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Donald C. Thompson and D. P. Keily

Abstract

Preliminary results are presented of laboratory studies of the heat balance in rocketsonde semiconductor thermometers. The so-called dissipation constant of rocketsonde thermistors is a marked function of altitude above about 45 km. At high altitudes also, the temperature rise in the thermistor due to solar radiation is strongly dependent upon the radiation absorbed by the lead wires as well as by the beam proper. Speed of response is found to be dependent upon the convective heat transfer of the leads as well as of the thermistor bead.

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C. J. Thompson and D. S. Battisti

Abstract

Singular vector analysis and Floquet analysis are carried out on a linearized variant of the Zebiak–Cane atmosphere–ocean model of El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), hereinafter called the nominal model. The Floquet analysis shows that the system has a single unstable mode. This mode has a shape and frequency similar to ENSO and is well described by delayed oscillator physics. Singular vector analysis shows two interesting features. (i) For any starting month and time period of optimization the singular vector is shaped like one of two nearly orthogonal patterns. These two patterns correspond approximately to the real and imaginary parts of the adjoint of the ENSO mode for the time-invariant basic-state version of the system that was calculated in previous work. (ii) Contour plots of the singular values as a function of starting month and period of optimization show a ridge along end times around December. This result along with a study of the time evolution of the associated singular vectors shows that the growth of the singular vectors has a strong tendency to peak in the boreal winter. For the case of a stochastically perturbed ENSO model, this result indicates that the annual cycle in the basic state of the ocean is sufficient to produce strong phase locking of ENSO to the annual cycle; it is not necessary to invoke either nonlinearity or an annual cycle in the structure of the noise.

The structures of the ENSO mode, of the optimal vectors, and of the phase locking to the annual cycle are robust to a wide range of values for the following parameters: the coupling strength, the ocean mechanical damping, and the reflection efficiency of Rossby waves that are incident on the western boundary. Four variant models were formed from the nominal coupled model by changing the aforementioned parameters in such a way as to (i) make the model linearly stable and (ii) affect the ratio of optimal transient growth to the amplitude of the first Floquet multiplier (i.e., the decay rate of the ENSO mode). Each of these four models is linearly stable to perturbations but is shown to support realistic ENSO variability via transient growth for plausible values of stochastic forcing. For values of these parameters that are supported by observations and theory, these results show the coupled system to be linearly stable and that ENSO is the result of transient growth. Supporting evidence is found in a companion paper.

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C. J. Thompson and D. S. Battisti

Abstract

In this study the behavior of a linear, intermediate model of ENSO is examined under stochastic forcing. The model was developed in a companion paper (Part I) and is derived from the Zebiak–Cane ENSO model. Four variants of the model are used whose stabilities range from slightly damped to moderately damped. Each model is run as a simulation while being perturbed by noise that is uncorrelated (white) in space and time. The statistics of the model output show the moderately damped models to be more realistic than the slightly damped models. The moderately damped models have power spectra that are quantitatively quite similar to observations, and a seasonal pattern of variance that is qualitatively similar to observations. All models produce ENSOs that are phase locked to the annual cycle, and all display the “spring barrier” characteristic in their autocorrelation patterns, though in the models this “barrier” occurs during the summer and is less intense than in the observations (inclusion of nonlinear effects is shown to partially remedy this deficiency). The more realistic models also show a decadal variability in the lagged autocorrelation pattern that is qualitatively similar to observations.

Analysis of the models shows that the greatest part of the variability comes from perturbations that project onto the first singular vector, which then grow rapidly into the ENSO mode. Essentially, the model output represents many instances of the ENSO mode, with random phase and amplitude, stimulated by the noise through the optimal transient growth of the singular vectors.

The limit of predictability for each model is calculated and it is shown that the more realistic (moderately damped) models have worse potential predictability (9–15 months) than the deterministic chaotic models that have been studied widely in the literature. The predictability limits are strongly correlated with the stability of the models’ ENSO mode—the more highly damped models having much shorter limits of predictability. A comparison of the two most realistic models shows that even though these models have similar statistics, they have very different predictability limits. The models have a strong seasonal dependence to their predictability limits.

The results of this study (with the companion paper) suggest that the linear, stable dynamical model of ENSO is indeed a plausible hypothesis for the observed ENSO. With very reasonable levels of stochastic forcing, the model produces realistic levels of variance, has a realistic spectrum, and qualitatively reproduces the observed seasonal pattern of variance, the autocorrelation pattern, and the ENSO-like decadal variability.

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1st. Lt. Philip D. Thompson, A. C.
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C. E. Dorman, D. P. Rogers, W. Nuss, and W. T. Thompson

Abstract

An instrumented C-130 aircraft flew over water around Point Sur, California, on 17 June 1996 under strong northwest wind conditions and a strong marine inversion. Patterns were flown from 30- to 1200-m elevation and up to 120 km offshore. Nearshore, marine air accelerated past Point Sur, reaching a surface maximum of 17 m s−1 in the lee. Winds measured over water in and above the marine layer were alongshore with no significant cross-shore flow. Sea level pressure, 10-m air temperature, and air temperature inversion base generally decreased toward the coast and were an absolute minimum just downcoast of the wind speed maximum. The sea surface temperature also decreased toward the coast, but was an absolute minimum directly off Point Sur. The near-coast, air temperature inversion base height was 400 m north of Point Sur, decreased to a minimum of 50 m in the lee of Point Sur, then increased farther to the south. Wind speeds were at a maximum centered along the air temperature inversion base; the fastest was 27 m s−1 in the lee of Point Sur.

Using a Froude number calculation that includes the lower half of the capping layer, the marine layer in the area is determined to have been supercritical. Most of the marine layer had Froude numbers between 1.0 and 2.0 with the extreme range of 0.8–2.8. Temperatures in the air temperature inversion in the lee were substantially greater than elsewhere, modifying the surface pressure gradient. The overall structure was a hydraulic supercritical expansion fan in the lee of Point Sur under the influence of rotation and surface friction.

The Naval Research Laboratory nonhydrostatic Coupled Ocean/Atmosphere Mesoscale Prediction System (COAMPS) indicated a broad, supercritical marine boundary layer moving to the south along central California and Point Sur during the aircraft flight. The marine boundary layer thinned and accelerated into the lee of Point Sur, which was the site of the fastest sea level wind speed along central California. Isotherms dip and speeds decreased in the lee of Point Sur in the capping inversion well above the marine layer. COAMPS forecasted a compression shock wave initiating off the upwind side of the topography behind Point Sur and other coastal points to the north. Evidence from the model and the aircraft supports the existence of an oblique hydraulic jump on the north side of Point Sur.

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Jonathan M. Garner, William C. Iwasko, Tyler D. Jewel, Richard L. Thompson, and Bryan T. Smith

Abstract

A dataset maintained by the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) of 6300 tornado events from 2009–2015, consisting of radar-identified convective modes and near-storm environmental information obtained from Rapid Update Cycle and Rapid Refresh model analysis grids, has been augmented with additional radar information related to the low-level mesocyclones associated with tornado longevity, path-length, and width. All EF2–EF5 tornadoes, in addition to randomly selected EF0–EF1 tornadoes, were extracted from the SPC dataset, which yielded 1268 events for inclusion in the current study. Analysis of that data revealed similar values of the effective-layer significant tornado parameter for the longest-lived (60+ min) tornadic circulations, longest-tracked (≥ 68 km) tornadoes, and widest tornadoes (≥ 1.2 km). However, the widest tornadoes occurring west of –94° longitude were associated with larger mean-layer convective available potential energy, storm-top divergence, and low-level rotational velocity. Furthermore, wide tornadoes occurred when low-level winds were out of the southeast resulting in large low-level hodograph curvature and near-surface horizontal vorticity that was more purely streamwise compared to long-lived and long-tracked events. On the other hand, tornado path-length and longevity were maximized with eastward migrating synoptic-scale cyclones associated with strong southwesterly wind profiles through much of the troposphere, fast storm motions, large values of bulk wind difference and storm-relative helicity, and lower buoyancy.

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EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE, Robert J. Serafin, Richard D. Rosen, James F. Kimpel, George L. Frederick Jr., Anne Thompson, Mary M. Glackin, Kenneth C. Spengler, and Ronald D. McPherson
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R. A Anthes, P. A Bernhardt, Y. Chen, L. Cucurull, K. F. Dymond, D. Ector, S. B. Healy, S.-P. Ho, D. C Hunt, Y.-H. Kuo, H. Liu, K. Manning, C. McCormick, T. K. Meehan, W J. Randel, C. Rocken, W S. Schreiner, S. V. Sokolovskiy, S. Syndergaard, D. C. Thompson, K. E. Trenberth, T.-K. Wee, N. L. Yen, and Z Zeng

The radio occultation (RO) technique, which makes use of radio signals transmitted by the global positioning system (GPS) satellites, has emerged as a powerful and relatively inexpensive approach for sounding the global atmosphere with high precision, accuracy, and vertical resolution in all weather and over both land and ocean. On 15 April 2006, the joint Taiwan-U.S. Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere, and Climate (COSMIC)/Formosa Satellite Mission 3 (COSMIC/FORMOSAT-3, hereafter COSMIC) mission, a constellation of six microsatellites, was launched into a 512-km orbit. After launch the satellites were gradually deployed to their final orbits at 800 km, a process that took about 17 months. During the early weeks of the deployment, the satellites were spaced closely, offering a unique opportunity to verify the high precision of RO measurements. As of September 2007, COSMIC is providing about 2000 RO soundings per day to support the research and operational communities. COSMIC RO data are of better quality than those from the previous missions and penetrate much farther down into the troposphere; 70%–90% of the soundings reach to within 1 km of the surface on a global basis. The data are having a positive impact on operational global weather forecast models.

With the ability to penetrate deep into the lower troposphere using an advanced open-loop tracking technique, the COSMIC RO instruments can observe the structure of the tropical atmospheric boundary layer. The value of RO for climate monitoring and research is demonstrated by the precise and consistent observations between different instruments, platforms, and missions. COSMIC observations are capable of intercalibrating microwave measurements from the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU) on different satellites. Finally, unique and useful observations of the ionosphere are being obtained using the RO receiver and two other instruments on the COSMIC satellites, the tiny ionosphere photometer (TIP) and the tri-band beacon.

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H. J. S. Fernando, E. R. Pardyjak, S. Di Sabatino, F. K. Chow, S. F. J. De Wekker, S. W. Hoch, J. Hacker, J. C. Pace, T. Pratt, Z. Pu, W. J. Steenburgh, C. D. Whiteman, Y. Wang, D. Zajic, B. Balsley, R. Dimitrova, G. D. Emmitt, C. W. Higgins, J. C. R. Hunt, J. C. Knievel, D. Lawrence, Y. Liu, D. F. Nadeau, E. Kit, B. W. Blomquist, P. Conry, R. S. Coppersmith, E. Creegan, M. Felton, A. Grachev, N. Gunawardena, C. Hang, C. M. Hocut, G. Huynh, M. E. Jeglum, D. Jensen, V. Kulandaivelu, M. Lehner, L. S. Leo, D. Liberzon, J. D. Massey, K. McEnerney, S. Pal, T. Price, M. Sghiatti, Z. Silver, M. Thompson, H. Zhang, and T. Zsedrovits

Abstract

Emerging application areas such as air pollution in megacities, wind energy, urban security, and operation of unmanned aerial vehicles have intensified scientific and societal interest in mountain meteorology. To address scientific needs and help improve the prediction of mountain weather, the U.S. Department of Defense has funded a research effort—the Mountain Terrain Atmospheric Modeling and Observations (MATERHORN) Program—that draws the expertise of a multidisciplinary, multi-institutional, and multinational group of researchers. The program has four principal thrusts, encompassing modeling, experimental, technology, and parameterization components, directed at diagnosing model deficiencies and critical knowledge gaps, conducting experimental studies, and developing tools for model improvements. The access to the Granite Mountain Atmospheric Sciences Testbed of the U.S. Army Dugway Proving Ground, as well as to a suite of conventional and novel high-end airborne and surface measurement platforms, has provided an unprecedented opportunity to investigate phenomena of time scales from a few seconds to a few days, covering spatial extents of tens of kilometers down to millimeters. This article provides an overview of the MATERHORN and a glimpse at its initial findings. Orographic forcing creates a multitude of time-dependent submesoscale phenomena that contribute to the variability of mountain weather at mesoscale. The nexus of predictions by mesoscale model ensembles and observations are described, identifying opportunities for further improvements in mountain weather forecasting.

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Ariel E. Cohen, Richard L. Thompson, Steven M. Cavallo, Roger Edwards, Steven J. Weiss, John A. Hart, Israel L. Jirak, William F. Bunting, Jaret W. Rogers, Steven F. Piltz, Alan E. Gerard, Andrew D. Moore, Daniel J. Cornish, Alexander C. Boothe, and Joel B. Cohen

Abstract

During the 2014–15 academic year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center (SPC) and the University of Oklahoma (OU) School of Meteorology jointly created the first SPC-led course at OU focused on connecting traditional theory taught in the academic curriculum with operational meteorology. This class, “Applications of Meteorological Theory to Severe-Thunderstorm Forecasting,” began in 2015. From 2015 through 2017, this spring–semester course has engaged 56 students in theoretical skills and related hands-on weather analysis and forecasting applications, taught by over a dozen meteorologists from the SPC, the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory, and the NOAA National Weather Service Forecast Offices. Following introductory material, which addresses many theoretical principles relevant to operational meteorology, numerous presentations and hands-on activities focused on instructors’ areas of expertise are provided to students. Topics include the following: storm-induced perturbation pressure gradients and their enhancement to supercells, tornadogenesis, tropical cyclone tornadoes, severe wind forecasting, surface and upper-air analyses and their interpretation, and forecast decision-making. This collaborative approach has strengthened bonds between meteorologists in operations, research, and academia, while introducing OU meteorology students to the vast array of severe thunderstorm forecast challenges, state-of-the-art operational and research tools, communication of high-impact weather information, and teamwork skills. The methods of collaborative instruction and experiential education have been found to strengthen both operational–academic relationships and students’ appreciation of the intricacies of severe thunderstorm forecasting, as detailed in this article.

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