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W. R. Young, P. B. Rhines, and C. J. R. Garrett

Abstract

Two models of advection-diffusion in the oscillatory, sheared-velocity field of an internal wave are discussed. Our goal is to develop intuition about the role of such currents in horizontal ocean mixing through the mechanism of shear dispersion. The analysis suggests simple parameterizations of this process, i.e., those in Eqs. (7), (36) and (42). The enhanced horizontal diffusion due to the interaction of the vertical diffusion and vertical shear of the wave field can be described by an “effective horizontal diffusivity” which is equal to the actual horizontal diffusivity plus a term equal to the mean-square vertical shear of horizontal displacement times the vertical diffusivity, provided the vertical length scale of the horizontal velocity field is not too small. In the limit of small vertical length scale the expression reduces to Taylor's (1953) result in which the effective horizontal diffusivity is inversely proportional to the actual vertical diffusivity.

The solutions also incidentally illuminate a variety of other advection-diffusion problems, such as unsteady shear dispersion in a pipe and enhanced diffusion through wavenumber cascade induced by steady shearing and straining velocity fields.

These solutions also serve as models of horizontal stirring by mesoscale eddies. Simple estimates of mesoscale shears and strains, together with estimates of the horizontal diffusivity due to shear dispersion by the internal wave field, suggest that horizontal mesoscale stirring begins to dominate internal-wave-shear dispersion at horizontal scales larger than 100 m.

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Matthew P. Young, Charles J. R. Williams, J. Christine Chiu, Ross I. Maidment, and Shu-Hua Chen

Abstract

Tropical Applications of Meteorology Using Satellite and Ground-Based Observations (TAMSAT) rainfall estimates are used extensively across Africa for operational rainfall monitoring and food security applications; thus, regional evaluations of TAMSAT are essential to ensure its reliability. This study assesses the performance of TAMSAT rainfall estimates, along with the African Rainfall Climatology (ARC), version 2; the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) 3B42 product; and the Climate Prediction Center morphing technique (CMORPH), against a dense rain gauge network over a mountainous region of Ethiopia. Overall, TAMSAT exhibits good skill in detecting rainy events but underestimates rainfall amount, while ARC underestimates both rainfall amount and rainy event frequency. Meanwhile, TRMM consistently performs best in detecting rainy events and capturing the mean rainfall and seasonal variability, while CMORPH tends to overdetect rainy events. Moreover, the mean difference in daily rainfall between the products and rain gauges shows increasing underestimation with increasing elevation. However, the distribution in satellite–gauge differences demonstrates that although 75% of retrievals underestimate rainfall, up to 25% overestimate rainfall over all elevations. Case studies using high-resolution simulations suggest underestimation in the satellite algorithms is likely due to shallow convection with warm cloud-top temperatures in addition to beam-filling effects in microwave-based retrievals from localized convective cells. The overestimation by IR-based algorithms is attributed to nonraining cirrus with cold cloud-top temperatures. These results stress the importance of understanding regional precipitation systems causing uncertainties in satellite rainfall estimates with a view toward using this knowledge to improve rainfall algorithms.

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R. Bassett, P. J. Young, G. S. Blair, F. Samreen, and W. Simm

Abstract

Lagos, Nigeria, is rapidly urbanizing and is one of the fastest-growing cities in the world, with a population that is increasing at almost 500 000 people per year. Yet the impacts on Lagos’s local climate via its urban heat island (UHI) have not been well explored. Considering that the tropics already have year-round high temperatures and humidity, small changes are very likely to tip these regions over heat-health thresholds. Using a well-established model, but with an extended investigation of uncertainty, we explore the impact of Lagos’s recent urbanization on its UHI. Following a multiphysics evaluation, our simulations, against the background of an unusually warm period in February 2016 (during which temperatures regularly exceeded 36°C), show a 0.44°C ensemble-time-mean increase in nighttime UHI intensity between 1984 and 2016. The true scale of the impact is seen spatially as the area over which ensemble-time-mean UHIs exceed 1°C was found to increase steeply from 254 km2 in 1984 to 1572 km2 in 2016. The rate of warming within Lagos will undoubtedly have a high impact because of the size of the population (12+ million) already at risk from excess heat. Significant warming and modifications to atmospheric boundary layer heights are also found in rural areas downwind, directly caused by the city. However, there is limited long-term climate monitoring in Lagos or many similarly expanding cities, particularly in the tropics. As such, our modeling can only be an indication of this impact of urbanization, and we highlight the urgent need to deploy instrumentation.

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Brian P. Reen, Kerrie J. Schmehl, George S. Young, Jared A. Lee, Sue Ellen Haupt, and David R. Stauffer

Abstract

The relationship between atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) depth uncertainty and uncertainty in atmospheric transport and dispersion (ATD) simulations is investigated by examining profiles of predicted concentrations of a contaminant. Because ensembles are an important method for quantifying uncertainty in ATD simulations, this work focuses on the utilization and analysis of ensemble members’ ABL structures for ATD simulations. A 12-member physics ensemble of meteorological model simulations drives a 12-member explicit ensemble of ATD simulations. The relationship between ABL depth and plume depth is investigated using ensemble members, which vary both the relevant model physics and the numerical methods used to diagnose ABL depth. New analysis methods are used to analyze ensemble output within an ABL-depth relative framework. Uncertainty due to ABL depth calculation methodology is investigated via a four-member mini-ensemble. When subjected to a continuous tracer release, concentration variability among the ensemble members is largest near the ABL top during the daytime, apparently because of uncertainty in ABL depth. This persists to the second day of the simulation for the 4-member diagnosis mini-ensemble, which varies only the ABL depth, but for the 12-member physics ensemble the concentration variability is large throughout the daytime ABL. This suggests that the increased within-ABL concentration variability on the second day is due to larger differences among the ensemble members’ predicted meteorological conditions rather than being solely due to differences in the ABL depth diagnosis methods. This work demonstrates new analysis methods for the relationship between ABL depth and plume depth within an ensemble framework and provides motivation for directly including ABL depth uncertainty from a meteorological model into an ATD model.

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Felipe M. de Andrade, Matthew P. Young, David MacLeod, Linda C. Hirons, Steven J. Woolnough, and Emily Black

Abstract

This paper evaluates subseasonal precipitation forecasts for Africa using hindcasts from three models (ECMWF, UKMO, and NCEP) participating in the Subseasonal to Seasonal (S2S) prediction project. A variety of verification metrics are employed to assess weekly precipitation forecast quality at lead times of one to four weeks ahead (weeks 1–4) during different seasons. Overall, forecast evaluation indicates more skillful predictions for ECMWF over other models and for East Africa over other regions. Deterministic forecasts show substantial skill reduction in weeks 3–4 linked to lower association and larger underestimation of predicted variance compared to weeks 1–2. Tercile-based probabilistic forecasts reveal similar characteristics for extreme categories and low quality in the near-normal category. Although discrimination is low in weeks 3–4, probabilistic forecasts still have reasonable skill, especially in wet regions during particular rainy seasons. Forecasts are found to be overconfident for all weeks, indicating the need to apply calibration for more reliable predictions. Forecast quality within the ECMWF model is also linked to the strength of climate drivers’ teleconnections, namely, El Niño–Southern Oscillation, Indian Ocean dipole, and the Madden–Julian oscillation. The impact of removing all driver-related precipitation regression patterns from observations and hindcasts shows reduction of forecast quality compared to including all drivers’ signals, with more robust effects in regions where the driver strongly relates to precipitation variability. Calibrating forecasts by adding observed regression patterns to hindcasts provides improved forecast associations particularly linked to the Madden–Julian oscillation. Results from this study can be used to guide decision-makers and forecasters in disseminating valuable forecasting information for different societal activities in Africa.

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Jeremy P. Grist, Simon A. Josey, Robert Marsh, Young-Oh Kwon, Rory J. Bingham, and Adam T. Blaker

Abstract

Estimates of the recent mean and time varying water mass transformation rates associated with North Atlantic surface-forced overturning are presented. The estimates are derived from heat and freshwater surface fluxes and sea surface temperature fields from six atmospheric reanalyses—the Japanese 25-yr Reanalysis (JRA), the NCEP–NCAR reanalysis (NCEP1), the NCEP–U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) reanalysis (NCEP2), the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) Interim Re-Analysis (ERA-I), the Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR), and the Modern-Era Reanalysis for Research and Applications (MERRA)—together with sea surface salinity fields from two globally gridded datasets (World Ocean Atlas and Met Office EN3 datasets). The resulting 12 estimates of the 1979–2007 mean surface-forced streamfunction all depict a subpolar cell, with maxima north of 45°N, near σ = 27.5 kg m−3, and a subtropical cell between 20° and 40°N, near σ = 26.1 kg m−3. The mean magnitude of the subpolar cell varies between 12 and 18 Sv (1 Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1), consistent with estimates of the overturning circulation from subsurface observations. Analysis of the thermal and haline components of the surface density fluxes indicates that large differences in the inferred low-latitude circulation are largely a result of the biases in reanalysis net heat flux fields, which range in the global mean from −13 to 19 W m−2. The different estimates of temporal variability in the subpolar cell are well correlated with each other. This suggests that the uncertainty associated with the choice of reanalysis product does not critically limit the ability of the method to infer the variability in the subpolar overturning. In contrast, the different estimates of subtropical variability are poorly correlated with each other, and only a subset of them captures a significant fraction of the variability in independently estimated North Atlantic Subtropical Mode Water volume.

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C. M. Roithmayr, C. Lukashin, P. W. Speth, D. F. Young, B. A. Wielicki, K. J. Thome, and G. Kopp

Abstract

Highly accurate measurements of Earth’s thermal infrared and reflected solar radiation are required for detecting and predicting long-term climate change. Consideration is given to the concept of using the International Space Station to test instruments and techniques that would eventually be used on a dedicated mission, such as the Climate Absolute Radiance and Refractivity Observatory (CLARREO). In particular, a quantitative investigation is performed to determine whether it is possible to use measurements obtained with a highly accurate (0.3%, with 95% confidence) reflected solar radiation spectrometer to calibrate similar, less accurate instruments in other low Earth orbits. Estimates of numbers of samples useful for intercalibration are made with the aid of yearlong simulations of orbital motion. Results of this study support the conclusion that the International Space Station orbit is ideally suited for the purpose of intercalibration between spaceborne sensors.

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G. D. Hess, K. J. Tory, M. E. Cope, S. Lee, K. Puri, P. C. Manins, and M. Young

Abstract

The performance of the Australian Air Quality Forecasting System (AAQFS) is examined by means of a case study of a 7-day photochemical smog event in the Sydney region. This was the worst smog event for the 2000/ 01 oxidant season, and, because of its prolonged nature, it provided the opportunity to demonstrate the ability of AAQFS to forecast situations involving recirculation of precursors and remnant ozone, fumigation, and complex meteorological dynamics. The forecasting system was able to successfully predict high values of ozone, although at times the peak concentrations for the inland stations were underestimated. The dynamics for the Sydney region require a sensitive balance between the synoptic and mesoscale flows. Often high concentrations of ozone were advected inland by the sea breeze. On two occasions the system forecast a synoptic flow that was too strong, which blocked the inland advancement of the sea breeze. The peak ozone forecasts were underpredicted at the inland stations on those occasions. An examination of possible factors causing forecast errors has indicated that the AAQFS is more sensitive to errors in the meteorological conditions, rather than in the emissions or chemical mechanism in the Sydney region.

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Matthew A. Lazzara, John M. Benson, Robert J. Fox, Denise J. Laitsch, Joseph P. Rueden, David A. Santek, Delores M. Wade, Thomas M. Whittaker, and J. T. Young

On 12 October 1998, it was the 25th anniversary of the Man computer Interactive Data Access System (McIDAS). On that date in 1973, McIDAS was first used operationally by scientists as a tool for data analysis. Over the last 25 years, McIDAS has undergone numerous architectural changes in an effort to keep pace with changing technology. In its early years, significant technological breakthroughs were required to achieve the functionality needed by atmospheric scientists. Today McIDAS is challenged by new Internet-based approaches to data access and data display. The history and impact of McIDAS, along with some of the lessons learned, are presented here.

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C. M. R. Platt, S. A. Young, P. J. Manson, G. R. Patterson, S. C. Marsden, R. T. Austin, and J. H. Churnside

Abstract

The optical properties of equatorial cirrus were studied during a three-week period of the ARM Pilot Radiation and Observation Experiment at Kavieng, Papua New Guinea, in January and February 1993. The experiment consisted of vertical lidar (532 nm) and passive infrared filter radiometer (10.84 μm) observations of cirrus clouds. The observations gave values of cloud height, depth, structure, infrared emittance, infrared absorption, and visible optical depth and linear depolarization ratio. A standard lidar–radiometer analysis, with some improvements, was used to calculate these quantities. The cirrus was found to vary in altitude from a maximum cloud top of 17.6 km to a minimum cloud base of 6 km with equivalent temperatures of −82°C to −7°C respectively. The cirrus also varied widely in depth (0.7 to 7.5 km). The mean emittance (for each temperature interval) of the cooler clouds was found to be higher than that observed previously at tropical and midlatitude sites and at equivalent temperatures. The mean infrared absorption coefficients were similar to those of midlatitude clouds, except at the extreme temperature ranges, but were higher than those observed in tropical synoptic clouds over Darwin. Infrared optical depths varied from 0.01 to 2.4 and visible optical depths from 0.01 to 8.6.

Plots of integrated attenuated backscatter versus infrared emittance, for various ranges of cloud temperature, showed characteristic behavior. Values of the measured quantity k/2η, where k is the visible backscatter to extinction ratio and η a multiple scattering factor, were found to increase with temperature from 0.14 at −70°C to 0.30 at −20°C.

Values of the quantity 2αη, where α is the ratio of visible extinction to infrared absorption coefficient, varied from about 1.7 to 3.8, depending somewhat on the cloud temperature. Deduced values of α were as high as 5.3 at the lower temperature ranges, indicating smaller particles.

The lidar integrated attenuated depolarization ratio Δ decreased with temperature, as found previously in midlatitude cirrus. Values of Δ varied from 0.42 at −70°C to 0.18 at −10°C. Data obtained from the NOAA/ETL microwave radiometer gave values of water path, varying from 4 to 6 cm precipitable water. A value of the water vapor continuum absorption coefficient at 10.84 μm equal to 9.0 ± 0.5 g−1 cm2 atm−1 was obtained in agreement with previous observations.

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