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Gary D. Atkinson and Charles R. Holliday

Abstract

Determining the proper relationship between the minimum sea level pressures and maximum sustained winds in tropical cyclones has been a long-standing problem. The major obstacle has been the lack of sufficient ground truth, i.e., actual measurements of maximum wind speeds in tropical cyclones with a wide range of central pressures. In this study 28 years of maximum wind measurements made at coastal and island stations in the western North Pacific were collected and analyzed. Because of problems in measuring and interpreting sustained surface wind speeds, only recorded peak gust values were used. These peak gust values were reduced to a standard anemometer level of 10 m using a power law relationship and then converted to 1 min sustained wind speeds using gust factors representative of an overwater environment. The sample was restricted to cases where it was reasonably certain that the station experienced the cyclone's winds during its passage. The resulting equation,where p c is the minimum sea level pressure (mb) and V m the maximum sustained (1 min) wind speed (kt), indicates maximum wind speeds that are significantly lower than many previous studies.

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B. W. Atkinson, J-G. Li, and R. S. Plant

Abstract

Strong vertical gradients at the top of the atmospheric boundary layer affect the propagation of electromagnetic waves and can produce radar ducts. A three-dimensional, time-dependent, nonhydrostatic numerical model was used to simulate the propagation environment in the atmosphere over the Persian Gulf when aircraft observations of ducting had been made. A division of the observations into high- and low-wind cases was used as a framework for the simulations. Three sets of simulations were conducted with initial conditions of varying degrees of idealization and were compared with the observations taken in the Ship Antisubmarine Warfare Readiness/Effectiveness Measuring (SHAREM-115) program. The best results occurred with the initialization based on a sounding taken over the coast modified by the inclusion of data on low-level atmospheric conditions over the Gulf waters. The development of moist, cool, stable marine internal boundary layers (MIBL) in air flowing from land over the waters of the Gulf was simulated. The MIBLs were capped by temperature inversions and associated lapses of humidity and refractivity. The low-wind MIBL was shallower and the gradients at its top were sharper than in the high-wind case, in agreement with the observations. Because it is also forced by land–sea contrasts, a sea-breeze circulation frequently occurs in association with the MIBL. The size, location, and internal structure of the sea-breeze circulation were realistically simulated. The gradients of temperature and humidity that bound the MIBL cause perturbations in the refractivity distribution that, in turn, lead to trapping layers and ducts. The existence, location, and surface character of the ducts were well captured. Horizontal variations in duct characteristics due to the sea-breeze circulation were also evident. The simulations successfully distinguished between high- and low-wind occasions, a notable feature of the SHAREM-115 observations. The modeled magnitudes of duct depth and strength, although leaving scope for improvement, were most encouraging.

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Andrew R. Bock, Lauren E. Hay, Gregory J. McCabe, Steven L. Markstrom, and R. Dwight Atkinson

Abstract

The accuracy of statistically downscaled (SD) general circulation model (GCM) simulations of monthly surface climate for historical conditions (1950–2005) was assessed for the conterminous United States (CONUS). The SD monthly precipitation (PPT) and temperature (TAVE) from 95 GCMs from phases 3 and 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP3 and CMIP5) were used as inputs to a monthly water balance model (MWBM). Distributions of MWBM input (PPT and TAVE) and output [runoff (RUN)] variables derived from gridded station data (GSD) and historical SD climate were compared using the Kolmogorov–Smirnov (KS) test For all three variables considered, the KS test results showed that variables simulated using CMIP5 generally are more reliable than those derived from CMIP3, likely due to improvements in PPT simulations. At most locations across the CONUS, the largest differences between GSD and SD PPT and RUN occurred in the lowest part of the distributions (i.e., low-flow RUN and low-magnitude PPT). Results indicate that for the majority of the CONUS, there are downscaled GCMs that can reliably simulate historical climatic conditions. But, in some geographic locations, none of the SD GCMs replicated historical conditions for two of the three variables (PPT and RUN) based on the KS test, with a significance level of 0.05. In these locations, improved GCM simulations of PPT are needed to more reliably estimate components of the hydrologic cycle. Simple metrics and statistical tests, such as those described here, can provide an initial set of criteria to help simplify GCM selection.

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J. G. DeVore, A. T. Stair, A. LePage, D. Rall, J. Atkinson, D. Villanucci, S. A. Rappaport, P. C. Joss, and R. A. McClatchey

Abstract

This paper describes a newly designed Sun and Aureole Measurement (SAM) aureolegraph and the first results obtained with this instrument. SAM measurements of solar aureoles produced by cirrus and cumulus clouds were taken at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program (ARM) Central Facility in Oklahoma during field experiments conducted in June 2007 and compared with simultaneous measurements from a variety of other ground-based instruments. A theoretical relationship between the slope of the aureole profile and the size distribution of spherical cloud particles is based on approximating scattering as due solely to diffraction, which in turn is approximated using a rectangle function. When the particle size distribution is expressed as a power-law function of radius, the aureole radiance as a function of angle from the center of the solar disk also follows a power law, with the sum of the two powers being −5. This result also holds if diffraction is modeled with an Airy function. The diffraction approximation is applied to SAM measurements with optical depths ≲2 to derive the effective radii of cloud particles and particle size distributions between ∼2.5 and ∼25 μm. The SAM results yielded information on cloud properties complementary to that obtained with ARM Central Facility instrumentation. A network of automated SAM units [similar to the Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) system] would provide a practical means to gain fundamental new information on the global statistical properties of thin (optical depth ≲ 10) clouds, thereby providing unique information on the effects of such clouds upon the earth’s energy budget.

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P. W. Webley, D. Atkinson, R. L. Collins, K. Dean, J. Fochesatto, K. Sassen, C. F. Cahill, A. Prata, C. J. Flynn, and K. Mizutani
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J. D. Fuentes, M. Lerdau, R. Atkinson, D. Baldocchi, J. W. Bottenheim, P. Ciccioli, B. Lamb, C. Geron, L. Gu, A. Guenther, T. D. Sharkey, and W. Stockwell

Nonmethane hydrocarbons are ubiquitous trace atmospheric constituents yet they control the oxidation capacity of the atmosphere. Both anthropogenic and biogenic processes contribute to the release of hydrocarbons to the atmosphere. In this manuscript, the state of the science concerning biosynthesis, transport, and chemical transformation of hydrocarbons emitted by the terrestrial biosphere is reviewed. In particular, the focus is on isoprene, monoterpenes, and oxygenated hydrocarbons. The generated science during the last 10 years is reviewed to explain and quantify hydrocarbon emissions from vegetation and to discern impacts of biogenic hydrocarbons on local and regional atmospheric chemistry. Furthermore, the physiological and environmental processes controlling biosynthesis and production of hydrocarbon compounds are reported on. Many advances have been made on measurement and modeling approaches developed to quantify hydrocarbon emissions from leaves and forest ecosystems. A synthesis of the atmospheric chemistry of biogenic hydrocarbons and their role in the formation of oxidants and aerosols is presented. The integration of biogenic hydrocarbon kinetics and atmospheric physics into mathematical modeling systems is examined to assess the contribution of biogenic hydrocarbons to the formation of oxidants and aerosols, thereby allowing us to study their impacts on the earth's climate system and to develop strategies to reduce oxidant precursors in affected regions.

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S. Bunya, J. C. Dietrich, J. J. Westerink, B. A. Ebersole, J. M. Smith, J. H. Atkinson, R. Jensen, D. T. Resio, R. A. Luettich, C. Dawson, V. J. Cardone, A. T. Cox, M. D. Powell, H. J. Westerink, and H. J. Roberts

Abstract

A coupled system of wind, wind wave, and coastal circulation models has been implemented for southern Louisiana and Mississippi to simulate riverine flows, tides, wind waves, and hurricane storm surge in the region. The system combines the NOAA Hurricane Research Division Wind Analysis System (H*WIND) and the Interactive Objective Kinematic Analysis (IOKA) kinematic wind analyses, the Wave Model (WAM) offshore and Steady-State Irregular Wave (STWAVE) nearshore wind wave models, and the Advanced Circulation (ADCIRC) basin to channel-scale unstructured grid circulation model. The system emphasizes a high-resolution (down to 50 m) representation of the geometry, bathymetry, and topography; nonlinear coupling of all processes including wind wave radiation stress-induced set up; and objective specification of frictional parameters based on land-cover databases and commonly used parameters. Riverine flows and tides are validated for no storm conditions, while winds, wind waves, hydrographs, and high water marks are validated for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

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J. C. Dietrich, S. Bunya, J. J. Westerink, B. A. Ebersole, J. M. Smith, J. H. Atkinson, R. Jensen, D. T. Resio, R. A. Luettich, C. Dawson, V. J. Cardone, A. T. Cox, M. D. Powell, H. J. Westerink, and H. J. Roberts

Abstract

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita were powerful storms that impacted southern Louisiana and Mississippi during the 2005 hurricane season. In , the authors describe and validate a high-resolution coupled riverine flow, tide, wind, wave, and storm surge model for this region. Herein, the model is used to examine the evolution of these hurricanes in more detail. Synoptic histories show how storm tracks, winds, and waves interacted with the topography, the protruding Mississippi River delta, east–west shorelines, manmade structures, and low-lying marshes to develop and propagate storm surge. Perturbations of the model, in which the waves are not included, show the proportional importance of the wave radiation stress gradient induced setup.

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