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The JET2000 Project: Aircraft Observations of the African Easterly Jet and African Easterly Waves

Aircraft Observations of the African Easterly Jet and African Easterly Waves

C. D. Thorncroft, D. J. Parker, R. R. Burton, M. Diop, J. H. Ayers, H. Barjat, S. Devereau, A. Diongue, R. Dumelow, D. R. Kindred, N. M. Price, M. Saloum, C. M. Tayor, and A. M. Tompkins

Scientific background and motivation for the JET2000 aircraft observing campaign that took place in West Africa during the last week of August 2000 are presented. The Met Research Flight CI30 aircraft made two flights along the African easterly jet (AEJ) between Sal, Cape Verde, and Niamey, Niger, and two “box” flights that twice crossed the AEJ at longitudes near Niamey. Dropsondes were released at approximately 0.5°–10° intervals. The two box flights also included low-level flights that sampled north–south variations in boundary layer properties in the baroclinic zone beneath the AEJ.

Preliminary results and analysis of the JET2000 period including some of the aircraft data are presented. The JET2000 campaign occurred during a relatively dry period in the Niamey region and, perhaps consistent with this, was also associated with less coherent easterly wave activity compared to other periods in the season. Meridional cross sections of the AEJ on 28 and 29 August (after the passage of a mesoscale system) are presented and discussed. Analysis of dropsonde data on 28 August indicates contrasting convective characteristics north and south of the AEJ with dry convection more dominant to the north and moist convection more dominant to the south. The consequences of this for the AEJ and the relationship with the boundary layer observations are briefly discussed.

Preliminary NWP results indicate little sensitivity to the inclusion of the dropsonde data on the AEJ winds in European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) and Met Office analyses. It is proposed that this may be due to a good surface analysis and a realistic model response to this. Both models poorly predict the AEJ in the 5-day forecast indicating the need for more process studies in the region.

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G.-K. Plattner, R. Knutti, F. Joos, T. F. Stocker, W. von Bloh, V. Brovkin, D. Cameron, E. Driesschaert, S. Dutkiewicz, M. Eby, N. R. Edwards, T. Fichefet, J. C. Hargreaves, C. D. Jones, M. F. Loutre, H. D. Matthews, A. Mouchet, S. A. Müller, S. Nawrath, A. Price, A. Sokolov, K. M. Strassmann, and A. J. Weaver


Eight earth system models of intermediate complexity (EMICs) are used to project climate change commitments for the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC’s) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4). Simulations are run until the year 3000 a.d. and extend substantially farther into the future than conceptually similar simulations with atmosphere–ocean general circulation models (AOGCMs) coupled to carbon cycle models. In this paper the following are investigated: 1) the climate change commitment in response to stabilized greenhouse gases and stabilized total radiative forcing, 2) the climate change commitment in response to earlier CO2 emissions, and 3) emission trajectories for profiles leading to the stabilization of atmospheric CO2 and their uncertainties due to carbon cycle processes. Results over the twenty-first century compare reasonably well with results from AOGCMs, and the suite of EMICs proves well suited to complement more complex models. Substantial climate change commitments for sea level rise and global mean surface temperature increase after a stabilization of atmospheric greenhouse gases and radiative forcing in the year 2100 are identified. The additional warming by the year 3000 is 0.6–1.6 K for the low-CO2 IPCC Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES) B1 scenario and 1.3–2.2 K for the high-CO2 SRES A2 scenario. Correspondingly, the post-2100 thermal expansion commitment is 0.3–1.1 m for SRES B1 and 0.5–2.2 m for SRES A2. Sea level continues to rise due to thermal expansion for several centuries after CO2 stabilization. In contrast, surface temperature changes slow down after a century. The meridional overturning circulation is weakened in all EMICs, but recovers to nearly initial values in all but one of the models after centuries for the scenarios considered. Emissions during the twenty-first century continue to impact atmospheric CO2 and climate even at year 3000. All models find that most of the anthropogenic carbon emissions are eventually taken up by the ocean (49%–62%) in year 3000, and that a substantial fraction (15%–28%) is still airborne even 900 yr after carbon emissions have ceased. Future stabilization of atmospheric CO2 and climate change requires a substantial reduction of CO2 emissions below present levels in all EMICs. This reduction needs to be substantially larger if carbon cycle–climate feedbacks are accounted for or if terrestrial CO2 fertilization is not operating. Large differences among EMICs are identified in both the response to increasing atmospheric CO2 and the response to climate change. This highlights the need for improved representations of carbon cycle processes in these models apart from the sensitivity to climate change. Sensitivity simulations with one single EMIC indicate that both carbon cycle and climate sensitivity related uncertainties on projected allowable emissions are substantial.

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H. J. S. Fernando, E. R. Pardyjak, S. Di Sabatino, F. K. Chow, S. F. J. De Wekker, S. W. Hoch, J. Hacker, J. C. Pace, T. Pratt, Z. Pu, W. J. Steenburgh, C. D. Whiteman, Y. Wang, D. Zajic, B. Balsley, R. Dimitrova, G. D. Emmitt, C. W. Higgins, J. C. R. Hunt, J. C. Knievel, D. Lawrence, Y. Liu, D. F. Nadeau, E. Kit, B. W. Blomquist, P. Conry, R. S. Coppersmith, E. Creegan, M. Felton, A. Grachev, N. Gunawardena, C. Hang, C. M. Hocut, G. Huynh, M. E. Jeglum, D. Jensen, V. Kulandaivelu, M. Lehner, L. S. Leo, D. Liberzon, J. D. Massey, K. McEnerney, S. Pal, T. Price, M. Sghiatti, Z. Silver, M. Thompson, H. Zhang, and T. Zsedrovits


Emerging application areas such as air pollution in megacities, wind energy, urban security, and operation of unmanned aerial vehicles have intensified scientific and societal interest in mountain meteorology. To address scientific needs and help improve the prediction of mountain weather, the U.S. Department of Defense has funded a research effort—the Mountain Terrain Atmospheric Modeling and Observations (MATERHORN) Program—that draws the expertise of a multidisciplinary, multi-institutional, and multinational group of researchers. The program has four principal thrusts, encompassing modeling, experimental, technology, and parameterization components, directed at diagnosing model deficiencies and critical knowledge gaps, conducting experimental studies, and developing tools for model improvements. The access to the Granite Mountain Atmospheric Sciences Testbed of the U.S. Army Dugway Proving Ground, as well as to a suite of conventional and novel high-end airborne and surface measurement platforms, has provided an unprecedented opportunity to investigate phenomena of time scales from a few seconds to a few days, covering spatial extents of tens of kilometers down to millimeters. This article provides an overview of the MATERHORN and a glimpse at its initial findings. Orographic forcing creates a multitude of time-dependent submesoscale phenomena that contribute to the variability of mountain weather at mesoscale. The nexus of predictions by mesoscale model ensembles and observations are described, identifying opportunities for further improvements in mountain weather forecasting.

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