observations used are from the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program (ARM) Central Facility, Southern Great Plains site (April 1997–March 1998); from five Surface Radiation Budget Network (SURFRAD) stations (1996–2000); and from the Oklahoma Mesonet. The independent algorithms used for comparison include the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service operational method and the following split-window algorithms: that of , that of , two versions of that of , that of , two versions of that of , that of and others, the generalized split-window algorithm as described by Becker and Li and by Wan and Dozier, and the Becker and Li algorithm with water vapor correction. The evaluation against the ARM and SURFRAD observations indicates that the LST retrievals from the SP-SW algorithm are in closer agreement with the ground observations than are the other algorithms tested. When evaluated against observations from the Oklahoma Mesonet, the triple-window algorithm is found to perform better than the split-window algorithm during nighttime.

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Chuan Li Jiang, Lu Anne Thompson, Kathryn A. Kelly, and Meghan F. Cronin

Abstract

The roles of intraseasonal Kelvin waves and tropical instability waves (TIWs) in the intraseasonal and low-frequency mixed-layer temperature budget were examined in an isopycnal ocean model forced by QuikSCAT winds from 2000 to 2004. Correlations between temperature tendency and other terms of the intraseasonal budget compare well with previous results using Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO) observations: the net heat flux has the largest correlation in the western Pacific and zonal advection has the largest correlation in the central Pacific. In the central Pacific, the intraseasonal variations in zonal advection were due to both the zonal background velocity acting on the Kelvin wave temperature anomaly and the Kelvin wave’s anomalous velocity acting on the background temperature. In the eastern Pacific, three of the four temperature budget terms have comparable correlations. In particular, the vertical processes acting on the shallow thermocline cause large SST anomalies in phase with the intraseasonal thermocline anomalies.

On intraseasonal time scales, the influence of individual composite upwelling and downwelling Kelvin waves cancel each other. However, because the intraseasonal SST anomalies increase to the east, a zonal gradient of SST is generated that is in phase with intraseasonal zonal velocity. Consequently, heat advection by the Kelvin waves rectifies into lower frequencies in the eastern Pacific. Rectification resulting from TIWs was also seen. The prevalence of intraseasonal Kelvin waves and the zonal structure of intraseasonal SST from 2002 to early 2004 suggested that they might be important in setting the eastern Pacific SST on interannual time scales.

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Kingtse C. Mo, Li-Chuan Chen, Shraddhanand Shukla, Theodore J. Bohn, and Dennis P. Lettenmaier

Abstract

The Environmental Modeling Center (EMC) at the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) and the University of Washington (UW) run parallel drought monitoring systems over the continental United States based on the North American Land Data Assimilation System (NLDAS). The NCEP system uses four land surface models (LSMs): Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC), Noah, Mosaic, and Sacramento (SAC). The UW system uses VIC, SAC, Noah, and the Community Land Model (CLM). An assessment of differences in drought characteristics using both systems for the period 1979–2008 was performed. For soil moisture (SM) percentiles and runoff indices, differences are relatively small among different LSMs in the same system. However, the ensemble mean differences between the two systems are large over the western United States—in some cases exceeding 20% for SM and runoff percentile differences. These differences are most apparent after 2002 when the NCEP system transitioned to use the real-time North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) and its precipitation gauge station data. (The UW system went into real-time operation in 2005.) Experiments were performed to address the sources of uncertainties. Comparison of simulations using the two systems with different model forcings indicates that the precipitation forcing differences are the primary source of the SM and runoff differences. While temperature, shortwave and longwave radiation, and wind speed forcing differences are also large after 2002, their contributions to SM and runoff differences are much smaller than precipitation.

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Huug van den Dool, Emily Becker, Li-Chuan Chen, and Qin Zhang

Abstract

An ordinary regression of predicted versus observed probabilities is presented as a direct and simple procedure for minimizing the Brier score (BS) and improving the attributes diagram. The main example applies to seasonal prediction of extratropical sea surface temperature by a global coupled numerical model. In connection with this calibration procedure, the probability anomaly correlation (PAC) is developed. This emphasizes the exact analogy of PAC and minimizing BS to the widely used anomaly correlation (AC) and minimizing mean squared error in physical units.

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Li-Chuan Chen, Huug van den Dool, Emily Becker, and Qin Zhang

Abstract

In this study, precipitation and temperature forecasts during El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events are examined in six models in the North American Multimodel Ensemble (NMME), including the CFSv2, CanCM3, CanCM4, the Forecast-Oriented Low Ocean Resolution (FLOR) version of GFDL CM2.5, GEOS-5, and CCSM4 models, by comparing the model-based ENSO composites to the observed. The composite analysis is conducted using the 1982–2010 hindcasts for each of the six models with selected ENSO episodes based on the seasonal oceanic Niño index just prior to the date the forecasts were initiated. Two types of composites are constructed over the North American continent: one based on mean precipitation and temperature anomalies and the other based on their probability of occurrence in a tercile-based system. The composites apply to monthly mean conditions in November, December, January, February, and March as well as to the 5-month aggregates representing the winter conditions. For anomaly composites, the anomaly correlation coefficient and root-mean-square error against the observed composites are used for the evaluation. For probability composites, a new probability anomaly correlation measure and a root-mean probability score are developed for the assessment. All NMME models predict ENSO precipitation patterns well during wintertime; however, some models have large discrepancies between the model temperature composites and the observed. The fidelity is greater for the multimodel ensemble as well as for the 5-month aggregates. February tends to have higher scores than other winter months. For anomaly composites, most models perform slightly better in predicting El Niño patterns than La Niña patterns. For probability composites, all models have superior performance in predicting ENSO precipitation patterns than temperature patterns.

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Jian Ma, Sara C. da Silva, Aaron Levine, Yang Yang, Paul Fuentes, Li Zhou, Chuan-Chi Tu, Jia Hu, I. M. Shiromani Jayawardena, Antti Pessi, and DaNa Carlis

A four-day educational cruise navigated around the leeward side of Oahu and Kauai to observe the thermodynamic and dynamic features of the trade-wind wakes of these small islands by using weather balloons and other onboard atmospheric and oceanographic sensors. This cruise was proposed, designed, and implemented completely by graduate students from the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology at the University of Hawaii. The data collected during the cruise show, for the first time, strong sea/land breezes during day/night and their thermal effects on the island wake. This cruise provided the students with a significant, valuable, and meaningful opportunity to experience the complete process of proposing and undertaking field observations, as well as analyzing data and writing a scientific article.

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