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Mark A. Snyder
and
Lisa C. Sloan

Abstract

Regional climate models (RCMs) have improved our understanding of the effects of global climate change on specific regions. The need for realistic forcing has led to the use of fully coupled global climate models (GCMs) to produce boundary conditions for RCMs. The advantages of using fully coupled GCM output is that the global-scale interactions of all components of the climate system (ocean, sea ice, land surface, and atmosphere) are considered. This study uses an RCM, driven by a fully coupled GCM, to examine the climate of a region centered over California for the time periods 1980–99 and 2080–99. Statistically significant increases in mean monthly temperatures by up to 7°C are found for the entire state. Large changes in precipitation occur in northern California in February (increase of up to 4 mm day−1 or 30%) and March (decrease of up to 3 mm day−1 or 25%). However, in most months, precipitation changes between the cases were not statistically significant. Statistically significant decreases in snow accumulation of over 100 mm (50%) occur in some months. Temperature increases lead to decreases in snow accumulation that impact the hydrologic budget by shifting spring and summer runoff into the winter months, reinforcing results of other studies that used different models and driving conditions.

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Jason L. Bell
,
Lisa C. Sloan
, and
Mark A. Snyder

Abstract

In this study a regional climate model is employed to expand on modeling experiments of future climate change to address issues of 1) the timing and length of the growing season and 2) the frequency and intensity of extreme temperatures and precipitation. The study focuses on California as a climatically complex region that is vulnerable to changes in water supply and delivery. Statistically significant increases in daily minimum and maximum temperatures occur with a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. Increases in daily temperatures lead to increases in prolonged heat waves and length of the growing season. Changes in total and extreme precipitation vary depending upon geographic location.

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L. Mark Berliner
,
Zhan-Qian Lu
, and
Chris Snyder

Abstract

Suppose that one has the freedom to adapt the observational network by choosing the times and locations of observations. Which choices would yield the best analysis of the atmospheric state or the best subsequent forecast? Here, this problem of “adaptive observations” is formulated as a problem in statistical design. The statistical framework provides a rigorous mathematical statement of the adaptive observations problem and indicates where the uncertainty of the current analysis, the dynamics of error evolution, the form and errors of observations, and data assimilation each enter the calculation. The statistical formulation of the problem also makes clear the importance of the optimality criteria (for instance, one might choose to minimize the total error variance in a given forecast) and identifies approximations that make calculation of optimal solutions feasible in principle. Optimal solutions are discussed and interpreted for a variety of cases. Selected approaches to the adaptive observations problem found in the literature are reviewed and interpreted from the optimal statistical design viewpoint. In addition, a numerical example, using the 40-variable model of Lorenz and Emanuel, suggests that some other proposed approaches may often be close to the optimal solution, at least in this highly idealized model.

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Alexander Soloviev
,
Roger Lukas
,
Sharon DeCarlo
,
Jefrey Snyder
,
Anatoli Arjannikov
,
Vyacheslav Turenko
,
Mark Baker
, and
Dmitry Khlebnikov

Abstract

High-resolution probes mounted on the bow of the vessel at a 1.7-m depth in an undisturbed region ahead of the moving vessel were used for microstructure and turbulence measurements in the near-surface layer of the ocean during TOGA COARE. The probes measured temperature, conductivity, pressure, three-component fluctuation velocity, and two components of acceleration. Accumulation of large amounts of high-quality near-surface data poses a difficult challenge, and deployment from the bow of a ship, such as is done with these sensors, requires rugged, well-calibrated, and low-noise sensors. The heaving motion of the ship that causes the sensors to break through the surface requires data processing algorithms unique to this application. Due to the presence of surface waves and the associated pitching of the vessel, the bow probes “scanned” the near-surface layer of the ocean. Combining the bow sensor’s signals with the ship’s thermosalinograph pumping water from 3-m depth resulted in the near-surface dataset with both fine temporal/spatial resolution and high absolute accuracy. Contour plots calculated using the bow signals reveal the spatial structure of the diurnal thermocline and rain-formed halocline. The localization in narrow frequency bands of the vibrations of the bow sensors allows calculation of dissipation rates. The characteristics of the sensors and the data processing algorithms related to the periodic surface penetration by the sensors are discussed in this paper.

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Christopher Davis
,
Wei Wang
,
Shuyi S. Chen
,
Yongsheng Chen
,
Kristen Corbosiero
,
Mark DeMaria
,
Jimy Dudhia
,
Greg Holland
,
Joe Klemp
,
John Michalakes
,
Heather Reeves
,
Richard Rotunno
,
Chris Snyder
, and
Qingnong Xiao

Abstract

Real-time forecasts of five landfalling Atlantic hurricanes during 2005 using the Advanced Research Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) (ARW) Model at grid spacings of 12 and 4 km revealed performance generally competitive with, and occasionally superior to, other operational forecasts for storm position and intensity. Recurring errors include 1) excessive intensification prior to landfall, 2) insufficient momentum exchange with the surface, and 3) inability to capture rapid intensification when observed. To address these errors several augmentations of the basic community model have been designed and tested as part of what is termed the Advanced Hurricane WRF (AHW) model. Based on sensitivity simulations of Katrina, the inner-core structure, particularly the size of the eye, was found to be sensitive to model resolution and surface momentum exchange. The forecast of rapid intensification and the structure of convective bands in Katrina were not significantly improved until the grid spacing approached 1 km. Coupling the atmospheric model to a columnar, mixed layer ocean model eliminated much of the erroneous intensification of Katrina prior to landfall noted in the real-time forecast.

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David W. Pierce
,
Daniel R. Cayan
,
Tapash Das
,
Edwin P. Maurer
,
Norman L. Miller
,
Yan Bao
,
M. Kanamitsu
,
Kei Yoshimura
,
Mark A. Snyder
,
Lisa C. Sloan
,
Guido Franco
, and
Mary Tyree

Abstract

Climate model simulations disagree on whether future precipitation will increase or decrease over California, which has impeded efforts to anticipate and adapt to human-induced climate change. This disagreement is explored in terms of daily precipitation frequency and intensity. It is found that divergent model projections of changes in the incidence of rare heavy (>60 mm day−1) daily precipitation events explain much of the model disagreement on annual time scales, yet represent only 0.3% of precipitating days and 9% of annual precipitation volume. Of the 25 downscaled model projections examined here, 21 agree that precipitation frequency will decrease by the 2060s, with a mean reduction of 6–14 days yr−1. This reduces California's mean annual precipitation by about 5.7%. Partly offsetting this, 16 of the 25 projections agree that daily precipitation intensity will increase, which accounts for a model average 5.3% increase in annual precipitation. Between these conflicting tendencies, 12 projections show drier annual conditions by the 2060s and 13 show wetter. These results are obtained from 16 global general circulation models downscaled with different combinations of dynamical methods [Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF), Regional Spectral Model (RSM), and version 3 of the Regional Climate Model (RegCM3)] and statistical methods [bias correction with spatial disaggregation (BCSD) and bias correction with constructed analogs (BCCA)], although not all downscaling methods were applied to each global model. Model disagreements in the projected change in occurrence of the heaviest precipitation days (>60 mm day−1) account for the majority of disagreement in the projected change in annual precipitation, and occur preferentially over the Sierra Nevada and Northern California. When such events are excluded, nearly twice as many projections show drier future conditions.

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Linda O. Mearns
,
Melissa S. Bukovsky
,
Ruby Leung
,
Yun Qian
,
Ray Arritt
,
William Gutowski
,
Eugene S. Takle
,
Sébastien Biner
,
Daniel Caya
,
James Correia Jr.
,
Richard Jones
,
Lisa Sloan
, and
Mark Snyder
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Linda O. Mearns
,
Ray Arritt
,
Sébastien Biner
,
Melissa S. Bukovsky
,
Seth McGinnis
,
Stephan Sain
,
Daniel Caya
,
James Correia Jr.
,
Dave Flory
,
William Gutowski
,
Eugene S. Takle
,
Richard Jones
,
Ruby Leung
,
Wilfran Moufouma-Okia
,
Larry McDaniel
,
Ana M. B. Nunes
,
Yun Qian
,
John Roads
,
Lisa Sloan
, and
Mark Snyder

The North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program (NARCCAP) is an international effort designed to investigate the uncertainties in regional-scale projections of future climate and produce highresolution climate change scenarios using multiple regional climate models (RCMs) nested within atmosphere–ocean general circulation models (AOGCMs) forced with the Special Report on Emission Scenarios (SRES) A2 scenario, with a common domain covering the conterminous United States, northern Mexico, and most of Canada. The program also includes an evaluation component (phase I) wherein the participating RCMs, with a grid spacing of 50 km, are nested within 25 years of National Centers for Environmental Prediction–Department of Energy (NCEP–DOE) Reanalysis II.

This paper provides an overview of evaluations of the phase I domain-wide simulations focusing on monthly and seasonal temperature and precipitation, as well as more detailed investigation of four subregions. The overall quality of the simulations is determined, comparing the model performances with each other as well as with other regional model evaluations over North America. The metrics used herein do differentiate among the models but, as found in previous studies, it is not possible to determine a “best” model among them. The ensemble average of the six models does not perform best for all measures, as has been reported in a number of global climate model studies. The subset ensemble of the two models using spectral nudging is more often successful for domain-wide root-mean-square error (RMSE), especially for temperature. This evaluation phase of NARCCAP will inform later program elements concerning differentially weighting the models for use in producing robust regional probabilities of future climate change.

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William J. Gutowski Jr.
,
Raymond W. Arritt
,
Sho Kawazoe
,
David M. Flory
,
Eugene S. Takle
,
Sébastien Biner
,
Daniel Caya
,
Richard G. Jones
,
René Laprise
,
L. Ruby Leung
,
Linda O. Mearns
,
Wilfran Moufouma-Okia
,
Ana M. B. Nunes
,
Yun Qian
,
John O. Roads
,
Lisa C. Sloan
, and
Mark A. Snyder

Abstract

This paper analyzes the ability of the North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program (NARCCAP) ensemble of regional climate models to simulate extreme monthly precipitation and its supporting circulation for regions of North America, comparing 18 years of simulations driven by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP)–Department of Energy (DOE) reanalysis with observations. The analysis focuses on the wettest 10% of months during the cold half of the year (October–March), when it is assumed that resolved synoptic circulation governs precipitation. For a coastal California region where the precipitation is largely topographic, the models individually and collectively replicate well the monthly frequency of extremes, the amount of extreme precipitation, and the 500-hPa circulation anomaly associated with the extremes. The models also replicate very well the statistics of the interannual variability of occurrences of extremes. For an interior region containing the upper Mississippi River basin, where precipitation is more dependent on internally generated storms, the models agree with observations in both monthly frequency and magnitude, although not as closely as for coastal California. In addition, simulated circulation anomalies for extreme months are similar to those in observations. Each region has important seasonally varying precipitation processes that govern the occurrence of extremes in the observations, and the models appear to replicate well those variations.

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