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B. E. Harden, I. A. Renfrew, and G. N. Petersen

Abstract

A climatology of barrier winds along the southeastern coast of Greenland is presented based on 20 yr of winter months (1989–2008) from the ECMWF Interim Reanalysis (ERA-Interim). Barrier wind events occur predominantly at two locations: Denmark Strait North (DSN; 67.7°N, 25.3°W) and Denmark Strait South (DSS; 64.9°N, 35.9°W). Events stronger than 20 m s−1 occur on average once per week during winter with considerable interannual variability—from 7 to 20 events per winter. The monthly frequency of barrier wind events correlates with the monthly North Atlantic oscillation (NAO) index with a correlation coefficient of 0.57 (0.31) at DSN (DSS). The associated total turbulent heat fluxes for barrier wind events (area averaged) were typically about 200 W m−2 with peak values of 400 W m−2 common in smaller regions. Area-averaged surface stresses were typically between 0.5 and 1 N m−2. Total precipitation rates were larger at DSS than DSN, both typically less than 1 mm h−1. The total turbulent heat fluxes were shown to have a large range as a result of a large range in 2-m air temperature. Two classes of barrier winds—warm and cold—were investigated and found to develop in different synoptic-scale situations. Warm barrier winds developed when there was a blocking high pressure over the Nordic seas, while cold barrier winds owed their presence to a train of cyclones channeling through the region.

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J. J. Shi, W-K. Tao, T. Matsui, R. Cifelli, A. Hou, S. Lang, A. Tokay, N-Y. Wang, C. Peters-Lidard, G. Skofronick-Jackson, S. Rutledge, and W. Petersen

Abstract

One of the grand challenges of the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission is to improve cold-season precipitation measurements in mid- and high latitudes through the use of high-frequency passive microwave radiometry. For this purpose, the Weather Research and Forecasting model (WRF) with the Goddard microphysics scheme is coupled with a Satellite Data Simulation Unit (WRF–SDSU) to facilitate snowfall retrieval algorithms over land by providing a virtual cloud library and corresponding microwave brightness temperature measurements consistent with the GPM Microwave Imager (GMI). When this study was initiated, there were no prior published results using WRF at cloud-resolving resolution (1 km or finer) for high-latitude snow events. This study tested the Goddard cloud microphysics scheme in WRF for two different snowstorm events (a lake-effect event and a synoptic event between 20 and 22 January 2007) that took place over the Canadian CloudSat/Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) Validation Project (C3VP) site in Ontario, Canada. The 24-h-accumulated snowfall predicted by WRF with the Goddard microphysics was comparable to that observed by the ground-based radar for both events. The model correctly predicted the onset and termination of both snow events at the Centre for Atmospheric Research Experiments site. The WRF simulations captured the basic cloud patterns as seen by the ground-based radar and satellite [i.e., CloudSat and Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit B (AMSU-B)] observations, including the snowband featured in the lake event. The results reveal that WRF was able to capture the cloud macrostructure reasonably well. Sensitivity tests utilizing both the “2ICE” (ice and snow) and “3ICE” (ice, snow, and graupel) options in the Goddard microphysical scheme were also conducted. The domain- and time-averaged cloud species profiles from the WRF simulations with both microphysical options show identical results (due to weak vertical velocities and therefore the absence of large precipitating liquid or high-density ice particles like graupel). Both microphysics options produced an appreciable amount of liquid water, and the model cloud liquid water profiles compared well to the in situ C3VP aircraft measurements when only grid points in the vicinity of the flight paths were considered. However, statistical comparisons between observed and simulated radar echoes show that the model tended to have a high bias of several reflectivity decibels (dBZ), which shows that additional research is needed to improve the current cloud microphysics scheme for the extremely cold environment in high latitudes, despite the fact that the simulated ice/liquid water contents may have been reasonable for both events. Future aircraft observations are also needed to verify the existence of graupel in high-latitude continental snow events.

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I. A. Renfrew, G. W. K. Moore, J. E. Kristjánsson, H. Ólafsson, S. L. Gray, G. N. Petersen, K. Bovis, P. R. A. Brown, I. Føre, T. Haine, C. Hay, E. A. Irvine, A Lawrence, T. Ohigashi, S. Outten, R. S. Pickart, M. Shapiro, D. Sproson, R. Swinbank, A. Woolley, and S. Zhang

Greenland has a major influence on the atmospheric circulation of the North Atlantic-western European region, dictating the location and strength of mesoscale weather systems around the coastal seas of Greenland and directly influencing synoptic-scale weather systems both locally and downstream over Europe. High winds associated with the local weather systems can induce large air-sea fluxes of heat, moisture, and momentum in a region that is critical to the overturning of the thermohaline circulation, and thus play a key role in controlling the coupled atmosphere-ocean climate system.

The Greenland Flow Distortion Experiment (GFDex) is investigating the role of Greenland in defining the structure and predictability of both local and downstream weather systems through a program of aircraft-based observation and numerical modeling. The GFDex observational program is centered upon an aircraft-based field campaign in February and March 2007, at the dawn of the International Polar Year. Twelve missions were flown with the Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements' BAe-146, based out of the Keflavik, Iceland. These included the first aircraft-based observations of a reverse tip jet event, the first aircraft-based observations of barrier winds off of southeast Greenland, two polar mesoscale cyclones, a dramatic case of lee cyclogenesis, and several targeted observation missions into areas where additional observations were predicted to improve forecasts.

In this overview of GFDex the background, aims and objectives, and facilities and logistics are described. A summary of the campaign is provided, along with some of the highlights of the experiment.

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M. P. Jensen, W. A. Petersen, A. Bansemer, N. Bharadwaj, L. D. Carey, D. J. Cecil, S. M. Collis, A. D. Del Genio, B. Dolan, J. Gerlach, S. E. Giangrande, A. Heymsfield, G. Heymsfield, P. Kollias, T. J. Lang, S. W. Nesbitt, A. Neumann, M. Poellot, S. A. Rutledge, M. Schwaller, A. Tokay, C. R. Williams, D. B. Wolff, S. Xie, and E. J. Zipser

Abstract

The Midlatitude Continental Convective Clouds Experiment (MC3E), a field program jointly led by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission, was conducted in south-central Oklahoma during April–May 2011. MC3E science objectives were motivated by the need to improve our understanding of midlatitude continental convective cloud system life cycles, microphysics, and GPM precipitation retrieval algorithms. To achieve these objectives, a multiscale surface- and aircraft-based in situ and remote sensing observing strategy was employed. A variety of cloud and precipitation events were sampled during MC3E, of which results from three deep convective events are highlighted. Vertical structure, air motions, precipitation drop size distributions, and ice properties were retrieved from multiwavelength radar, profiler, and aircraft observations for a mesoscale convective system (MCS) on 11 May. Aircraft observations for another MCS observed on 20 May were used to test agreement between observed radar reflectivities and those calculated with forward-modeled reflectivity and microwave brightness temperatures using in situ particle size distributions and ice water content. Multiplatform observations of a supercell that occurred on 23 May allowed for an integrated analysis of kinematic and microphysical interactions. A core updraft of 25 m s−1 supported growth of hail and large raindrops. Data collected during the MC3E campaign are being used in a number of current and ongoing research projects and are available through the ARM and NASA data archives.

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I. A. Renfrew, R. S. Pickart, K. Våge, G. W. K. Moore, T. J. Bracegirdle, A. D. Elvidge, E. Jeansson, T. Lachlan-Cope, L. T. McRaven, L. Papritz, J. Reuder, H. Sodemann, A. Terpstra, S. Waterman, H. Valdimarsson, A. Weiss, M. Almansi, F. Bahr, A. Brakstad, C. Barrell, J. K. Brooke, B. J. Brooks, I. M. Brooks, M. E. Brooks, E. M. Bruvik, C. Duscha, I. Fer, H. M. Golid, M. Hallerstig, I. Hessevik, J. Huang, L. Houghton, S. Jónsson, M. Jonassen, K. Jackson, K. Kvalsund, E. W. Kolstad, K. Konstali, J. Kristiansen, R. Ladkin, P. Lin, A. Macrander, A. Mitchell, H. Olafsson, A. Pacini, C. Payne, B. Palmason, M. D. Pérez-Hernández, A. K. Peterson, G. N. Petersen, M. N. Pisareva, J. O. Pope, A. Seidl, S. Semper, D. Sergeev, S. Skjelsvik, H. Søiland, D. Smith, M. A. Spall, T. Spengler, A. Touzeau, G. Tupper, Y. Weng, K. D. Williams, X. Yang, and S. Zhou

Abstract

The Iceland Greenland Seas Project (IGP) is a coordinated atmosphere–ocean research program investigating climate processes in the source region of the densest waters of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation. During February and March 2018, a field campaign was executed over the Iceland and southern Greenland Seas that utilized a range of observing platforms to investigate critical processes in the region, including a research vessel, a research aircraft, moorings, sea gliders, floats, and a meteorological buoy. A remarkable feature of the field campaign was the highly coordinated deployment of the observing platforms, whereby the research vessel and aircraft tracks were planned in concert to allow simultaneous sampling of the atmosphere, the ocean, and their interactions. This joint planning was supported by tailor-made convection-permitting weather forecasts and novel diagnostics from an ensemble prediction system. The scientific aims of the IGP are to characterize the atmospheric forcing and the ocean response of coupled processes; in particular, cold-air outbreaks in the vicinity of the marginal ice zone and their triggering of oceanic heat loss, and the role of freshwater in the generation of dense water masses. The campaign observed the life cycle of a long-lasting cold-air outbreak over the Iceland Sea and the development of a cold-air outbreak over the Greenland Sea. Repeated profiling revealed the immediate impact on the ocean, while a comprehensive hydrographic survey provided a rare picture of these subpolar seas in winter. A joint atmosphere–ocean approach is also being used in the analysis phase, with coupled observational analysis and coordinated numerical modeling activities underway.

Open access