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A. L. Hirsch, A. J. Pitman, and V. Haverd

Abstract

This paper presents a methodology for examining land–atmosphere coupling in a regional climate model by examining how the resistances to moisture transfer from the land to the atmosphere control the surface turbulent energy fluxes. Perturbations were applied individually to the aerodynamic resistance from the soil surface to the displacement height, the aerodynamic resistance from the displacement height to the reference level, the stomatal resistance, and the leaf boundary layer resistance. Only perturbations to the aerodynamic resistance from the soil surface to the displacement height systematically affected 2-m air temperature for the shrub and evergreen boreal forest plant functional types (PFTs). This was associated with this resistance systematically increasing the terrestrial and atmospheric components of the land–atmosphere coupling strength through changes in the partitioning of the surface energy balance. Perturbing the other resistances did contribute to changing the partitioning of the surface energy balance but did not lead to systematic changes in the 2-m air temperature. The results suggest that land–atmosphere coupling in the modeling system presented here acts mostly through the aerodynamic resistance from the soil surface to the displacement height, which is a function of both the friction velocity and vegetation height and cover. The results show that a resistance pathway framework can be used to examine how changes in the resistances affect the partitioning of the surface energy balance and how this subsequently influences surface climate through land–atmosphere coupling. Limitations in the present analysis include grid-scale rather than PFT-scale analysis, the exclusion of resistance dependencies, and the linearity assumption of how temperature responds to a resistance perturbation.

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Ruth Lorenz, Andrew J. Pitman, Annette L. Hirsch, and Jhan Srbinovsky

Abstract

Land–atmosphere coupling can strongly affect climate and climate extremes. Estimates of land–atmosphere coupling vary considerably between climate models, between different measures used to define coupling, and between the present and the future. The Australian Community Climate and Earth-System Simulator, version 1.3b (ACCESS1.3b), is used to derive and examine previously used measures of coupling strength. These include the GLACE-1 coupling measure derived on seasonal time scales; a similar measure defined using multiyear simulations; and four other measures of different complexity and data requirements, including measures that can be derived from standard model runs and observations. The ACCESS1.3b land–atmosphere coupling strength is comparable to other climate models. The coupling strength in the Southern Hemisphere summer is larger compared to the Northern Hemisphere summer and is dominated by a strong signal in the tropics and subtropics. The land–atmosphere coupling measures agree on the location of very strong land–atmosphere coupling but show differences in the spatial extent of these regions. However, the investigated measures show disagreement in weaker coupled regions, and some regions are only identified by a single measure as strongly coupled. In future projections the soil moisture trend is crucial in generating regions of strong land–atmosphere coupling, and the results suggest an expansion of coupling “hot spots.” It is concluded that great care needs to be taken in using different measures of coupling strength and shown that several measures that can be easily derived lead to inconsistent conclusions with more computationally expensive measures designed to measure coupling strength.

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A. S. Dennis, Alexander Koscielski, D. E. Cain, J. H. Hirsch, and P. L. Smith Jr.

Abstract

Magnetic tape records for radar observations of 80 moving one-hour test cases in a three-way randomized (no-seed, salt, silver iodide) cloud seeding experiment have been analyzed in terms of echoing areas and radar-estimated rainfall amounts. Individual test cases ranged from non-precipitating cumulus up to moderate thunderstorms with echoing areas exceeding 100 km2 and rainfall estimated at 3000 kT in 1 h.Out of numerous predictor variables, cloud depth is found to be the best single predictor for both echoing area and radar-estimated rainfall. The echoing area and radar-estimated rainfall are very closely correlated. A cube-root transformation of the radar-estimated rainfall improves the correlation between cloud depth and the radar-estimated rainfall for the no-seed (control) sample to 0.91. For clouds of a given depth, both the echoing area and radar-estimated rainfall are larger in seeded than in unseeded cases. The differences between no-seed and salt cases are of marginal statistical significance, but the differences in echoing area and rainfall between no-seed and silver iodide cases are significant at the 1% level. The indicated effects, expressed as a percentage of the echoing area or radar-estimated rainfall in the no-seed cases, decrease with cloud depth.A comparison of no-seed and AgI cases with the aid of a one-dimensional steady-state cloud model shows that AgI seeding may have led to increases in maximum cloud height averaging 600 m.It is concluded that seeding affected the precipitation in the Cloud Catcher test cases through both the microphysical processes and the cloud dynamics.

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A L. Hirsch, A. J. Pitman, J. Kala, R. Lorenz, and M. G. Donat

Abstract

The role of land–atmosphere coupling in modulating the impact of land-use change (LUC) on regional climate extremes remains uncertain. Using the Weather and Research Forecasting Model, this study combines the Global Land–Atmosphere Coupling Experiment with regional LUC to assess the combined impact of land–atmosphere coupling and LUC on simulated temperature extremes. The experiment is applied to an ensemble of planetary boundary layer (PBL) and cumulus parameterizations to determine the sensitivity of the results to model physics. Results show a consistent weakening in the soil moisture–maximum temperature coupling strength with LUC irrespective of the model physics. In contrast, temperature extremes show an asymmetric response to LUC dependent on the choice of PBL scheme, which is linked to differences in the parameterization of vertical transport. This influences convective precipitation, contributing a positive feedback on soil moisture and consequently on the partitioning of the surface turbulent fluxes. The results suggest that the impact of LUC on temperature extremes depends on the land–atmosphere coupling that in turn depends on the choice of PBL. Indeed, the sign of the temperature change in hot extremes resulting from LUC can be changed simply by altering the choice of PBL. The authors also note concerns over the metrics used to measure coupling strength that reflect changes in variance but may not respond to LUC-type perturbations.

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U. Löhnert, S. Kneifel, A. Battaglia, M. Hagen, L. Hirsch, and S. Crewell

The Towards an Optimal estimation based Snow Characterization Algorithm (TOSCA) project addresses possible novel measurement synergies for deriving snowfall microphysical parameters from the ground by combining the unique information obtained from a suite of ground-based sensors: microwave radiometers (22–150 GHz), 24- and 36-GHz radar, lidar, and in situ optical disdrometer methods. During the winter of 2008/09, such instruments were deployed at the Environmental Research Station Schneefernerhaus (UFS; at 2650 m MSL) at the Zugspitze Mountain in Germany for deriving microphysical properties of snowfall. This contribution gives an overview of the measurements carried out and discusses the potential for the developments of synergetic retrieval algorithms for deriving snow water content within the vertical column. The identification of potentially valuable ground-based instrument synergy for the retrieval of snowfall parameters from the surface will also be of importance for the development of new space-borne observational techniques. Microwave radiometer measurements show that brightness temperature enhancements at 90 and 150 GHz are correlated with the radar-derived snow water path, which is supported by radiative transfer simulations. The synergy of these measurements toward an improved snow mass content, however, needs to be augmented by knowledge on water vapor, supercooled liquid water, particle size distribution, and shape, thus making clear the necessity of synergetic remote sensing and in situ measurements. The radiometric measurements also reveal the very frequent presence of supercooled water within snow clouds and its importance to microphysical diffusion and aggregation growth of snow crystals. Analysis of the disdrometer measurements shows a “secondary aggregation peak” around −12° to −15°C, a temperature range where the Wegener–Bergeron–Findeisen process is most effective and typically dendrite snow crystals forms dominate.

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Alberto Troccoli, Karl Muller, Peter Coppin, Robert Davy, Chris Russell, and Annette L. Hirsch

Abstract

Accurate estimates of long-term linear trends of wind speed provide a useful indicator for circulation changes in the atmosphere and are invaluable for the planning and financing of sectors such as wind energy. Here a large number of wind observations over Australia and reanalysis products are analyzed to compute such trends. After a thorough quality control of the observations, it is found that the wind speed trends for 1975–2006 and 1989–2006 over Australia are sensitive to the height of the station: they are largely negative for the 2-m data but are predominantly positive for the 10-m data. The mean relative trend at 2 m is −0.10 ± 0.03% yr−1 (−0.36 ± 0.04% yr−1) for the 1975–2006 (1989–2006) period, whereas at 10 m it is 0.90 ± 0.03% yr−1 (0.69 ± 0.04% yr−1) for the 1975–2006 (1989–2006) period. Also, at 10 m light winds tend to increase more rapidly than the mean winds, whereas strong winds increase less rapidly than the mean winds; at 2 m the trends in both light and strong winds vary in line with the mean winds. It was found that a qualitative link could be established between the observed features in the linear trends and some atmospheric circulation indicators (mean sea level pressure, wind speed at 850 hPa, and geopotential at 850 hPa), particularly for the 10-m observations. Further, the magnitude of the trend is also sensitive to the period selected, being closer to zero when a very long period, 1948–2006, is considered. As a consequence, changes in the atmospheric circulation on climatic time scales appear unlikely.

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Annette L. Hirsch, Jatin Kala, Andy J. Pitman, Claire Carouge, Jason P. Evans, Vanessa Haverd, and David Mocko

Abstract

The authors use a sophisticated coupled land–atmosphere modeling system for a Southern Hemisphere subdomain centered over southeastern Australia to evaluate differences in simulation skill from two different land surface initialization approaches. The first approach uses equilibrated land surface states obtained from offline simulations of the land surface model, and the second uses land surface states obtained from reanalyses. The authors find that land surface initialization using prior offline simulations contribute to relative gains in subseasonal forecast skill. In particular, relative gains in forecast skill for temperature of 10%–20% within the first 30 days of the forecast can be attributed to the land surface initialization method using offline states. For precipitation there is no distinct preference for the land surface initialization method, with limited gains in forecast skill irrespective of the lead time. The authors evaluated the asymmetry between maximum and minimum temperatures and found that maximum temperatures had the largest gains in relative forecast skill, exceeding 20% in some regions. These results were statistically significant at the 98% confidence level at up to 60 days into the forecast period. For minimum temperature, using reanalyses to initialize the land surface contributed to relative gains in forecast skill, reaching 40% in parts of the domain that were statistically significant at the 98% confidence level. The contrasting impact of the land surface initialization method between maximum and minimum temperature was associated with different soil moisture coupling mechanisms. Therefore, land surface initialization from prior offline simulations does improve predictability for temperature, particularly maximum temperature, but with less obvious improvements for precipitation and minimum temperature over southeastern Australia.

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Bruce A. Boe, Jeffrey L. Stith, Paul L. Smith, John H. Hirsch, John H. Helsdon Jr., Andrew G. Detwiler, Harold D. Orville, Brooks E. Mariner, Roger F. Reinking, Rebecca J. Meitín, and Rodger A. Brown

The North Dakota Thunderstorm Project was conducted in the Bismarck, North Dakota, area from 12 June through 22 July 1989. The project deployed Doppler radars, cloud physics aircraft, and supporting instrumentation to study a variety of aspects of convective clouds. These included transport and dispersion; entrainment; cloud-ice initiation and evolution; storm structure, dynamics, and kinematics; atmospheric chemistry; and electrification.

Of primary interest were tracer experiments that identified and tracked specific regions within evolving clouds as a means of investigating the transport, dispersion, and activation of ice-nucleating agents as well as studying basic transport and entrainment processes. Tracers included sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), carbon monoxide, ozone, radar chaff, and silver iodide.

Doppler radars were used to perform studies of all scales of convection, from first-echo cases to a mesoscale convective system. An especially interesting dual-Doppler study of two splitting thunderstorms has resulted.

The objectives of the various project experiments and the specific facilities employed are described. Project highlights and some preliminary results are also presented.

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Andreas Schäfler, George Craig, Heini Wernli, Philippe Arbogast, James D. Doyle, Ron McTaggart-Cowan, John Methven, Gwendal Rivière, Felix Ament, Maxi Boettcher, Martina Bramberger, Quitterie Cazenave, Richard Cotton, Susanne Crewell, Julien Delanoë, Andreas Dörnbrack, André Ehrlich, Florian Ewald, Andreas Fix, Christian M. Grams, Suzanne L. Gray, Hans Grob, Silke Groß, Martin Hagen, Ben Harvey, Lutz Hirsch, Marek Jacob, Tobias Kölling, Heike Konow, Christian Lemmerz, Oliver Lux, Linus Magnusson, Bernhard Mayer, Mario Mech, Richard Moore, Jacques Pelon, Julian Quinting, Stephan Rahm, Markus Rapp, Marc Rautenhaus, Oliver Reitebuch, Carolyn A. Reynolds, Harald Sodemann, Thomas Spengler, Geraint Vaughan, Manfred Wendisch, Martin Wirth, Benjamin Witschas, Kevin Wolf, and Tobias Zinner

Abstract

The North Atlantic Waveguide and Downstream Impact Experiment (NAWDEX) explored the impact of diabatic processes on disturbances of the jet stream and their influence on downstream high-impact weather through the deployment of four research aircraft, each with a sophisticated set of remote sensing and in situ instruments, and coordinated with a suite of ground-based measurements. A total of 49 research flights were performed, including, for the first time, coordinated flights of the four aircraft: the German High Altitude and Long Range Research Aircraft (HALO), the Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) Dassault Falcon 20, the French Service des Avions Français Instrumentés pour la Recherche en Environnement (SAFIRE) Falcon 20, and the British Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements (FAAM) BAe 146. The observation period from 17 September to 22 October 2016 with frequently occurring extratropical and tropical cyclones was ideal for investigating midlatitude weather over the North Atlantic. NAWDEX featured three sequences of upstream triggers of waveguide disturbances, as well as their dynamic interaction with the jet stream, subsequent development, and eventual downstream weather impact on Europe. Examples are presented to highlight the wealth of phenomena that were sampled, the comprehensive coverage, and the multifaceted nature of the measurements. This unique dataset forms the basis for future case studies and detailed evaluations of weather and climate predictions to improve our understanding of diabatic influences on Rossby waves and the downstream impacts of weather systems affecting Europe.

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