Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 28 items for

  • Author or Editor: P. Minnis x
  • All content x
Clear All Modify Search
David P. Duda and Patrick Minnis

Abstract

A probabilistic forecast to accurately predict contrail formation over the conterminous United States (CONUS) is created by using meteorological data based on hourly meteorological analyses from the Advanced Regional Prediction System (ARPS) and the Rapid Update Cycle (RUC) combined with surface and satellite observations of contrails. Two groups of logistic models were created. The first group of models (SURFACE models) is based on surface-based contrail observations supplemented with satellite observations of contrail occurrence. The most common predictors selected for the SURFACE models tend to be related to temperature, relative humidity, and wind direction when the models are generated using RUC or ARPS analyses. The second group of models (OUTBREAK models) is derived from a selected subgroup of satellite-based observations of widespread persistent contrails. The most common predictors for the OUTBREAK models tend to be wind direction, atmospheric lapse rate, temperature, relative humidity, and the product of temperature and humidity.

Full access
David P. Duda and Patrick Minnis

Abstract

Straightforward application of the Schmidt–Appleman contrail formation criteria to diagnose persistent contrail occurrence from numerical weather prediction data is hindered by significant bias errors in the upper-tropospheric humidity. Logistic models of contrail occurrence have been proposed to overcome this problem, but basic questions remain about how random measurement error may affect their accuracy. A set of 5000 synthetic contrail observations is created to study the effects of random error in these probabilistic models. The simulated observations are based on distributions of temperature, humidity, and vertical velocity derived from Advanced Regional Prediction System (ARPS) weather analyses. The logistic models created from the simulated observations were evaluated using two common statistical measures of model accuracy: the percent correct (PC) and the Hanssen–Kuipers discriminant (HKD). To convert the probabilistic results of the logistic models into a dichotomous yes/no choice suitable for the statistical measures, two critical probability thresholds are considered. The HKD scores are higher (i.e., the forecasts are more skillful) when the climatological frequency of contrail occurrence is used as the critical threshold, whereas the PC scores are higher (i.e., the forecasts are more accurate) when the critical probability threshold is 0.5. For both thresholds, typical random errors in temperature, relative humidity, and vertical velocity are found to be small enough to allow for accurate logistic models of contrail occurrence. The accuracy of the models developed from synthetic data is over 85% for the prediction of both contrail occurrence and nonoccurrence, although, in practice, larger errors would be anticipated.

Full access
David P. Duda and Patrick Minnis

Abstract

Two cases of aircraft dissipation trails (distrails) with associated fall streak clouds were analyzed with multispectral geostationary satellite data. One dissipation trail was observed in a single cloud layer on 23 July 2000 over southeastern Virginia and the Chesapeake Bay. Another set of trails developed at the top of multilayer cloudiness off the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina on 6 January 2000. The distrails on both days formed in optically thin, midlevel stratified clouds with cloud-top heights between 7.6 and 9.1 km. The distrail features remained intact and easily visible from satellite images over a period of 1–2 h despite winds near 50 kt at cloud level. The width of the distrails became as large as 20 km within a period of 90 min or less. Differences between the optical properties of the fall streak particles inside the distrails and those of the clouds surrounding the trails allowed for the easy identification of the fall streak clouds in either the 3.9-μm brightness temperature imagery, or the 10.7-μm minus 12.0-μm brightness temperature difference imagery. Two independent remote sensing retrievals of both distrail cases showed that the fall streaks had larger particle sizes than the clouds outside of the trails, although the three-channel infrared retrieval was better at retrieving cloud properties in the multilayer cloud case.

Full access
Y. Takano, K. N. Liou, and P. Minnis

Abstract

Using a model that combines single-scattering properties for spheroidal and hexagonal ice crystals, the thermal infrared radiative properties of cirrus clouds have been investigated. Infrared scattering and absorption properties for randomly oriented spheroids and hexagons are parameterized based on the anomalous diffraction theory and a geometric ray-tracing method, respectively. Using observed ice crystal size distributions, upwelling radiances at the top of cirrus cloudy atmospheres have been computed. Results show that the presence of small ice crystals can produce significant brightness temperature differences between two infrared wavelengths in the 10-μm window. Theoretical results have been compared with observed brightness temperature differences between 8.35 and 11.16 μm and between 11.16 and 12 μm. The observed values were obtained from the High-Spectral Resolution Interferometer Sounder. It is shown that the use of the present nonspherical model for ice crystals in radiative transfer calculations leads to a significantly better interpretation of the observed data than does the use of the spherical model.

Full access
B. P. Briegleb, P. Minnis, V. Ramanathan, and E. Harrison

Abstract

We have taken an important first step in validating climate models by comparing model and satellite inferred clear sky TOA (top-of-atmosphere) albedos. Model albodos were computed on a 1° × 1° latitude-longitude grid, allowing for variations in surface vegetation type, solar zenith angle, orography, spectral absorption/scattering at surface and within the atmosphere. Observed albedos were inferred from GOES-2 minimum narrowband (0.55–0.75 μm) brightness for November 1978 over South America and most of North America and adjacent ocean regions. Comparisons of TOA albedos over ocean agree within ±1% (the unit for albedo is in percent and the differences in percent denote absolute differences), and thus lie within both theoretical uncertainties (due to water vapor and aerosol concentrations, and ocean surface spectral reflectivity), as well as observational uncertainties. The ocean comparisons also show significant latitudinal variations in both model and observations. Albedos over land mostly agree within ±2% for the entire range of significant geographical variation of albedo from 13% over the Amazon Basin to 24% over mountains of western North America. These agreements lie within both theoretical uncertainties (due to surface type and spectral/zenith angle dependencies), as well as observational uncertainties (due to spectral and angular conversions of observed brightness to broadband albedos).

Full access
David P. Duda, Patrick Minnis, Louis Nguyen, and Rabindra Palikonda

Abstract

Widespread persistent contrails over the western Great Lakes during 9 October 2000 were examined using commercial flight data, coincident meteorological data, and satellite remote sensing data from several platforms. The data were analyzed to determine the atmospheric conditions under which the contrails formed and to measure several physical properties of the contrails, including areal coverage, spreading rates, fall speeds, and optical properties. Most of the contrails were located between 10.6 and 11.8 km in atmospheric conditions consistent with a modified form of the Appleman contrail formation theory. However, the Rapid Update Cycle-2 analyses have a dry bias in the upper-tropospheric relative humidity with respect to ice (RHI), as indicated by persistent contrail generation during the outbreak where RHI ≥ 85%. The model analyses show that synoptic-scale vertical velocities affect the formation of persistent contrails. Areal coverage by linear contrails peaked at 30 000 km2, but the maximum contrail-generated cirrus coverage was over twice as large. Contrail spreading rates averaged around 2.7 km h−1, and the contrails were visible in the 4-km Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) imagery approximately 1 h after formation. Contrail fall speed estimates were between 0.00 and 0.045 m s−1 based on observed contrail advection rates. Optical depth measurements ranged from 0.1 to 0.6, with consistent differences between remote sensing methods. Contrail formation density was roughly correlated with air traffic density after the effects of competing cloud coverage, humidity, and vertical velocity were considered. Improved tropospheric humidity measurements are needed for realistic simulations of contrail and cirrus development.

Full access
H. Wang, R. T. Pinker, P. Minnis, and M. M. Khaiyer

Abstract

Solar radiation reaching the earth’s surface provides the primary forcing of the climate system, and thus, information on this parameter is needed at a global scale. Several satellite-based estimates of surface radiative fluxes are available, but they differ from each other in many aspects. The focus of this study is to highlight one aspect of such differences, namely, the way satellite-observed radiances are used to derive information on cloud optical properties and the impact this has on derived parameters such as surface radiative fluxes. Frequently, satellite visible radiance in a single channel is used to infer cloud transmission; at times, several spectral channels are utilized to derive cloud optical properties and use these to infer cloud transmission. In this study, an evaluation of these two approaches will be performed in terms of impact on the accuracy in surface radiative fluxes. The University of Maryland Satellite Radiation Budget (UMD/SRB) model is used as a tool to perform such an evaluation over the central United States. The estimated shortwave fluxes are evaluated against ground observations at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program (ARM) Central Facility and at four ARM extended sites. It is shown that the largest differences between these two approaches occur during the winter season when snow is on the ground.

Full access
G. M. Martin, D. W. Johnson, D. P. Rogers, P. R. Jonas, P. Minnis, and D. A. Hegg

Abstract

Decoupling of the marine boundary layer beneath stratocumulus clouds and the formation of cumulus clouds at the top of a surface-based mixed layer (SML) have frequently been observed and modeled. When such cumulus clouds penetrate the overlying stratocumulus layer, the cloud microphysics and hence the radiative properties of the cloud are altered locally. Observations made during a series of Lagrangian experiments in the Azores as part of the Atlantic Stratocumulus Transition Experiment (ASTEX, June 1992) have been analyzed to ascertain how the properties of a stratocumulus layer with which cumulus clouds are interacting differ from those of an unaffected cloud layer. The results suggest that in regions where cumulus clouds penetrate the cloud layer, the stratocumulus is thickened as the cumuli spread out into its base. Transport of air from the SML into the cloud by convective updrafts is observed, and the increase in available moisture within the penetrating cumulus clouds results in increased liquid water content and hence changes in the droplet size spectra. The greater liquid water path results in a larger cloud optical depth, so that regions where cumulus are interesting with the stratocumulus layer can be observed in satellite measurements. Therefore, it is likely that the surface energy budget may be significantly altered by this process, and it may be necessary to parameterize these effects in large-scale numerical models.

Full access
G. L. Potter, R. D. Cess, P. Minnis, E. F. Harrison, and V. Ramanathan

Abstract

This study addresses two aspects of the planetary albedo's diurnal cycle, the first of which refers to directional models of the planetary albodo. It is found that even for clear regions there appear to be deficiencies in our knowledge of how to model this quantity. Over land surfaces, for example, Nimbus-7 data for the directional planetary albedo compare best with model calculations for which a Lambertian surface is assumed, despite ample evidence that the albedo of land surfaces is dependent upon solar zenith angle. Similarly, over ocean surfaces both GOES and Nimbus-7 data produce a weaker dependence of the planetary albedo upon solar zenith angle than would be suggested by model calculations.

The second aspect of the study concerns a comparison of the diurnal amplitude factor, defined as the ratio of the diurnally averaged planetary albedo to that at noon, between two general circulation models (GCMs) and measurements made from a geostationary satellite (GOES). While these comparisons indicate reasonable consistency between the GCMs and the satellite measurements, this is due in part to compensating differences, such as an underestimate in cloud amount by a GCM being compensated for by a corresponding underestimate of the diurnal amplitude factor for overcast regions. The comparisons further underscore difficulties associated with converting local-time albedo measurements, as made from sun-synchronous satellites, to diurnally averaged albedos.

Full access
Patrick Minnis, Louis Nguyen, David R. Doelling, David F. Young, Walter F. Miller, and David P. Kratz

Abstract

Operational meteorological satellites generally lack reliable onboard calibration systems for solar-imaging channels. Current methods for calibrating these channels and for normalizing similar channels on contemporaneous satellite imagers typically rely on a poorly calibrated reference source. To establish a more reliable reference instrument for calibration normalization, this paper examines the use of research satellite imagers that maintain their solar-channel calibrations by using onboard diffuser systems that rely on the sun as an absolute reference. The Visible Infrared Scanner (VIRS) on the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite and the second Along-Track Scanning Radiometer (ATSR-2) on the second European Remote Sensing Satellite (ERS-2) are correlated with matched data from the eighth Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES-8), the fifth Geostationary Meteorological satellite (GMS-5), and with each other to examine trends in the solar channels. VIRS data are also correlated with the Terra satellite's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) provisional data as a preliminary assessment of their relative calibrations. As an additional check on their long-term stability, the VIRS data are compared to the relevant corresponding broadband shortwave radiances of the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) scanners on TRMM. No statistically significant trend in the calibration of the VIRS 0.65- and 1.64-μm channels could be detected from the comparisons with CERES data taken during 1998 and 2000. The VIRS-to-GOES-8 correlations revealed an annual degradation rate for the GOES-8 visible (0.67 μm) channel of ∼7.5% and an initial drop of 16% in the gain from the prelaunch value. The slopes in the GOES-8 visible-channel gain trend lines derived from VIRS data taken after January 1998 and ATSR-2 data taken between October 1995 and December 1999 differed by only 1%–2% indicating that both reference instruments are highly stable. The mean difference of 3%–4.8% between the VIRS–GOES-8 and ATSR-2–GOES-8 gains is attributed to spectral differences between ATSR-2 and VIRS and to possible biases in the ATSR-2 channel-2 calibration. A degradation rate of 1.3% per year found for the GMS-5 visible channel was confirmed by comparisons with earlier calibrations. The MODIS and VIRS calibrations agreed to within −1% to 3%. Some of the differences between VIRS and the provisional MODIS radiances can be explained by spectral differences between the two instruments. The MODIS measures greater reflectance than VIRS for bright scenes. Although both VIRS and ATSR-2 provide temporally stable calibrations, it is recommended that, at least until MODIS calibrations are finalized, VIRS should be used as a reference source for normalizing operational meteorological satellite imagers because of its broader visible filter.

Full access