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Paquita Zuidema, Julie Haggerty, Maria Cadeddu, Jorgen Jensen, Emiliano Orlandi, Mario Mech, J. Vivekanandan, and Zhien Wang

The cloudy, humid atmosphere remains our most important weather and climate forecasting challenge. Airborne remote sensors such as radars and lidars have revolutionized information on aerosol, moisture, cloud, and precipitation (liquid and ice) vertical structure, far increasing the information gathered from in situ measurements alone. In recognition, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has expanded its aircraft deployment resources to the remote sensors listed in Table 1. These also include a profiling microwave radiometer sensitive to the atmospheric temperature structure. However, microwave observations from which integrated water vapor and liquid water paths and free-tropospheric humidity profiles can be retrieved

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Stefan Kneifel, Stephanie Redl, Emiliano Orlandi, Ulrich Löhnert, Maria P. Cadeddu, David D. Turner, and Ming-Tang Chen


Microwave radiometers (MWR) are commonly used to quantify the amount of supercooled liquid water (SLW) in clouds; however, the accuracy of the SLW retrievals is limited by the poor knowledge of the SLW dielectric properties at microwave frequencies. Six liquid water permittivity models were compared with ground-based MWR observations between 31 and 225 GHz from sites in Greenland, the German Alps, and a low-mountain site; average cloud temperatures of observed thin cloud layers range from 0° to −33°C. A recently published method to derive ratios of liquid water opacity from different frequencies was employed in this analysis. These ratios are independent of liquid water path and equal to the ratio of α L at those frequencies that can be directly compared with the permittivity model predictions. The observed opacity ratios from all sites show highly consistent results that are generally within the range of model predictions; however, none of the models are able to approximate the observations over the entire frequency and temperature range. Findings in earlier published studies were used to select one specific model as a reference model for α L at 90 GHz; together with the observed opacity ratios, the temperature dependence of α L at 31.4, 52.28, 150, and 225 GHz was derived. The results reveal that two models fit the opacity ratio data better than the other four models, with one of the two models fitting the data better for frequencies below 90 GHz and the other for higher frequencies. These findings are relevant for SLW retrievals and radiative transfer in the 31–225-GHz frequency region.

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Françoise Guichard, Nicole Asencio, Christophe Peugeot, Olivier Bock, Jean-Luc Redelsperger, Xuefeng Cui, Matthew Garvert, Benjamin Lamptey, Emiliano Orlandi, Julia Sander, Federico Fierli, Miguel Angel Gaertner, Sarah C. Jones, Jean-Philippe Lafore, Andrew Morse, Mathieu Nuret, Aaron Boone, Gianpaolo Balsamo, Patricia de Rosnay, Bertrand Decharme, Philip P. Harris, and J.-C. Bergès


An evaluation of precipitation and evapotranspiration simulated by mesoscale models is carried out within the African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis (AMMA) program. Six models performed simulations of a mesoscale convective system (MCS) observed to cross part of West Africa in August 2005.

Initial and boundary conditions are found to significantly control the locations of rainfall at synoptic scales as simulated with either mesoscale or global models. When initialized and forced at their boundaries by the same analysis, all models forecast a westward-moving rainfall structure, as observed by satellite products. However, rainfall is also forecast at other locations where none was observed, and the nighttime northward propagation of rainfall is not well reproduced. There is a wide spread in the rainfall rates across simulations, but also among satellite products.

The range of simulated meridional fluctuations of evapotranspiration (E) appears reasonable, but E displays an overly strong zonal symmetry. Offline land surface modeling and surface energy budget considerations show that errors in the simulated E are not simply related to errors in the surface evaporative fraction, and involve the significant impact of cloud cover on the incoming surface shortwave flux.

The use of higher horizontal resolution (a few km) enhances the variability of precipitation, evapotranspiration, and precipitable water (PW) at the mesoscale. It also leads to a weakening of the daytime precipitation, less evapotranspiration, and smaller PW amounts. The simulated MCS propagates farther northward and somewhat faster within an overall drier atmosphere. These changes are associated with a strengthening of the links between PW and precipitation.

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