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Jainn J. Shi, Simon W. Chang, Teddy R. Holt, Timothy F. Hogan, and Douglas L. Westphal

Abstract

In support of the Department of Defense's Gulf War Illness study, the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) has performed global and mesoscale meteorological reanalyses to provide a quantitative atmospheric characterization of the Persian Gulf region during the period between 15 January and 15 March 1991. This paper presents a description of the mid- to late-winter synoptic conditions, mean statistical scores, and near-surface mean conditions of the Gulf War theater drawn from the 2-month reanalysis.

The reanalysis is conducted with the U.S. Navy's operational global and mesoscale analysis and prediction systems: the Navy Operational Global Atmospheric Prediction System (NOGAPS) and the Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere Mesoscale Prediction System (COAMPS). The synoptic conditions for the 2-month period can be characterized as fairly typical for the northeast monsoon season, with only one significant precipitation event affecting the Persian Gulf region.

A comparison of error statistics to those from other mesoscale models with similar resolution covering complex terrains (though in different geographic locations) is performed. Results indicate similar if not smaller error statistics for the current study even though this 2-month reanalysis is conducted in an extremely data-sparse area, lending credence to the reanalysis dataset.

The mean near-surface conditions indicate that variability in the wind and temperature fields arises mainly because of the differential diurnal processes in the region characterized by complex surface characteristics and terrain height. The surface wind over lower elevation, interior, land regions is mostly light and variable, especially in the nocturnal surface layer. The strong signature of diurnal variation of sea–land as well as lake–land circulation is apparent, with convergence over the water during the night and divergence during the day. Likewise, the boundary layer is thus strongly modulated by the diurnal cycle near the surface. The low mean PBL height and light mean winds combine to yield very low ventilation efficiency over the Saudi and Iraqi plains.

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Simon W. Chang, Randall J. Alliss, Sethu Raman, and Jainn-Jong Shi

Abstract

Fields of rainfall rates, integrated water vapor (IWV), and marine surface wind speeds retrieved by the Special Sensor Microwave/Imager (SSM/I) during the intensive observational period 4 on 4 January 1989 of the Experiment on Rapidly Intensifying Cyclones over the Atlantic (ERICA) were analyzed. Subjectively analyzed and model-simulated frontal structures were used to examine the spatial relationship of the SSM/I observed fields to the rapidly intensifying storm and the associated fronts. Qualitative and quantitative comparisons of SSM/I retrievals with GOES imagery, conventional observations, and results produced from the Naval Research Laboratory's (NRL) limited-area numerical model were also made.

SSM/I rainfall was found along the cold and warm fronts, with heavy precipitation within frontal bands. The spatial pattern and characteristics of SSM/I precipitation closely resembled those simulated by the model. Both the warm and the cold front were found to be located near the area of the strongest gradient in IWV. In the warm sector, areas of IWV greater than 40 mm were found, an amount supported by model simulations. Both SSM/I rain rate and IWV distribution were found to be useful in locating the cold and warm fronts. There was good agreement on the relationship of frontal locations to the precipitation patterns and IWV gradients. Most of the high-wind area near the storm center was obscured by clouds for marine surface wind retrieval. SSM/I-retrieved marine surface winds outside the cloud shield (flag 0) were compared to ship- and buoy-reported winds. It was found that the retrieved wind estimates were within 0–3 m s−1 of in situ observation over areas of slow wind shifts. The errors became larger in regions of rapid wind shifts.

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Zhining Tao, Scott A. Braun, Jainn J. Shi, Mian Chin, Dongchul Kim, Toshihisa Matsui, and Christa D. Peters-Lidard

Abstract

A Saharan air layer (SAL) event associated with a nondeveloping African easterly wave (AEW) over the main development region of the eastern Atlantic was sampled by the NASA Global Hawk aircraft on 24–25 August 2013 during the NASA Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel (HS3) campaign and was simulated with the NASA Unified Weather Research and Forecasting (NU-WRF) Model. Airborne, ground-based, and spaceborne measurements were used to evaluate the model performance. The microphysical and radiative effects of dust and other aerosols on the SAL structure and environment were investigated with the factor-separation method. The results indicate that relative to a simulation without dust–radiative and microphysical impacts, Saharan dust and other aerosols heated the SAL air mainly through shortwave heating by the direct aerosol–radiation (AR) effect, resulting in a warmer (up to 0.6 K) and drier (up to 5% RH reduction) SAL and maintaining the strong temperature inversion at the base of the SAL in the presence of predominant longwave cooling. Radiative heating of the dust accentuated a vertical circulation within the dust layer, in which air rose (sank) in the northern (southern) portions of the dust layer. Furthermore, above and to the south of the dust layer, both the microphysical and radiative impacts of dust tended to counter the vertical motions associated with the Hadley circulation, causing a small weakening and southward shift of convection in the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) and reduced anvil cloud to the north. Changes in moisture and cloud/precipitation hydrometeors were largely driven by the dust-induced changes in vertical motion. Dust strengthened the African easterly jet by up to ~1 m s−1 at the southern edge of the jet, primarily through the AR effect, and produced modest increases in vertical wind shear within and in the vicinity of the dust layer. These modulations of the SAL and AEW environment clearly contributed to the nondevelopment of this AEW.

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Francisco J. Tapiador, Wei-Kuo Tao, Jainn Jong Shi, Carlos F. Angelis, Miguel A. Martinez, Cecilia Marcos, Antonio Rodriguez, and Arthur Hou

Abstract

Ensembles of numerical model forecasts are of interest to operational early warning forecasters as the spread of the ensemble provides an indication of the uncertainty of the alerts, and the mean value is deemed to outperform the forecasts of the individual models. This paper explores two ensembles on a severe weather episode in Spain, aiming to ascertain the relative usefulness of each one. One ensemble uses sensible choices of physical parameterizations (precipitation microphysics, land surface physics, and cumulus physics) while the other follows a perturbed initial conditions approach. The results show that, depending on the parameterizations, large differences can be expected in terms of storm location, spatial structure of the precipitation field, and rain intensity. It is also found that the spread of the perturbed initial conditions ensemble is smaller than the dispersion due to physical parameterizations. This confirms that in severe weather situations operational forecasts should address moist physics deficiencies to realize the full benefits of the ensemble approach, in addition to optimizing initial conditions. The results also provide insights into differences in simulations arising from ensembles of weather models using several combinations of different physical parameterizations.

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