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D. L. A. Flack, P. A. Clark, C.E. Halliwell, N. M. Roberts, S. L. Gray, R. S. Plant, and H. W. Lean

Abstract

Convection-permitting forecasts have improved the forecasts of flooding from intense rainfall. However, probabilistic forecasts, generally based upon ensemble methods, are essential to quantify forecast uncertainty. This leads to a need to understand how different aspects of the model system affect forecast behaviour. We compare the uncertainty due to initial and boundary condition (IBC) perturbations and boundary-layer turbulence using a super ensemble (SE) created to determine the influence of 12 IBC perturbations vs. 12 stochastic boundary-layer (SBL) perturbations constructed using a physically-based SBL scheme. We consider two mesoscale extreme precipitation events. For each we run a 144–member SE. The SEs are analysed to consider the growth of differences between the simulations, and the spatial structure and scales of those differences. The SBL perturbations rapidly spin-up, typically within 12 h of precipitation commencing. The SBL perturbations eventually produce spread that is not statistically different from the spread produced by the IBC perturbations, though in one case there is initially increased spread from the IBC perturbations. Spatially, the growth from IBC occurs on larger scales than that produced by the SBL perturbations (typically by an order of magnitude). However, analysis across multiple scales shows that the SBL scheme produces a random relocation of precipitation up to the scale at which the ensemble members agree with each other. This implies that statistical post-processing can be used instead of running larger ensembles. Use of these statistical post-processing techniques could lead to more reliable probabilistic forecasts of convective events and their associated hazards.

Open access
Peter Knippertz, Hugh Coe, J. Christine Chiu, Mat J. Evans, Andreas H. Fink, Norbert Kalthoff, Catherine Liousse, Celine Mari, Richard P. Allan, Barbara Brooks, Sylvester Danour, Cyrille Flamant, Oluwagbemiga O. Jegede, Fabienne Lohou, and John H. Marsham

Abstract

Massive economic and population growth, and urbanization are expected to lead to a tripling of anthropogenic emissions in southern West Africa (SWA) between 2000 and 2030. However, the impacts of this on human health, ecosystems, food security, and the regional climate are largely unknown. An integrated assessment is challenging due to (a) a superposition of regional effects with global climate change; (b) a strong dependence on the variable West African monsoon; (c) incomplete scientific understanding of interactions between emissions, clouds, radiation, precipitation, and regional circulations; and (d) a lack of observations. This article provides an overview of the DACCIWA (Dynamics–Aerosol–Chemistry–Cloud Interactions in West Africa) project. DACCIWA will conduct extensive fieldwork in SWA to collect high-quality observations, spanning the entire process chain from surface-based natural and anthropogenic emissions to impacts on health, ecosystems, and climate. Combining the resulting benchmark dataset with a wide range of modeling activities will allow (a) assessment of relevant physical, chemical, and biological processes; (b) improvement of the monitoring of climate and atmospheric composition from space; and (c) development of the next generation of weather and climate models capable of representing coupled cloud–aerosol interactions. The latter will ultimately contribute to reduce uncertainties in climate predictions. DACCIWA collaborates closely with operational centers, international programs, policymakers, and users to actively guide sustainable future planning for West Africa. It is hoped that some of DACCIWA’s scientific findings and technical developments will be applicable to other monsoon regions.

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C. R. Mechoso, R. Wood, R. Weller, C. S. Bretherton, A. D. Clarke, H. Coe, C. Fairall, J. T. Farrar, G. Feingold, R. Garreaud, C. Grados, J. McWilliams, S. P. de Szoeke, S. E. Yuter, and P. Zuidema

The present paper describes the Variability of the American Monsoon Systems (VAMOS) Ocean–Cloud–Atmosphere–Land Study (VOCALS), an international research program focused on the improved understanding and modeling of the southeastern Pacific (SEP) climate system on diurnal to interannual time scales. In the framework of the SEP climate, VOCALS has two fundamental objectives: 1) improved simulations by coupled atmosphere–ocean general circulation models (CGCMs), with an emphasis on reducing systematic errors in the region; and 2) improved estimates of the indirect effects of aerosols on low clouds and climate, with an emphasis on the more precise quantification of those effects. VOCALS major scientific activities are outlined, and selected achievements are highlighted. Activities described include monitoring in the region, a large international field campaign (the VOCALS Regional Experiment), and two model assessments. The program has already produced significant advances in the understanding of major issues in the SEP: the coastal circulation and the diurnal cycle, the ocean heat budget, factors controlling precipitation and formation of pockets of open cells in stratocumulus decks, aerosol impacts on clouds, and estimation of the first aerosol indirect effect. The paper concludes with a brief presentation on VOCALS contributions to community capacity building before a summary of scientific findings and remaining questions.

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M. Wendisch, H. Coe, D. Baumgardner, J.-L. Brenguier, V. Dreiling, M. Fiebig, P. Formenti, M. Hermann, M. Krämer, Z. Levin, R. Maser, E. Mathieu, P. Nacass, K. Noone, S. Osborne, J. Schneider, L. Schütz, A. Schwarzenböck, F. Stratmann, and J. C. Wilson

Aircraft inlets connect airborne instruments for particle microphysical and chemical measurements with the ambient atmosphere. These inlets may bias the measurements due to their potential to enhance or remove certain particle size fractions in the sample. The aircraft body itself may disturb the ambient air streamlines and, hence, the particle sampling. Also, anisokinetic sampling and transmission losses within the sampling lines may cause the sampled aerosol to differ from the ambient aerosol. In addition, inlets may change the particle composition and size through the evaporation of water and other volatile materials due to compressibility effects or heat transfer. These problems have been discussed at an international workshop that was held at the Leibniz-Institute for Tropospheric Research (IfT) in Leipzig, Germany, on 12–13 April 2002. The discussions, conclusions, and recommendations from this workshop are summarized here.

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C. Flamant, P. Knippertz, A. H. Fink, A. Akpo, B. Brooks, C. J. Chiu, H. Coe, S. Danuor, M. Evans, O. Jegede, N. Kalthoff, A. Konaré, C. Liousse, F. Lohou, C. Mari, H. Schlager, A. Schwarzenboeck, B. Adler, L. Amekudzi, J. Aryee, M. Ayoola, A. M. Batenburg, G. Bessardon, S. Borrmann, J. Brito, K. Bower, F. Burnet, V. Catoire, A. Colomb, C. Denjean, K. Fosu-Amankwah, P. G. Hill, J. Lee, M. Lothon, M. Maranan, J. Marsham, R. Meynadier, J.-B. Ngamini, P. Rosenberg, D. Sauer, V. Smith, G. Stratmann, J. W. Taylor, C. Voigt, and V. Yoboué

Abstract

The European Union (EU)-funded project Dynamics–Aerosol–Chemistry–Cloud Interactions in West Africa (DACCIWA) investigates the relationship between weather, climate, and air pollution in southern West Africa—an area with rapid population growth, urbanization, and an increase in anthropogenic aerosol emissions. The air over this region contains a unique mixture of natural and anthropogenic gases, liquid droplets, and particles, emitted in an environment in which multilayer clouds frequently form. These exert a large influence on the local weather and climate, mainly owing to their impact on radiation, the surface energy balance, and thus the diurnal cycle of the atmospheric boundary layer.

In June and July 2016, DACCIWA organized a major international field campaign in Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin, and Nigeria. Three supersites in Kumasi, Savè, and Ile-Ife conducted permanent measurements and 15 intensive observation periods. Three European aircraft together flew 50 research flights between 27 June and 16 July 2016, for a total of 155 h. DACCIWA scientists launched weather balloons several times a day across the region (772 in total), measured urban emissions, and evaluated health data. The main objective was to build robust statistics of atmospheric composition, dynamics, and low-level cloud properties in various chemical landscapes to investigate their mutual interactions.

This article presents an overview of the DACCIWA field campaign activities as well as some first research highlights. The rich data obtained during the campaign will be made available to the scientific community and help to advance scientific understanding, modeling, and monitoring of the atmosphere over southern West Africa.

Open access
C. L. Reddington, K. S. Carslaw, P. Stier, N. Schutgens, H. Coe, D. Liu, J. Allan, J. Browse, K. J. Pringle, L. A. Lee, M. Yoshioka, J. S. Johnson, L. A. Regayre, D. V. Spracklen, G. W. Mann, A. Clarke, M. Hermann, S. Henning, H. Wex, T. B. Kristensen, W. R. Leaitch, U. Pöschl, D. Rose, M. O. Andreae, J. Schmale, Y. Kondo, N. Oshima, J. P. Schwarz, A. Nenes, B. Anderson, G. C. Roberts, J. R. Snider, C. Leck, P. K. Quinn, X. Chi, A. Ding, J. L. Jimenez, and Q. Zhang

Abstract

The largest uncertainty in the historical radiative forcing of climate is caused by changes in aerosol particles due to anthropogenic activity. Sophisticated aerosol microphysics processes have been included in many climate models in an effort to reduce the uncertainty. However, the models are very challenging to evaluate and constrain because they require extensive in situ measurements of the particle size distribution, number concentration, and chemical composition that are not available from global satellite observations. The Global Aerosol Synthesis and Science Project (GASSP) aims to improve the robustness of global aerosol models by combining new methodologies for quantifying model uncertainty, to create an extensive global dataset of aerosol in situ microphysical and chemical measurements, and to develop new ways to assess the uncertainty associated with comparing sparse point measurements with low-resolution models. GASSP has assembled over 45,000 hours of measurements from ships and aircraft as well as data from over 350 ground stations. The measurements have been harmonized into a standardized format that is easily used by modelers and nonspecialist users. Available measurements are extensive, but they are biased to polluted regions of the Northern Hemisphere, leaving large pristine regions and many continental areas poorly sampled. The aerosol radiative forcing uncertainty can be reduced using a rigorous model–data synthesis approach. Nevertheless, our research highlights significant remaining challenges because of the difficulty of constraining many interwoven model uncertainties simultaneously. Although the physical realism of global aerosol models still needs to be improved, the uncertainty in aerosol radiative forcing will be reduced most effectively by systematically and rigorously constraining the models using extensive syntheses of measurements.

Open access